I love a tan, but I realized a long time ago that baking in the sun wasn’t good for my skin. What’s a girl to do when she still loves the look of a tan? Self tanners to the rescue! I’ve tried a ton of self tanners through the years and have found a few I think do the best job. That being said, I also think self tanners are really personal due to varying skin shades, preferences, etc. and what works for me, may not work for you.
I’ll start this tale with my skin type, it is pretty fair with freckles and a few disturbing age spots (I may not have figured out sitting in the sun wasn’t good for me early enough!) Self tanner tends to pick up on darker spots and make them darker, at least on me. The sun does the same thing though, so I can’t really fault the self tanner for it. In other words, don’t be frightened by my freckles in my self tanner comparisons.
Let’s get to the best self tanners!
My current favorite is TanWise Dark Bronzing Sunless Mousse. It can be found at Sally’s Beauty Supply or Amazon. I like that it is a colored mousse, so it is easy to see where you missed a spot and somewhat easy to contain (compared to a spray).
I used a mitt to apply it because the consistency is somewhat runny and the mitt helps you to rub the product into your skin. I like to use the mitts in general, because it keeps your hands from getting too much product on them during the application process. I prefer the mitts at Ulta versus others. You can find them in the self tanner aisle.
I did the usual when applying, applied at night, wore lose fitting clothing to bed, showered off the guide the next morning. I ended up with a dark tan. It looked like I had been at the beach for a week kind of tan.
Pros: Results in dark color overnight, bronzer “guide” washes off next day to reveal your tan, fairly long lasting tan, easy to apply, easy to find in stores, reasonable cost, colored mouse so you can find spots you missed, very light to no “tanner” odor next day
Cons: Mousse comes out a disturbing grey/brown color (don’t be frightened), consistency a bit runny, need to be quick at rubbing product in, recommend using mitt when applying, not sure what it would look like on super pale, winter skin without any tan
All in all, I would highly recommend TanWise. It’s super easy to find, relatively inexpensive (as far as self tanner goes), results in a dark tan and doesn’t have that “self tanner” smell.
My second favorite product is the TanTowel. Also, easy to find at Ulta or Amazon. I love how easy it is to apply. Just rip open the package and rub the towelette over your face and body. No muss, no fuss. I use these when I just want a little color and/or am feeling a tinge pale. I would recommend these even if you don’t have any color on your skin. They are easy to pack on trips too. They do not result in a super dark tan, more a light to medium color and they do smell like self tanner the next day. Not as strong as some products, but definitely noticeable.
Pros: Easy, easy, easy, portable, fairly natural color, reasonable cost, easy to find in stores, can use on pale skin
Cons: Self tanner smell, no guide to tell where you may have missed a spot
I would recommend the TanTowels also. They are super easy to use and are great for a self tanner novice.
Now let’s get to the part everyone wants to see, the photo comparison. Here’s a side by side of my arm with TanTowel results versus TanWise. Left side are the TanTowel results and the right side are the TanWise results.
Are you a self tanner? What are your faves? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!