Confessions of a Product Junkie: Summertime!
Spring is in the air.. and summer is right around the corner! Which means it is time for a self-tanner/bronzer review! I admit at one time I used tanning beds...I know, shameful. But I am since rehabbed of this bad habit and looking for the best self-tanners out there. Below are the good, the bad, and the streaky.
First, what is in self tanners? Self-tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead cells located in the stratum corneum of the epidermis. As the sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, a color change occurs. These sometimes are combined with bronzer which tints or stains your skin only until it is washed off. Like any other product it is important to test these on skin to make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. And remember, these contain NO sun protection, so always always use a sunscreen!
Spray Tans:So this is the most expensive option. There are two forms- am automated spray booth and a hand held tool which you or someone you trust can use to spray on the formula. I personally have not tried the hand held version, but have friends that had very even, natural looking results. The stand up automated spray booth looks like a stand up tanning bed but it simply uses jets to mist tanner on you. Now this method took me a few tries to get down correctly. First, you must prep! Shave and exfoliate really well otherwise the tanner will look scaly on your skin and don't use lotions, you want it on your clean bare skin. Next use a barrier cream, usually just lotion, on any areas where you DON'T want tanner, like your hands and bottom of your feet. This is hard to get right, especially in the beginning, so expect a few patchy spots around your ankles and hands. For any areas that are uneven, you can use toothpaste and lemon juice or tan remover to get rid of splotchy areas. After the barrier cream, remove any jewelry and be sure to use the shower cap to keep the tanner out of your hair. Also, be sure that you learn the proper way to stand while being sprayed. This can vary depending on the machine, but pay attention to how they recommend standing, it will make a difference in the evenness of your tan. After you are finished, use a use wet-wipe to remove the solution from areas you do not want to tan such as the palms of your hand, soles of feet, between your fingers and toes, nails and cuticles. Make sure you wear clothes that can get tanner on them because it will rub off on them. Don't shower, work out, or swim 4-6 hours after or you will significantly lessen the results. I make sure to use lots of moisturize on my skin and this seems to make my tan last longer. Overall, I feel this is the best option for a dark, even, tan but it can cost anywhere from $20-$50, so I tend to use this only for special events.
ModelCo Tan Airbrush in a Can:I HATED this product the first time I used it. It was messy, greenish, and difficult to spray. But the results were amazing. This takes some practice and requires a lot of clean up, but the color looks fantastic and very natural. Since this is an aerosol, I always use it in the shower and then just spray everything off. Don't use it anywhere else, it gets everywhere and is difficult to clean off walls. Don't be afraid of the color either. It sprays out a very strange greenish hue, which I have not seen before in a tanner. But for whatever reason it makes the tan come out so natural looking. The bottle recommends just spraying and not rubbing in, but I always do and I have had no problem with streaking. But wash your hands after really well, use a loofah and soap or you will regret it! My vote- I love this product and the results.
Tan Towel, tanning wipes:I was so excited when Sephora had a pack of 5 of these for $10. I wanted to try these for a while but they are a little pricey. This pack included 5 individually wrapped wipes. I used one wipe for my arms, my legs, and my chest. If you really want to get everywhere you probably need to use two. The strange thing about these is that there is no color on the wipe. It feels like you are just rubbing a wet wipe all over your body. I liked this at first because it wasn't messy and orange but I realized after my tan started to form that it makes it difficult to see areas that you missed. My tan was a little streaky and the color was not as natural as ModelCo. I really wanted to like this product because the application is so easy and clean, but the results were not as good. I might use these if I go on vacation because they travel so well, but I will probably stick with ModelCo.
Jergens Natural Glow: This is my favorite go-to drug store brand. It is cheap, reliable and moisturizing. I just bought their firming self-tanner lotion and love it. This is easy to apply, doesn't streak and gives some good color. The color is not as dark as the ModelCo or Tan Towel, but definitely gives you some glow. One trick, I am fair skinned but I use their medium to tan formula. The light just doesn't give me much color and medium doesn't look too dark on me.
L'Oreal: I tried both the sublime bronzer and the sublime daily glow. The daily glow is a gradual self tanner similar to Jergens natural glow. You use it daily and gradually get darker. The sublime bronzer is an instant tanner that will turn your skin about 2 shades darker in a few hours. I didn't feel their daily glow gave me as much color as the Jergens brand and I hated the bronzer. The consistency is sticky, hard to rub in evenly and the color was too dark and streaky. Maybe I didn't apply it correctly, but the results were so bad I don't want to risk trying it again.
Finally a list of my favorite powder bronzers: Benefit Hoola, Mac Bronzing Powder, and Bare Escentuals warm radiance. I rotate through these three bronzers and love them all. The bare escentuals is a less intense color than benefit and mac's but still gives my skin a beautiful overall glow. I use these bronzers as a final touch to my make up to give me some overall color on my face and chest.
Now go out and enjoy the sun with lots of sunscreen! Happy sunless tanning!
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