Faux Glowing: The Best Self Tanners at Every Price

Sunless tanning is a way of life. From the maintenance, like regular exfoliation, and of course, proper application. No sugar coating here, a lot can go wrong in the self tanning process. Everything from streaking and patchy spots to orange skin and burnt looking hands. It’s all of these factors that lead me to take great pride in my faux tan. In fact, most everyone mistakes it for the real thing. But I’ve got no interest in exposing my skin to actual sun – at least not without my SPF 30! Here’s my tips, tricks and product recommendations for achieving that perfect faux glow.

Best in Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads. I cannot say enough good things about these. I pretty much use these exclusively to tan my face. The color I get is natural looking and healthy, and it’s fragrance free. I love that it’s not only a sunless tanner, but skin care. It has anti-aging properties and encourages that much needed cell turnover. Oh, and it contains active Vitamin D. $32 for a box of 20 at Sephora.

Best in Longevity: TanTowel. I actually am not the hugest self-tanning towelette fan, believe it or not. I find that this is where streaking and blotching is most likely to occur. But I do like TanTowel, a lot. I get amazing colorwith these, and it seems to lasts longer than any other iteration of this style of product. I’d say I can get about 4-5 days out of this until it really starts to fade. And even then, I get a few more days of semi-tanned skin. The key here is apply in circular motions repeatedly to ensure you’re not missing a spot, and to open a new towel if it starts to dry out. I use about two TanTowels at a time, at night only. The citrus smell is lovely at application, but the self tanning smell does appear once the color develops. $27 for 10 applications, Ulta.

Best in Budget: Jergens Natural Glow Express. This gets our vote for best drugstore self-tanner. It transforms your skin shades darker in just three days (I was satisfied after just two!), and there’s two different versions based on skin tone, so no worries if you’re on the fair side. When I first used this earlier this spring, I was winter white and it worked magic. $8 at the drugstore.

Best in Natural: Josie Maran Argan Self Tanning Cream. Not only is this the first self-tanner to contain 100% organic Argan Oil, the natural formula is infused with caffeine molecules to wake up cells and tone the skin’s surface. It can be used head to toe, and is scent-free! The secret is DHA derived from sugar beets and sugar cane that work together with your skin’s proteins to create a natural-looking tan. $32 for 4oz., Josie Maran.

Best in Maintenance: St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Body. St. Tropez gets the gold star for its self-tanning products – it’s what they’re known for. I especially love the Everyday Gradual Tan lotion for maintenance. I use it as a body lotion post-shower (no tanning smell, at all – promise!) and it deepens and maintains the tan I’ve already built daily. I use the Light/Medium. $30 for 6.7 oz., Sephora.

Best in Temporary: MAC Skinsheen Leg Spray. There are times where a temporary tan is needed. When you’re wearing a skirt, shorts or just out for the night. I love MAC’s formula – it’s a hybrid mousse gel that looks so good on the gams. This offers a subtle sheen and evens everything out very nice. It can also be used on other areas on the body if needed. Once it dries, it stays until you wash it off. Your white clothing is safe. $26.50, MAC.

Any self-tanning tips and tricks to share? Or…any horror stories? We’re all friends here – dish!

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4 Responses to “Faux Glowing: The Best Self Tanners at Every Price”

  1. I love a great self tanner. I tried about three before I found one that worked for me. My challenge was that my complexion is already “tanned.” I am African American and have the same complexion as Halle Berry. The reason I was looking for a self tanner is because I was preparing for a photo shoot and wanted to hide some vericose veins and even out my compexion on my arms and legs. The tanner I use is SoBronze (Medium/Dark) at Ulta.

  2. marie says:

    I love your list. Just want to give a beware. Sevin Nyne is the worst self tanner I ‘ve ever tested! No matter how smooth the skin it is applied to it is a streaky mess! Lohan is involved with the brand and that is probably why she is always orange and streaky. An expensive product that is awful! My Fave is Aveeno- a very pretty tan, more brown than usual and feathers in beautifully at ankle, knee and hairline!

  3. Coffee says:

    I like your post. it’s benefit for me. Thanks.

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