I've Tried a Ton of Self-Tanners—These 3 Are My Favorites

I've Tried a Ton of Self-Tanners—These 3 Are My Favorites

With summer in full swing now, it seems as though everyone’s winter skin has disappeared and sunkissed tans are here to stay (until next winter of course). But as a woman with ultra pale skin who recognizes the danger of the sun’s rays, I do my best to minimize damage to my skin by steering clear of sunlight.

Because I love the bronzed look that always seems to elude me, I decided to test out some alternative ways to achieve it that didn’t involve sitting by the pool. I was curious to see if the self-tanning products I’ve heard about for years would actually work as they’re advertised, so I tried as many as I could this summer to see which ones appeared natural and which ones were a flop. Luckily, I found a few that delivered the results I was looking for. Keep scrolling to see which ones are actually worth trying yourself.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

I first tried this lotion in eighth grade after hearing countless reviews that this was the best for those with fair skin, yet I remember turning a horrendous orange color. I figured that over the years, the formula had to have changed and I should give it a go once again. In order to not have history repeat itself, I applied a medium-sized amount on my upper thigh and let it sit overnight to see what the results would be after a 6-8 hour period.

The pros: Application was easy, and the lotion wasn’t too thick or too watery. It also had a nice scent to it and reminded me of regular suntan lotion. When I woke up the next morning, my skin appeared more tan, so the results were fast.

The cons: Although my skin did appear less pale, it had a slightly orange tint. The directions recommended applying over a period of multiple days, which I refrained from because I knew after multiple applications, my skin would have definitely looked more oompa loompa than sunkissed.

Grade: B+

Neutrogena Build-A-Tan Gradual Sunless Tan Lotion

I have always been a fan of Neutrogena products because they are great for those with sensitive skin, myself included. When I found out they had a self-tanner, I knew I had to try it for myself. Like the Jergens lotion, I applied a good amount on my upper thigh and let it sit overnight.

The pros: Application was easy, and the lotion had a nice texture to it and felt nice on my skin—not too heavy. Plus, I already had results when I woke up the next morning. The tone blended better with my skin, making it look more natural.

The cons: When I woke up, I could tell where the lotion was applied, but it was not as dark after the six- to eight-hour period. It would definitely take multiple days of application to reach the color I was looking for. Although the tone blended better with my skin, it did have a slightly yellowish tint to it, which I wasn’t a big fan of.

Grade: B-

TanTowel Body Tan Towelettes

After the previous two lotions did not give me the results I desired, I expressed frustration to my esthetician and she recommended TanTowel’s self-tanning towelettes. They look like normal wet wipes except they smell like strong tanning lotion. As instructed, I wiped my body with the towelettes, starting with my feet, and worked my way up to the top of my body. Although the wipe was wet, I didn’t feel any stickiness at all and waited to see what would happen overnight.

The pros: When I woke up the next morning, I was in shock that I had the “perfect” tan I was looking for. My skin did not look orange at all. Also, I was left with a subtle suntan lotion scent on my body, which I liked. Once you do get the hang of the application process, it goes by pretty fast—less than five minutes.

The cons: Application is somewhat difficult and you do have to keep practicing because the first time will not be perfect. I found that wherever you apply first is going to have the strongest pigment and it will show if you miss a spot.

Grade: A-

What are your favorite self-tanners? Let us know in the comments below!

Opening image by Laura Craffey.

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