Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze Body Lotion - review


One of the perils of being a blogger is that you sometimes move away from your favourite products so you can have something new to review. That's what happened with this: Priceline was having a sale and, rather than picking up my all-time favourite Garnier body tanner (reviewed here) - which was also on special - I decided to try something new, knowing that if it didn't work out, at least I hadn't paid full price for it.

Error! While Palmer's makes some of the best body creams I've used, this self-tanner just doesn't hit the mark for me - and now I'm stuck with this massive bottle to get through. Foo! It's not that it's a terrible product, it's just that I don't love it and it's not hydrating enough for my dry skin - surprising, because Palmer's products normally are. Sad face : (

Palmer's claims/product details:
  • A gradual tanning moisturiser infused with pure cocoa butter and vitamin e to be used every day for an overall glow
  • A gradual tanner is great for 'beginners' and an easy way to build up streak-free colour over a few days or top up when you need
  • This lotion will nourish dry skin as well as adding a natural-looking tan to your face and body
  • And the best part: the surprisingly pleasant cocoa butter scent
  • RRP $9.99 AUD for 250ml; also available in 400ml size


This is one of those products that seems to be quite polarising, if the online reviews are anything to go by: some people love the scent and others hate it; some find the product to be moisturising and others don't; and some think it gives a natural tan while others complain that it streaks and turns them orange.

It's hard to reconcile those things (leaving aside personal preference of course), but from what I can gather, it's the lasses with paler skin who find the tan this gives to be unnatural, so if that's you, I suggest either testing this first or steering clear of it altogether. And if you're sensitive to smells, it's also worth testing this first because you mightn't be able to handle the product's scent and the smell does linger so be aware of that.

It's a thin, lightweight lotion that applies and spreads well. It has that trademark Palmer's cocoa butter scent that many of us love, but it has a chemical kick to it so the scent obviously doesn't quite mask the tanner smell that lies beneath it. I personally can live with the smell because it's the cocoa butter that reaches my nose more than anything else, but do try this before purchasing if scented products aren't your thing.

As for its tanning prowess, it's definitely a gradual tanner and I wouldn't expect any huge immediate results - unless you're pale and tanning products show up more on you than they might for those of us with darker skin (my skin is medium). I do get a barely detectable tan from one application, but I need to use it for a few days in a row if I want to see definite results. That doesn't bother me because I prefer gradual tanners, but it's worth mentioning all the same.

I don't think the tan this product delivers lasts any better or worse than it does for similar products, but I would suggest applying this every few days to maintain your colour - particularly if you're like me and exfoliate a couple of times a week.

My biggest gripe with the product is that it's just not nourishing enough for my dry skin. Perhaps if the beautifully rich Garnier tanner wasn't the last similar product I'd used, I mightn't have noticed this as much - but I also think I was expecting something more hydrating from this brand, given my experience with Palmer's body creams in the past. So if like me you have dry skin and need something with more punch, I wouldn't choose this product.

The only other thing I'll say about this product is that I've somehow managed to wind up with orange patches in the webbing of my hands on more than one occasion. This baffles me a bit because I do wash my hands well after use and it's not an issue I've had with any other tanner, so I don't know why that's happening but it's rather annoying and I'd suggest giving your hands a seriously good wash each time to avoid the issue.

In sum, this product is ok but it's a let down for me and I wouldn't buy it again. I think you can do better, even at this price point.

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