Tan Talk: Ocean Potion Everglow Gradual Sunless Tanner

Ocean Potion Everglow - Front of Bottle

Ocean Potion Everglow, under $5

Ocean Potion Everglow had been on my sunless tanning radar for years. It had, in fact, occupied a space on my drugstore.com list for quite some time (before drugstore.com became defunct; RIP). Somehow, though, I always found something more interesting to try that stepped in line ahead of it. It wasn’t until after drugstore.com shuttered, however, that I decided to pick it up from my local Wal-Mart earlier this year.


Because Ocean Potion Everglow does not deposit color and uses DHA to stimulate melanin production, this isn’t an instant gratification product. Unlike other self-tanners that are DHA-only, too, this is, like the title suggests, a gradual sunless tanner. You don’t apply and have noticeable color in 6-8 hours. You will develop subtle color after a few days. For me, it took about 4-5 days of daily use to notice a difference. When I did, I found the difference to be good – my tan looked natural. Not orange, not streaky.


Since this is a gradual tanner, I skip the tanning mitt when I apply. After using my normal body lotion as a barrier on my feet, knees, and elbows, I apply it like any other lotion. After application, I wash my hands thoroughly – and that’s about it. A slow-to-develop product like this requires less precision and attention to application detail. I never noticed any awkward streaks or splotches.


Ocean Potion Everglow is a daily moisturizer with sunless tanner ingredients – so this can take place of your regular lotion if you’re so inclined. Since it is a gradual tanner, daily (or at least every other day) use is best to achieve and maintain results.

My skin doesn’t feel parched or taut using it, but it did remain sticky for about ten minutes longer than my usual non-tanning body lotion and five minutes longer than my usual sunless tanning products. As an impatient human being, I didn’t love this.


So, uh, the second ingredient is canola oil.

Ocean Potion Everglow - Back of Bottle

I wish I were joking.

I’m not usually an ingredient snob when it comes to these things but geez.  Of all the things you want to use as a moisturizer! That certainly explains the damn stickiness.

Sorry, I won’t be moisturizing with the same thing I deep fry mozzarella sticks in. Fail.

Fragrance & Odor

When I was a teenager and still using tanning beds like an idiot, spending money on high-end tanning lotion (like the first product I wrote about, ever, on this blog – ha!) wasn’t an option. Back then, I used Ocean Potion Xtreme Intensifier which I was surprised to find still exists. It wasn’t my favorite, but it worked well and with about a $4-5 price tag back then I wasn’t unhappy. It did, however, have this awkward, cloying, chemical-y orange fragrance that I did NOT like.

Imagine my disappointment a decade later when Ocean Potion Everglow has the same cloying, fake fruit scent. I cannot stand it.

Since this product does contain DHA, there is a risk of developing a sunless tanner odor. Many reviewers suggest they, “totally cannot smell a tanner smell,” with Ocean Potion Everglow, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t there. After all, with such strong fragrance, it isn’t unreasonable that a less-pleasant smell would be suffocated!

The Bottom Line

Although the color is good, Ocean Potion Everglow is overwhelmed by its sickly-sweet scent and cooking oil ingredients. I will not be repurchasing because I hate how it smells and I super-hate being sticky. If those two qualities do not bother you to an infuriating degree, this is an excellent value. Just over twenty ounces costs less than five dollars. An ounce costs less than a quarter!

I really wish I could get past those two things. I think if it were just one and not the other I could deal with it – but for now, I’ll stick with L’Oreal Sublime Glow or Jergens for my drugstore gradual tanners.