Several people asked me in my fashion post on Shorts what my recommendations are for self tanners. Conveniently, I just posted on the Therapon blog about how to apply self tanner. In this post, I will give you the down-low on my favorite brands.
I’ve used a lot of self-tanners over the years, but there is one that consistently comes out on top. My absolute favorite is the Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel – if you don’t mind spending a small fortune on a natural-looking tan, that is. The Clarins retails for about $30, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t last very long.
But it goes on smoothly and evenly, it smells pretty good (for a self tanner) and it doesn’t turn you orange. And the thing I really like about it is, after one application, you have a fairly decent tan. With two, you look great.
It works fairly quickly too. So when you’re getting ready to go out for a night on the town, and you suddenly realize you’re legs are going to glow in the dark, the Clarins saves the day! When I feel like splurging, I always go for the Clarins.
If spending $30 on a beauty product makes you want to launch your lunch, there are some good quality drugstore brands available.
The one that stands out above the rest is Jergens Natural Glow.
Across the board, this seems to be the most-loved self tanner on the market. It builds slowly, so you do have to apply it in advance. It is best used on a regular basis — don’t try to use it at the last minute and expect a dramatic result. But if you use it every morning for several days in a row, it builds slowly to a nice, natural-looking healthy glow.
You can also buy it for various skin tones, which is a really nice feature. It makes it less likely to streak on pale skin if you buy the product for fair to medium skin tones. And if you have a darker complexion or a base tan already, and you DO want something that is going to, you know, show up, then the one for medium to tan skin tones will work better for you.
Another brand that I have used and like is Xen-Tan.
You can read my review on All Things Chic. It’s also $30, but you get 8 ounces rather than 4, as with the Clarins.
And currently I am using a self tanning lotion that I received in a swag bag almost two years ago. I KNOW! This stuff DOES last, and while it doesn’t go on with dramatic results, it does build slowly and doesn’t tend to streak. It is the Sunless Tanning System by Kymaro.
It comes with an exfoliating body scrub (I have that in my shower and always use it before I am going to apply the tanning lotion — see my post for Therapon on how to apply self tanner) as well as a light wand that is supposed to reveal if you applied the lotion unevenly, so you can correct it. I have never used the light wand, and I don’t have any trouble with streaking as long as I take my time and apply it carefully (as you must with all tanning lotions).
Incidentally, the Clarins Instant Gel made Oprah’s Guide to Best Tanning Products; and Total Beauty named a Clarins sunless tanning lotion their top pick this year, after polling their readers. I was surprised that the Jergens Natural Glow only showed up on one of those lists. The drugstore brand that did make both lists was Aveeno Continuous Radiance. Might be worth a try!
There are lots of great sunless tanning products on the market these days. I really do think the secret is in the application.
Which one is your favorite??