Over the past few years, self-tanner has gotten a bad rap. It’s surrounded by so many negative connotations, the very mention of spray-on-tan is enough to make even the most open minded makeup connoisseur pale with fright. To find out which ones give you a beachy glow (and which ones will make you look like you rolled around in Cheeto dust), we loaded up one of our interns with self-tanners and sent her out into the World for some hands-on experience.
Pick your poison
Before writing this article, all I knew about self-tanner was that unless you had a highly specialized team of federal manacurists (re: Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality), you were gonna end up looking like an Oompa Loompa. I was informed that the most important thing is to pick a self-tanner that will suit your skin tone – I went with gradual self-tanners because I’m super pale. To my amazement, none of these made me look like a rejected Jersey Shore extra. I looked like I had spent a week running outside, juicing, and generally being super healthy which was a LIE. If you want to become a human optical illusion too, these self-tanners are your best bet:
1. Mousse: Widely considered the easiest to rub in and evenly distribute. We’re partial to the Self Tan Bronzing Mousse by St. Tropez, the patron saint of fake tans. St. Tropez Tanning Essentials: Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $38 online and in stores
2. Spray: Sprays are the best for difficult to reach places, like your back. This one is great for a light, natural-looking tan that’s easy to blend. Bonus: you can get it on the cheap from the drugstore. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze SunSplash, drugstores
3. Tan towels: Fast and efficient, tan towels are easy to apply and don’t leave streaks or mess. Kind of like a makeup remover wipe, the product is infused directly in the towel for minimum difficulty. TanTowel, Self-Tan Towelette For Face & Body, $30, online and in stores
4. Face: Although you don’t want your face to be a different colour from the rest of your body, sometimes it’s better to use a gentler product on sensitive skin. The Night Moisture Mask doubles to give you a healthy, sun-kissed glow while hydrating your skin. Seriously, you’ll wake up the next day looking super dewy and refreshed. Vita Liberata Trystal Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask $56, available at Sephora
5. Contour: The bronzer works like a regular bronzer where you just apply it lightly across your face, except it will result in a permanent tan. This is the latest in cutting-edge self-tanner technology, as it’s the first ever powder form. You can contour your cheekbones for permanent definition! Sneaky! Vita Liberata Trystal Self Tanning Bronzing Minerals $56, available at Sephora
6. Commitment issues: gives you a really subtle glow, and it’s easy to apply. It goes on in a dark brown lotion which looks intimidating, but shows exactly where you should blend to make sure you don’t miss a spot and end up looking patchy. Plus, it’s super subtle IRL.The BareMinerals Faux Tan Body Sunless Body Tanner $32 at Sephora
Are you a fan of self tanner?