Self-Tanners That Make My Skin Look Like Gold
If there’s one thing I love more than basking in the sun, it’s the feeling I get after a nice, gorgeous spray tan. The only reason I love this more than basking in the sun is because I don’t have to worry (as much) about the wrinkles that will come along with it. And for all of you that know me, I really, really don’t want to become a wrinkly raisin.
The moment DIY spray tans became available, I was buying them. At 12, I experimented with the gradual tan lotions (probably not the best for me, but whatever) and at 14, I became addicted to spray tanning my face for a subtle glow.
Now, I’ve used probably over 10 different kinds of DIY spray tans, and I’m here to report back my favorite ones.
Best drugstore brand
L’Oreal Sublime Self-Tanning Mist, $9.99
I’ve been using this for almost ten years. Holy sunshine that’s long. But my favorite time to use this one is when I’m looking to give my face a glow. In the summer, my body naturally picks up a tan, but I use a lot of SPF on my face, so my face remains paler. To balance that out, I use L’Oreal Sublime on my face before bed and wake up with a hint of color.
Best quick tan
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse, $44.00
This one isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth the money you’ll save by not getting Botox in ten years. I love this bronzing mousse because it works fast. In fact, I’m wearing it as I’m writing this piece between meetings. The deepest tan results after 3 hours…that’s literally magic. I also love this one because it rubs nicely on your skin and you can see where the color hits due to the bronzer in the formula. If you want a safe, reliable, high-quality spray tan, this is the one for you. I recommend using the mitt to apply. You will look like you took a mud bath.
Best over-night tan
Tarte Brazilliance PLUS + self tanner, $39.00
Tarte’s self tanner is one I never thought I would use until I tried it. They sent me one to try out and I’m definitely hooked for when the only time I can tan is while I sleep. This tanner takes about 8 hours, so I apply it before bed. It’s a smooth gel and leaves the skin feeling hydrated with a nice glow when you wake up. I apply it to my face because I love the glow, but Tarte also makes self-tanning face wipes if you have more sensitive skin.
Best-priced self-tanning set
Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid and Professional Mitt $26.50
Fake Bake scared me at first because I was like, “I don’t want to look fake…I want to look like I was just in the sun in Malibu!” And, at least for me, I didn’t look fake after applying this. I just looked baked. This self-tanner takes 6-8 hours to set in, so it’s also best for an overnight application. I found that the color looked very natural and the formula smelled like coconuts, which is always fun and makes me dream of being on an island. This option isn’t my absolute favorite because the liquid isn’t as smooth and moisturizing as St. Tropez or Tarte’s but it definitely does a great job at achieving an overall glow. It also comes with the mitt and a glove to make sure application is smooth, and it’s not that expensive. I think this is the best deal on the list.
Best for the face
THE FACE Illuminating Self-Tan Drops, $49
This product is genius because you can put it in your daily moisturizers, serums, lotion, etc. and it will help you build a gradual base tan. I love this because I’m addicted to my anti-wrinkle creams and serums, and my least favorite part of spray tanning is forgoing my moisturizers for the day or night to ensure the color stays. With THE FACE’s illuminating self-tan drops, I’m able to get the best of both worlds and maintain a nice glow. This is definitely on the pricier end, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a consistent, easy to maintain facial glow.
Best Tanning Lotion
Coola Gradual Tan Sunless Firming Lotion, $46
When I first used this, I thought it would be a Jergen's gradual tanning lotion kind of ordeal. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's basically a very lightly pigmented lotion that gives you a tan over time. I was completely wrong with this assumption and when I first put it on before bed, I was not expecting to wake up like I just went on an island vacay in my dreams. Needless to say, this tan is not gradual. Although it doesn't say it on the bottle, it's advertised as a gradual lotion that will "ease you into a glow." Regardless, it's easy to use and you get more bang for your buck with its effectiveness. The one downside is that it's not pigmented, so if you miss a spot, you can't really tell. I had a few slip ups from my first application, but this is probably because I thought it was going to be so light that no one would notice. On the flip side, a huge upside to using this product is that it's much more natural than the others you would put on your body, and it leaves your skin feeling smooth and firm.