by Julia Greenzaid


As spring break approaches, the last thing you want to do is return to D.C. with skin so red and uncomfortable you are forced to lug a bottle of aloe vera to class with you in Walsh. We get it: everyone feels a bit prettier with a radiant tan, especially as spring break has many of us lusting after a natural sun-kissed glow. But is good color worth the risk of sun damage?

Here at HV, under no circumstances do we promote roasting your skin under the sun or tanning beds, so self-tanners are the ideal alternative to the sun’s dangerous rays. Forget your fears of resembling an oompa-loompa—we’ve already done the dirty work. We tested out first-hand over 10 self-tanning products, and will share our top five picks as well as our suggestions on how to achieve the perfect faux glow. These tanners provide color so natural looking, your skin will radiate in authentic golden bliss—even as you trudge to Lau 2 for your post-break paper assignments.

Here are the tanners we liked best, depending on your specific desires.

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#1 For gradual color buildup:

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, $9.99, CVS Pharmacy Wisconsin Ave.

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Shades Offered: Fair to Medium, Medium to Tan

Application Ease: 5/5 Rub it on, then wash your hands! (*Pro-tip: Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer, $9.99, is an oil-free SPF 20 formula for your face)

Quality of Lastingness: 4/5 Must apply daily to maintain tan.

Warnings: None! It’s foolproof and even has a built in moisturizer! Stop applying daily when you achieve desired shade.

Achievable Darkness level: ☼ to ☼☼

 #2 For those with fair/light skin:

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Sally Hansen Airbrush Sun Gradual Tanning, $13.99, CVS Wisconsin Ave.

Shades Offered: Light to Medium, Medium to Tan

Application Ease: 5/5 After 2 days of use, skin is noticeably tanner and super natural looking!

Quality of Lastingness: 3/5 Fading begins soon after you stop applying.

Warnings: One bottle is only good for around 3-4 uses.

Achievable Darkness level: ☼ (*Pro tip: For a darker tan, use for more than consecutive 2 days)

 #3 For those looking to splurge:

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TanTowel Self-Tan Towelette for Face and Body, $27 for 5 pack, Sephora M St.

Shades Offered: Only comes in one shade (Not too dark, great for fair skin)

Application Ease: 5/5 Super easy—no mess! Just rub towelette on desired areas—face too! (*Pro tip: It goes on clear, which calls for extra care to not miss any areas like behind your knees)

Quality of Lastingness: 3/5 Fades after a couple days.

Warnings: Takes around 4 hours to fully develop—we recommend putting it on before bed!

Achievable Darkness level:


#4 For those seeking a long-term relationship:

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St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, 4oz $32, Sephora M St.

Shades Offered: Original or dark

Application Ease: 3/5 Use a mitt or gloves to prevent stained hands, and rub mousse in circular motions for even application. (*Pro Tip: Instead of spending another $30 on St. Tropez bronzing face lotion, use a cotton ball to apply a dime-sized amount to cheekbones, bridge of nose, and forehead)

Quality of Lastingness: 6/5 Lasts a week or more if you moisturize daily!

Warnings: Applies a dark brown color (Don’t freak—it won’t tan you that color!)

Achievable Darkness level:



#5 For an express tan to last the night:

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Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup, $13.99, CVS Pharmacy Wisconsin Ave.

Shades Offered: Fairest Shade, Light Glow, Medium Glow, Tan Glow, Deep glow (*Pro Tip: Light Glow looks most natural on light/medium/dark skin!)

Application Ease: 5/5 This product comes in both a lotion form and a spray bottle!

Quality of Lastingness: 1/5 It comes off in the shower!

Warnings: Can transfer onto clothing/fabric if applied too heavily or to any other body parts!

Achievable Darkness level:


Now that you’ve got a clue what tanner might suit you best, be sure to follow HV’s Tan Tips to guarantee that your faux glow looks flawless!



1.     Exfoliate with a body scrub, and focus on dry areas like hands, feet, knees, and elbows to avoid a streaky tan.

2.     After exfoliating, dry off and put body lotion on hands, feet, knees, and elbows to prevent them from soaking up excess tanner.

3.     Wear a tanning mitt (we like the St.Tropez Tan Applicator Mitt, $6.50, Sephora) or rubber gloves when applying to keep your palms tan-free (*Pro Tip: Covering your palms with thick socks works just as well!)



1.     To maintain your tan, moisturize your body daily.

2.     To rid yourself of a tan gone wrong, take a warm bath or use a body scrub to speed fading.

3.     To fix mess-ups, squeeze a lemon onto dark areas. For more dramatic cases, put rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and apply it to butchered area.

4.     To avoid splotches, wait 8 hours after tanning before showering, sweating, or swimming.

Posted by:Thirty Seventh

Georgetown's premier fashion and lifestyle blog.

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