Memorial Day Weekend is just a few days away and summer is definitely here (although I’m not sure what happened yesterday with that rain storm in New York!). Presently, I’m enjoying (?) 105 degree weather in Palm Springs and so today I wanted to chat about self-tanners. I personally love being tan. I know not everyone feels the same way (and some of the prettiest people I know are pale year round!) but to me a good tan can make you look thinner, and you can skip makeup way more easily when you’re tan. That being said I’m all for safe sun. I’ll lay out here and there but always with SPF, and I think the best tan is a fake tan that no one can tell is fake.
With that, I have tried sooooo many self tanners. You know me – I love trying out new products…. it’s one of the best parts of the job! I’ve tried self tanners that smell terrible, self-tanners that turn me orange… I’ve had ones that didn’t work very well and left me looking like I had a weird skin disease after a few days. It isn’t always pretty. But we’re not talking about that today.. we’re talking about the good ones today!
First things first! Let’s talk about prep work, because you can’t just go slathering this stuff on without doing a bit of work first. The biggest thing is that you need to do a good job exfoliating before applying self-tanner. This ensures an even application, and also makes your faux glow last so much longer longer. I’ll usually exfoliate all over with a coffee scrub and use an a body lotion with fruit acids the day before, and then exfoliate with the coffee scrub and shave my legs the day or night I apply the self-tanner. You want your smoothest possible skin before applying self-tanner!
St. Tropez is sort of the gold standard when it comes to self-tanning. They’re constantly innovating (I mean, hello in-shower gradual tanner and self-tanning sheet mask!!) and the classic bronzing mousse is one of my all time favorite self-tanners. It goes on really evenly, dries almost instantaneously, and it’s tinted which means a) you can see where you are applying it so you don’t mess up, and b) you get an instant glow. It also – in my opinion – smells the best out of self-tanners. Let’s be honest, once self-tanner develops, they all smell pretty bad. The smell is caused by the DHA reacting with your skin (turning it tan) so if it doesn’t smell, it may not doing it’s job. This will get you nice and glowy and the smell is minimal. If you use the bronzing mousse, you are going to want to get the mit too as your hands will soak up the product and turn brown. Another blogger told me that she lost her mit and used a panty liner which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. You could probably also use a microfiber sock but just be prepared – the sock will be ruined!
I should mention that I have not yet tried the sheet mask but I can’t wait to! I will report back in full detail once I do. It’s happening this weekend, that I’m sure.
Every time I use L’Oreal Sublime Bronze, my friends ask me where I got my spray tan (or where I went). It looks SO good. It’s far and away one of the best self tanners out there, and at a drugstore price point, too! I started using it right after college (back in 2004) when being really tan was in but I had started to worry about skin cancer and wrinkles. It goes on very evenly (aka it’s idiot-approved) and the formula smells really good… a little bit like oranges. I like the medium one as it makes me look like I’ve been at the beach for a week. I will say that it says “quick-dry” but I usually have to hang out without clothes on for a good fifteen minutes… it can be a little sticky. For that reason, this one is best applied before bed (you can totally get away with applying the St. Tropez after your morning shower). That’s literally the only bad thing about it, otherwise it may be the best $12 you’ll ever spend.
For those looking for a natural option, COOLA’s products (70% organic) are the best natural self-tanners I’ve found. The self-tanning face serum is super hydrating (it also contains Aloe + antioxidants) and leaves skin looking super radiant. It also smells amazing (like vacation – coconut and pineapple!) For more subtle results you can mix a few drops into your daily moisturizer.
The dry oil mist (for body) smells just as good and is kind of addicting as it makes your legs immediately look really pretty… all shimmery and super-model-y… you’ll want to use it before a night out (I wouldn’t – it smells good when you put it on, but as color develops there still is a bit of odor.)
And I know I rave and rave and rave about Dr. Dennis Gross’s products but I just love how convenient and portable they are. I use his Alpha Beta Peel Pads for body almost every week. They’re kinda your one-stop shop for summer skin as they inhibit hair growth to minimize shaving, exfoliate, firm, and self-tan. And they contain anti-aging ingredients. GENIUS. He just launched these gradual glow peel pads (perfect for everyday use) and I love the super natural (but buildable) results… like Jergen’s but fancier and with anti-aging ingredients.