Tanning beds seem to be a thing of the past and self tanners are now all the rage which is great because obviously, no skin cancer risk with those and people seem to be staying out of the sun a little more nowadays. I was weary of self tanners at first because the ones I tried were streaky and left you looking more Oompa Loompa and less JLo but now, years later, self tanning products have really stepped up their game. Today, I’m going to be comparing five different types of self tanners and telling you pros and cons of each as well as sharing my overall experience and tips for a great self tan.
I’m going to be looking at 5 formulas today: spray (aka tanning water), mousse, butter/lotion, self tanning drops and gradual in shower tanning lotion (very specific but it is definitely its own category). I’ll also be sharing which products in those formulas have worked best for me. If you’re looking for tips and tricks, stay tuned, I’m saving those for the end!
Pros: This is the most long wearing of the five formulas and lasts for over a week on me every single time. I’ve even had it last 12 days before. It also doesn’t come off in that “cracked” fashion like some other self tanners do and seems to just fade away after multiple showers. I apply this with a mitt after spraying directly onto the skin. It’s not streaky unless you get the areas you just sprayed wet so as long as you’re careful, this won’t streak. It also doesn’t come off on clothes or sheets at all so this is the best one to use right before bed in my opinion.
Cons: Cost ($28), although the bottle does last a while so I think the price is justifiable. It also gets sold out quite a bit at Sephora so snagging it sometimes is not guaranteed.
*Just for reference, I get this in the Medium shade.
Similar Products: Tan Luxe Self Tanning Water
Pros: Easy to mix in with your face cream or sleeping mask before bed and wake up with a nice tan.
Cons: This one gives me the most uneven coverage of all the formulas. I mix it in with lotion or a cream and apply but almost always get streaks and almost always get a somewhat uneven application. I think part of the problem is I don’t let it sink in enough before going to bed but I still think it doesn’t work as well as it could. I also don’t think this lasts as long as the tanning water by the same brand that I talked about above. Price is also a con ($29).
*Just for reference, I also get this in the Medium shade.
Similar Products: Tan-Luxe THE BODY Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Pros: This one is great because it involves no prep (no exfoliation and moisturization) ahead of time and can just be applied once you get out of the shower. It also gives you a glow instead of just giving you a tan. The color you get is really nice and it smells nice as well.
Cons: Price is a big con on this one. The smaller tube is $36 and the big bottle that I own is like $90 ( I didn’t pay that much for it, HSN was running a huge deal that made it $27 so that’s when I snagged it). Another con is it doesn’t last very long. I’d say you have like 4-5 days max of wear time.
Pros: Available at Walgreens so very accessible. Instant results, you see the tan develop literally as you’re applying it. You get about 4-5 days of wear time with this one and this brand also carries a “tan eraser” that you can use to fix streakiness. I apply onto a tanning mitt and rub in.
Cons: Doesn’t last as long as some of the others. Definitely have to prep so shave and exfoliate and moisturize your body before applying.
Pros: By far the most affordable option. Don’t need to do any prep because you just apply it to wet skin as you’re getting out of the shower.
Cons: By far the “weakest” self tanner and by that I mean the least amount of color development. Takes multiple applications for full color development. Also has a pretty noticeable scent that tends to linger for a while after application.
So that’s my breakdown of each type of product and what I think of them. Let’s now talk some self tanning tips:
- If you’ve never used self tanner before, I would recommend only applying it after shaving and exfoliating (even the formulas where I say it’s not necessary, I still recommend it for the best look) and then moisturizing. Make sure you apply lotion to areas like your elbows and knees that tend to get extra dry or you’re going to have concentrated patches of self tanner that’s not going to look very nice.
- Always wash your hands after applying, even if you were wearing a mitt, BUT make sure the water from when you’re washing your hands doesn’t run onto your arms if you’ve tanned them or you’re going to have very noticeable streaks no matter what formula you used.
- Applying self tanner on top of a faded self tanner that’s still somewhat there can result in “cracking” which doesn’t look very nice and gives you a snake like scaly look to your skin. So either make sure you’ve properly washed out your old self tanner or give it enough time to wash off on its own or use a product like the Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser.
Do you guys use self tanner? Which one do you use? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading!
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