All Customer Reviews for Build-a-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion

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36 Customer Reviews

by christina cyphers

Even after all these years this company has yet to perfect their sunless tanning lotion. The smell is typical sunless tanner and is obvious to anyone around you. It is extremely pungent. The "tan" takes weeks to become apparent and you so have to be very careful to keep it away from your knees and palms of your hands. Not worth the hassle!

Good Color, Bad Smell
by Melissa

I love that the color builds gradually, but the smell isn't very pleasant. If you do try this, make sure you're not leaving the house anytime soon, or everyone will know you're wearing instant tanner!

Works great!
by Kelly

I have tried several self tanning products over the years and most of them come out looking fake. I tried Neutrogena's Build a Tan last year and came out with a natural look! I will definitely use it again this spring to get ready for summer!

Natural and easy to use
by Mandy

I was previously disappointed with Neutrogena's sunless tanning lotions, but this one surprised me with its natural look. I used this lotion before prom so I wouldn't be so winter white and it worked wonders. Although it took a month for it to reach the level of tan I wanted, the tan was flawless and looked completely natural. Usually sunless tanners make my elbows and knees look odd, but I didn't have that problem with this lotion.

This is the best!
by Carol Covello

Several years ago I tried sunless tanning, and was disappointed with the streaky finish. Then I tried 'Build a Tan' last spring - in a desperate attempt to 'glow' my white winter legs for spring. I was skeptical that it would work - but was quite happy with the results!

I've used it for a year now. The first week I apply it every day before bed (it drys quickly). Once I get the color I want I use it every 3 days or so.

The only drawback is when I get a pedicure - the buffing does rub some off, so I put an extra coat on my ankle/calf area the night before, and touch up right after the pedicure so that area can 'catch-up' again.

Well worth it!

Natural looking tan!
by Sandy Carabio

This is a great product for a natural-looking tan, but you really have to rub it in completely or you will get streaks (learned that the hard way). Be careful to put a light amount on elbows, knees, and ankles or else they will look darker than the rest of your body. My brother, sister, and I each used this product with great, natural-looking results.

A Dry Cleaners Dream
by Susan A

I really was very optimistic about this product. If you exfoliate well you can get nice color. I used it for a while until I noticed that my suit’s neck line had self tanner on it. With clothes that can be washed it wasn’t so bad but I had to have items cleaned much earlier than normal with no guarantees that it would come out. I even tried tanning at night to allow a complete drying and possibly any excess to come of on the sheets which of course I could machine wash…unfortunately it still happened and I am not using it anymore

Orangey Orangey
by Gina

I followed the instructions precisely, all the way from ex foliating prior to application, applying the product evenly and letting the product dry on my skin for the appropriate amount of time. Within a matter of hours my skin was as orange as can be, and I did not have the "natural" tan look this product claims. Thank goodness it wore off in a few days. I never tried it again, and disposed of the bottle.

Not for me...
by Deborah

I tried this product because a woman I worked with used it and she always looked tan, healthy and natural. The first thing I didn't like about it was the fragrance - it was very off-putting and I could smell it all day! Also, it seemed to take a long time to dry on my skin, and I was afraid to get dressed because I didn't want to smear it. It worked OK on my arms, but my legs looked streaky and orange. I had thought that since it was supposed to work gradually, streaking would not be an issue, but it was. I would not buy this product again because there are many others available that both smell better and work more gradually, without looking uneven.

Too dark for this pale skinned gal
by JulieMac_29

I was excited to try this product with its promise to build a gradual and natural looking tan. I have extremely pale skin, so finding a sunless tanner can be very tricky for me. Upon first application, I was very pleased with the scent and consistancy. It is very easy to apply as well as easy to keep track of on the skin so you can try apply it evenly. After a few hours, a small trace of color began to develop. If it would have stopped there, I'd have been very pleased. But it continued to get darker throughout the day and ended as a color quite a few shades darker than I'd have chosen. Plus, there was an odd smell from it for the 24 hours or so following application.

It wasn't the product for me, but it did have enough good points that I'm sure it could work well for a darker complected user.

by Cecilia

I have tried many tanning lotions and creams and this one is another one of those that I like. With this product, you can slowly build up the tan until you get the color that you want to achieve. This formula gives you a streak-free, and natural looking tan. I usually use this for a few days, until I get the tan I want, then I stop using it for a week or two and the tan still lasts! I recommend this to anyone who wants glowing, natural, tan, skin.

Great & Unique Product!
by Lecrisha

If you're one of those people with a light complexion who is afraid to try sunless tanning because you think it might make you look funny, this is definitely the product for you. My mom uses this to build her tan so that it's not too dramatic and it doesn't look fake. She absolutely loves it!


I love this product. The fact that you can use it on a day to day basis and receive a great tan over weeks was so much better than the foam sunless tanning. This did not turn my hands orange at all, and it gave me a great golden tan. I would highly recommend this to anyone.

light skin tones
by AR

My mother can not be exposed to the sun for medical reasons forcing her to try a wide variety of sunless tanning lotions. So far, this has definitely been her favorite. It allows people with very fair skin to build a healthy and natural looking tan. Also, if you plan on using the product frequently you can find it at Sam's club at a discount price.

Worked, But Has Some Issues
by Joshua

I am really very pale and this did work for me; however, it did cause streaks on my legs and if you use it, you must be careful to get it applied evenly to your ankles and the tops of your feet. It worked out really well on my arms and stomach. I would use gloves and sponges to apply it, as it does stain in between fingers.

Build-a-Tan Tanning Lotion
by Emily K.

Really bad for legs, it streaked, and gave an orange tint around my knees and calves. It also turned my palms and nail bed orange, and I wore gloves! My ankles turned really dark. The only reason I gave this 2 stars is it turned out really well on my arms and back.

Comes off in water
by Phil Young

The tanning lotion makes your skin turn gold and looks completely fake. The tan also comes off in the shower, so it only last until your wash yourself. Its a very pointless tanning lotion, and I would never use it again.

Get A Healthy Tan
by leslie

This is a good product to use if you care about protecting your skin from premature aging from the sun but still want to have a nice tan look. It gradually turns your skin a darker color with use. Take care to apply it evenly to your skin so you achieve an all over even tan.

Does Not Give A Deep Tan
by Kelli

I love this product for what it does (gives a gradual tan, without looking fake) but if you are looking for a deep tan, this isn't the product for you. I did not find it messy or hard to use, though!

Nice smelling
by Sarah

Being someone who has tried many sunless tanning products out there on the market, I have found this product to be one of the better smelling self tanners. It has a nice, sweet, fresh smell. I almost forget that I am applying a self tanner and think it's a regular lotion! This product was very easy to apply as well. One thing that I noticed however, was that it did leave my hands an orange color and if you get it on your clothes, it will stain them. Almost every self tanner out there does that. I would recommend wearing gloves when applying the self tanner. Make sure to only apply a small amount to your elbows, knees and ankles as they will turn a different orange color compared to the rest of your body if you are not careful. Overall, this is a great product and one of my favorite self tanners. I would definitely buy it again!

Worked but Messy
by Lori

I used Build-a-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion by Neutrogena, and it did work, but I found it to be very messy. My hands were orange. Not to mention, my nails were a bit orange also. I think in the future I will only use a spray, not a lotion.

Fast Acting, Funny Smell
by TNG

While this product has many things going for it, it has more going against it. First the good: It allows you to gradually build color to find a match for your skin tone. If you want it darker, you can have it darker, but it lets you gradually work up to that. The color is also fairly natural--it does have a bit of that dreaded orange color, but not as much as other products I have tried. I believe that the orange color that many people get has more to do with how well the product is applied, rather then the product itself. Now the bad: It has an awful smell (most sunless tanners do, but I found this one to particularly pungent). It is also very drying. Lastly, no matter what I did, I ended up with brownish orange nails and palms. I would consider this sunless tanner average--I prefer something that smells better and is less drying. If you do use it, a couple of tips: Exfoliate before using and be sure to rub in uniformly everywhere, or you will end up with streaks, especially on your knees, elbows and ankles. Try using gloves of some sort to prevent staining to your hands. Also try mixing the tanner with a bit of regular lotion, which I found to help the dryness factor and the streak factor.

Works well
by Melissa

This product does work very well and will give you a nice tan, except takes what seems forever. The smell is also not like the other products which smell like sun screen.

Sunless Tanner
by Kate

This is the first sunless tanner I have ever used, so that may have had some effect on the outcome. I applied it after the shower, and it took much longer than I expected to dry. After it had finally dried, the color showed up fast, but it was a bit orange. I naturally have very fair skin, so I suppose it was better than nothing. It was also a bit streaky, even though I thought I had put it on evenly.

by Annie

This product built a tan at a gradual pace so that if your skin became a darker hue than you expected you could stop using the lotion and your skin would lighten in color within a few days. It does however make your hands orange and give it that weird tanning smell. It doesn't rub off on clothes if dry but when mixed with water or sweat you will get some residue on your clothes so make sure to hit the gym the day after you apply.

Very good if you don't want to burn!
by John Spindler

I really like this stuff for a lot of reasons. One, you can apply it everywhere instead of laying out for an hour and flipping over, two, you can avoid tanning in the harmful rays of the sun, and three, you can't burn!

Build A tan Fast!
by Lana

I would give this 3 1/2 to 4 stars because it really does work. There are some drawbacks: first, it doesn't smell that great; next, it will leave your palms and cuticles orange; and three, if you sweat at all at night, it will get on your pajamas. I am a redhead and have very fair skin, and it was so great to "build" a tan so fast! This is a good product, but I have switched to something that smells better. I will switch again once this one is out because I'd like to try a spray-on or mist applicator so that I don't get the discoloration on my hands.

by Rebecca

I have fair, freckled skin so a natural tan is not easily attainable. I have tried almost every kind of sunless tan foam, spray, and lotion and have found this to be one of the best! The gradual tan allows you to slowly build a tan to your desired shade, which prevents you from turning the very unnatural orange tan many self-tanners can produce.

May be sunless ...
by Mariette

I never tan in the sun. I burn. So when this product came on the market, I had to try it. First of all, if it VERY hard to apply. Not only is it hard to apply, its hard to apply evenly! I remember a number of times when my arms had marks on them from where the lotion hit too much, leaving noticeable streaks! I finally had to have my boyfriend apply it on me. It was just a mess and not worth all the hassle, not to mention the lotion has a smell after you apply it.

Very Gradual Change
by gbank

I have been using the same product for about a year now and it is acceptable if you just want to add a little color. I use it on my face and neck, but have never really been able to achieve a color I am completely happy with. When I run out, I will probably try something new.

You'll love this product, because I know i do!
by Jit Patel

It is necessary for one to gradually change their skin tone in order to blend in and not stand out like an orange in a basket full of apples. Without doubt the only product that doe the job is from the brand I trust most, Neutrogena. This is a quality product one must try!

Nice Product
by Jaime

I liked this stuff. It did not leave my skin orange. And it did not tan me overnight. The name says it all, Build-A-Tan. It worked just as it said it would. It also lasted a good bit of time. I liked the way it smelled.

Great tanner for even fair skin!
by Mel N

Being fair skin, it's hard to get a natural tan without getting burned so I've tried several different self tanning products. Most leave me looking orange or leave streaks. This product doesn't do that at all! It actually "builds a tan" that fits to your liking. So I can choose to go a couple tones darker or a few tones darker. Awesome product!!

Its Okay
by Latoshia Hicks

This self tanner isn't one of the best that I've used(and believe me I've used many!) It does build color slowly just like the bottle says, but the color isn't a tan color. It was very yellow and sickly looking. I wouldn't buy it again myself.

I like this product
by Laura Frost

This is a great product if you are wanting something to help lighten your skin a little at a time. Build- a- tan does exactly what it says. It helps darken one layer at a time.

Good for light color
by JoDean Roberts

I would recommend Build-A-Tan for someone who is looking for their perfect shade. I used it many times over and just couldn't get the right shade I wanted. I used it up quickly as opposed to other things I've used before. I think this would be best for someone who has not used a self tanner before. It's easy to use, no mess, and you can watch your color and get what you want.

1 Customer Opinions

Good for freckled types
by Rebekah

I thought this self-tanner smells much better than most. It sets to a nice color that isn't too much for someone with my lily-white complexion. I had very few areas of streaking and that was primarily because I was in a hurry.