Although paler skin is edging back into fashion, being tanned is often linked to self-esteem, with many women saying they feel more confident, slimmer and healthier when they’ve ‘had a tan’. Up until the 1920s, tan skin was a sign of poverty, and a creamy complexion was the epitome of beauty. It was Coco Chanel who launched the tan trend in 1923 after getting too much sun during a yacht trip in the Cannes and returning with glowing, tan skin. Her sun-kissed look launched a fad and, eventually, an entire industry revolving around achieving the perfect tan.
Like many people, I like having a nice summer glow to my skin but self-tanners have traditionally terrified me. One glimpse at Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars and you’ll know why. Lately, though, I’ve been reevaluating my “no self-tanners” rule. Plus, I am a fashion and beauty writer, if I don’t take these beauty risks, who will?
I tested out three self-tanning products to see which of them gave me the best golden glow.
ST. TROPEZ Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse & Water Face Mist
If you’ve ever looked into self-tanner you have probably heard of this brand. Almost everyone swears by the St Tropez tanning products – I knew I had to try this, and see what everyone was raving about! And I wasn’t disappointed. It gives you a nice glow that you don’t need to rinse off. The clear formula has no guide colour, no self-tan smell and it instantly hydrates the skin without creating streaks and evenly fades. Your tan might only look better if you actually go to Saint-Tropez.
The thing I love the most about this is that it’s not only vegan-friendly, (which most of their iconic products are), but it’s also made from 100% naturally-derived ingredients like hibiscus flower extract, which helps protect the skin from irritants, and green mandarin water, which helps make your skin glowy.
L’ORÉAL Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes
Sunless tanning towelettes are an easy way to get a fast-drying, natural tan. The towelettes are simple to apply and they dry fast. Loréal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Towelettes produce a very light colour in case you prefer more of a slight “glow” than an actual tan.
Each towelette combines Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Vitamin E with the self-tanner, which provides soft and smooth skin. Results begin to appear within one hour of application. My suggestion? Start with the six pack of towelettes to test the product on your skin and see how this sunless tan looks on you.
SHISEIDO Brilliant Bronze Quick Self-Tanning Gel
This dermatologist-tested tanning gel is great for those with severely dehydrated skin. It delivers extreme moisture and keeps optimal hydration levels as you tan. Beyond the brilliant bronze glow it delivers, your skin is left feeling soft and supple.
The gel smoothes on with a cool sensation, absorbs instantly, and feels light and silky on skin. The product is extremely easy to apply. It goes on smooth and rubs in with virtually no effort. Because it dries so fast, you’ll want to put it on fast so you know where you’ve put it. It glides on with a pleasant scent and no sensation of stickiness or heaviness.
Whichever one you choose, know that using a self-tanner is the safest and best way to give your skin a healthy, bronzed look. However, mastering the art of self-tanning can feel like a challenge at times.
Tips and things to remember:
Make sure to exfoliate your entire body and moisturize dry parts like elbows, knees, and ankles before you tan.
If you’re going to shave, do it a few hours before you apply your tan and try to hold off a day or two before shaving again.
Make sure you are bending your legs when you’re applying to your knees and keep your neck tilted back while tanning it, so you get every crease.
To keep your hands and feet from looking a totally different shade than the rest of your body, apply the product to your arms and legs first, then smooth the rest onto fingers and toes. And always use a tanning glove!
Moisturize your skin daily. It will not only help extend the life of your tan, it’ll keep it looking fresh longer, too.
Self-tanners do not protect your skin from UV rays. Before you expose yourself to the sun, make sure you apply a cream with an SPF!