SELF TANNERS I USE AND LOVE
Updated: Mar 17, 2019
Remember when we were kids and our moms didn't know that using tanning beds was horrible and dangerous? And how they would go to the tanning salon to get a "base tan" before going on vacation? No, mom! Just...no!! Thankfully, people have realized that tanning beds are terrible for your skin and your longterm health: they can cause premature skin aging such as wrinkles and dark spots, as well as lead to skin cancer. Not to mention, they're far from ideal for people who feel nervous in small spaces.
If you're not confidant enough in your own skills and would rather have a professional help you with a fake tan, you can still go to your local tanning salon - just get a spray tan instead of using a tanning bed!
I've never had a spray tan done, so I can't speak to whether that's better than doing a tan yourself. Obviously you're paying someone for their time and skills (and they actually know what they're doing), as well as the product, but they can at least guarantee you an even, seamless tan. When you apply fake tan yourself, even using a mitt, you may not get it even and perfect (at least, not right away; it may take a few tries to really figure out your best method).
Since it's that time of year again, I thought I would share with you the tanning products that I've tried, what I thought of them, and shopping links if you want to try them out for yourself. With all that being said, let's get right into it!
(Products are listed in order of my personal preference, most loved to not-as-loved)
L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion
This was the first self-tanner I ever tried. I first tried it about 2 years ago and I've loved it ever since; I always go back to it. It does have that strong self-tanner smell, but I don't mind it. It is also kind of glitter-y and appears kind of orange-y once developed, so if you're not into that, it may not be the tan for you. Definitely apply it with a mitt, because it will stain your hands if you don't. Just use the excess product after applying the tan your arms on the top of your hands for a more natural look.
I buy them at WalMart, but you can order it from them or Amazon (Shopper's may also carry it in some stores, but I can't find it online)
Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer
available in two shades: Fair to Medium and Medium to Tan (I use this one)
Lately I've been loving this product. It's super easy to apply and works really well. It's a moisturizer formula, and it's a very thick moisturizer. The instructions say do NOT moisturize before you apply - just use this as your moisturizer (and wash your hands when done) and I can see why. Definitely don't use this on a mitt, because the mitt might just get all gross. It doesn't really have the fake tan smell when it first applies, but the next day (once the tan has started to develop) it does. The only downside is that, because it's a moisturizer formula, you can't see where you've put it, so you have to be really confidant in your application skills. The colour that it develops is really great, and if you use it more than once (meaning, 2 or more days in a row), it can get really dark.
I bought it at WalMart
Tarte Glow With The Faux Foaming Self-Tanner
I've only tried this a couple of times, but I like it! The first time I tried it was a bit of a fail. From what I remember, I definitely had it on for *at least* a full day before showering, but when I finally did shower, it left white streaks where the water had run down my body and taken the tan off. I only had this issue once, so maybe it was just a fluke! It feels like it kind of sits on top of the skin more than it absorbs, so that might explain the easy washing off experience I had. It does apply super dark (bonus, you can see where you've put it), so if you tan your face, don't be shocked when you look in the mirror after (especially if you're pale like me). The tan it develops into is really nice and seems more natural than other self tanners because it doesn't have an orange tint.
I could only find it on Sephora's website; I guess Tarte no longer carries it. It also comes with a little plastic bag and a tanning mitt!
James Read Express Bronzing Mousse
I got a bottle of this from my boyfriend's mom AKA for free, so I was shocked to find it costs ~ $60CAD on Amazon! I know it's because it's a UK brand, so the conversion and shipping cost a lot, but it's still a lot IMO. I only tried it once, and at first, I was really worried. The product came out GREEN (maybe it was just my bottle? people in the Amazon reviews seem to think it was a problem) and after applying it, I looked green. Because of this, I only used it on my legs as I was worried my whole body would just be green (no worries, just wear pants to cover the green legs!). Thankfully, it had turned to a nice bronze-y tan overnight and I didn't have to worry about having green legs. It says it lasts a couple of days, and I'm pretty sure it lasted much longer, even with exfoliating. I couldn't find the exact product I have on the James Read website, but I found it on Amazon. I also linked the James Read website where they have tons and tons of other products (be advised, everything is listed in the UK pound). My MIL got it from her aesthetician, so you may be able to find it at some spas or similar stores. But the price tag is definitely a turn off for me. Once I use up the bottle I have, I doubt I'll be purchasing a bottle myself.
Tarte Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner
I don't quite remember, but I think I've only used this product twice. Similar to the Tarte Glow With The Faux foam tanner, this applies very dark which, in hindsight, is probably a good thing because you can see where you've already applied it/make sure it's nice and even. Tarte's description is that it's a "tinted bronze gel", but it's definitely thicker and stickier than a gel (to compare it to something, it's similar to the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze tan formula, just...thicker and stickier). I don't remember much about how I felt about the actual tan this product produces; I think it was a good tan, though. Definitely more natural looking than, say, the L'Oreal tan (as this isn't nearly as orange-y). I do remember the smell wasn't great; like other products, it has that uniform fake tan smell but ... worse (it's stronger when you're applying and not as bad once it's dried and developed, but still worse than most). Overall, it's not my top recommendation, but it really isn't bad, so don't be afraid to try it out!
Tarte Application Mitt
I swear by this tanning mitt. As I mentioned in my Insta Story, the only other mitt I tried was the St. Tropez one from Shopper's and I hated it. It was super thin but somehow still absorbed so much of the product, I felt like I was wasting it. This mitt is great! It's super soft and it washes out super easily in the sink.
Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse
I haven't tested this out yet, so I'll update on my Insta Stories when I do. But I wanted to throw it in at the end here just to include a shopping link if anyone else is interested in testing it out! It comes in two shades: Light Bronze and Deep Bronze (I think I got deep)
Another amazing self-tanning product I've tried that I loved was the Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanning Face Towelettes. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be making them anymore, but in case they ever start again, now you know: they're amazing!
As I mentioned earlier in this post (and really, it's just common knowledge at this point), spending long periods of time in the sun is dangerous and bad for your skin. But, I know sometimes you have to, or just want to. So here's a few quick tips to keep in mind when spending any amount of time in the sun:
○ wear a high SPF sunscreen
○ use SPF on your face every. single. day. even if you're only going between buildings and your car
○ use makeup products that contain SPF if you don't/can't wear sunscreen under your foundation/makeup
○ watch the clock or set a timer so you know how long you've been in the sun, and when it's time to go inside or take a shade break
○ wear a hat! your skin's safety and your health is more important than fashion
○ drink lots of water! it's good for your skin AND it'll help you stay cool in the heat
I'll do a separate post soon with different sunscreens and SPF-containing makeup products!