By: Callie Kim
My biggest concern heading into the darker, gloomier months is my tan: the amount of time and money I’ve spent on self tanners is slightly concerning. But since I’ve tried an excessive number of self tanners over the past few years, I can firmly say that not all self tanners are created equal. Some are too orange, or too shimmery, or too subtle, or too messy. I feel like Goldilocks trying different self tanners until I finds the ones that are just right…
LA CRÈME DE LA CRÈME: St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
If I were stranded on an island and could only bring three things, I would choose my phone, my phone charger, and my St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse
This self tanner is my SAVIOR. It’s a mousse, which you can apply with either an applicator mitt or your hand. Since I’m lazy and cheap, I often use my hand, but that’s okay with this self tanner because if you wash your hands immediately after, you can’t even tell that about 30 seconds ago, they were 20 shades darker than your actual skin. On the other hand, you absolutely cannot get wet after you apply this. I recommend putting it on right before you go to sleep so you get a nice 8 (6?) hours of it, and then rinse off when you wake up. I also like rubbing a tiny dollop of this mousse on my face before I apply my makeup to give me a little more color. Additional bonuses: This self tanner is the cheapest self tanner I’ve tried that doesn’t make you look orange. At all. You’ll actually notice when you wash it off that your soap suds turn a little
green, which is perfect because green and orange are opposites on the color wheel. No oompa loompas with this self tanner! Also, this self tanner lasts a few days, so if you apply it Tuesday or Wednesday night then you’re good to go for the weekend. AND it comes in multiple shades for various skin tones, or for people who want to be extra tan (i.e. me).
INEXPENSIVE AND QUICK: Jergens’ Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Mousse
Aka my old go-to before I became obsessed with St. Tropez. When I woke up the morning of prom and realized I was not tan enough, Jergens’ Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Mousse saved me. It doesn’t look very dark when you put it on, but darkens within a couple hours following application. Unlike St. Tropez, this self tanner dries very quickly (60 seconds according to the packaging), so you don’t have to avoid water like you’re the Wicked Witch of the West, plus it lasts a couple days. Unfortunately, this self tanner is slightly orange, so be careful to not overdo it.
GRADUAL AND SUBTLE: Jergens’ Natural Glow Moisturizer, 3 Days to Glow
This moisturizer is perfect if you want a little more color and don’t
mind waiting a few days for it to kick in. I used to use this along with the Jergen’s Mousse
(moisturizer every day, mousse every two or three days). The best part of this self tanner is that it makes your skin really soft, but similar to the mousse, it gives you a slightly orange tan. However, since your tan from the moisturizer won’t be as strong as your tan from the mousse, you may not even notice the orange. Honestly, sometimes I couldn’t even tell if this self tanner was actually making me tan, or if it was just my imagination. But it’s so cheap that it’s worth a shot!
MOST “NATURAL-LOOKING”: tarte Brazilliance
The priciest self tanner on this list, but also the most natural-looking. This self tanner is thiccccc but you don’t need to apply a lot of it. Its color is very similar to the St. Tropez mousse except it’s a bit more water resistant and a lot more expensive per how many self tans you’ll get out of it. But if you want to splurge on a self tanner, this is your best bet.