This is probably my most frequently asked question of all time in my DMs. “What are your favorite self-tanning products and how do you apply them?”
I have used self-tanner since I was in middle school. I am very pale and I burn super easily. I am not once of those blessed people whose sunburn turns in to a tan either! So trust me when I say I have spent some serious coin over the years and tried just about every tanning product there is on the market. I rounded up several different options and gave my honest opinions of each one!
Last around 4-5 days, dark brown undertones but starts to turn orange around day 3. Bottle last a VERY long time which is great!! Harder to scrub off but also stays on better in pool/ocean. It is a foam and it DOES get on sheets/clothing. Doesn’t have a bad smell to it. Starts to show color within a few hours. Higher price range but as I said above, bottle last a while and good quality!
Love this for after the shower! It is VERY gradual and moisturizing! I would even recommend to apply this every morning as your lotion, on top of whatever tanner you are using!
BEST self tanner I have found so far, looks most natural with brown undertones. This is a mousse that goes on really easily and dries quick! One down side that I have seen is that it comes off a little quicker than the St. Tropez, BUT it looks better than the St. Tropez. This is a great option for a quick self tan, morning of type situation. Does not smell! Does rub off on clothes but not nearly as bad as the St. Tropez. In the middle price bracket and GREAT quality!
This one is very similar to the St. Tropez. It is a mousse and you will need a mitt to apply it. It gives a good dark color. No orange undertones. I will say that personally, I think this one is a little more drying on the skin then some of the other options.
Very moisturizing and goes on gradually! This product does not get on your sheets and does not have any harsh self tanner smells to it. It does hold up nicely in the water, which also means it is fairly difficult to remove. I do love the nice tan this gives for a daily self tanner but would probably not use for a vacation self tan.
Great option if you are on a budget! It goes on nicely, but it can be a bit of a mess. It is a mist but has color, so be careful where you are spraying! It does not last as long as most self tanners but it is a great ‘topper’ on your 2nd or 3rd day of tanner and you need to brighten it up!
Love using this as a quick touch up! It is clear when it comes out so does not get anywhere! Gradual tan and adds a nice glow to the top of any tan! I also feel like it holds up REALLY well in water, but that also means it is more difficult to remove. It does smell pretty bad right when applying but goes away quickly. You do not need a mitt to apply! Great price point for what it does but can doesn’t last super long.
Love this drugstore option! It is very hydrating and a great dupe to the Isle of paradise! It gives a really nice deep tan without any orange under tones.
If this lotion doesn’t smell like high school then I don’t know what does! I used this stuff all the time. It is definitely a very very subtle buildable tan. It is good for a daily moisturizer if you are wanting to slowly build some color. I would still recommend washing your hands after applying it.
NOT a tanner. This is used as more of a glow to be applied to the TOP of your tanner. Higher price point but last a long time!
BEST body makeup. Hands down. Gives the look of perfectly smooth legs WITH a glow, but is NOT waterproof. Great option for a wedding/event, but would probably not wear in the pool/ocean. Higher price point but last a long time!
Great body makeup that IS waterproof. I would use this one for pool/beach days. The quality is not quite as good (as far as look) as the body blur, but it is waterproof which makes it a great option for summer! In the higher price bracket but still cheaper than body blur.
Very pricey but works for every day facial tanning lotion. It is a clean product at Sephora so it is gentle enough on your skin.
**After testing out this product and using it for a few months, I am not a huge fan of it personally. I know people love Drunk Elephant products but the price point and quality do not match up for me on this particular product.**
LOVE this one.. adds a really nice bronzed glow without causing me any acne. Also lasts a few days even with washing my face! Great price for the quality!!
As far as applying these products and my “typical routine for tanning,” it varies a bit depending on my time and my mood. I find that I have the best results when I apply it this way.
Shower/Shave/Exfoliate in the evening. When I get out of the shower, I rub an ice cube or two on my legs to close up the pores. This helps avoid those little dark spots where the tanner gathers in your freshly opened pores. Then I add a pea size amount of lotion on my wrist bones, elbows, knuckles, knee caps, ankle bones, and feet. I let the lotion dry completely (10ish minutes). Then I apply the product to a mitt (3-4 pumps) and rub in a circular motion one limb at a time. I try to move pretty quickly and spread it evenly. Then I sit there and let the tanner dry for about 10-15 minutes before putting on my loose fitting pajamas. I make sure to wash my hands as soon as I am done and then apply lotion to them. I go to sleep and then shower off the extra product in the morning. When I rinse off in the morning, it is just a quick rinse with warm water. I do not scrub, rub, or use soap. You are essentially just rinsing off the extra product and then patting dry. I apply regular lotion all over and then I am good to go! Your tan will last longer the more moisturized your skin is, so apply lotion daily!