Miriam has been a freelance writer since 2013. Born in Whittier, CA, she now lives in Ontario (California) with her husband and family.
Bake in the Sun or Self-Tan?
Summer Is Almost Here
Summer is right around the corner for most of us, but in California, the spring is just as good as the summer! You will want to get your legs tan if they are as white as mine, so your options are to go to the beach, sweat and suffer in your backyard, or go sunless with a good self-tanning product. Each method has its pros and cons, and we will consider that later.
What Should I Expect from a Self Tanner?
You should expect to gain a natural-looking tan that lasts anywhere from one day to three or four days. There are some self-tanning products that provide color instantly and are actually tinted lotions. Or, you can buy a self-tanner that goes on sheer and gradually builds up within a three-day time span. The gradual self-tanners seem to last the longest, while the tinted lotions are good for quick results.
You also want a product that goes on easily and provides great coverage without looking fake or splotchy.
What You Do Not Want in a Self-Tanner
Nobody goes out and buys a self-tanner to turn their skin orange! This is one good reason to find recommended products that others have tried and proven. If you decide to use one of the top five self-tanners mentioned here, you are off to a great start and can expect great results. The videos selected for this article have valuable information regarding best ways to apply the product for best results, and other sunless tanning tips, so please be sure to watch them.
Weighing Out the Benefits
The Pros & Cons of Self-Tanning
Maybe you are not sure if self-tanning is good for your skin or you think the sun provides a better tan. Maybe you need to consider the pros and cons of self-tanning to decide whether you want to try this method of tanning.
Listed below is a list of pros (good reasons to self-tan) and below that is the list of the cons (reasons not to self-tan).
The Pros of Using a Self-tanner:
- No need to lay in the hot sun
- No harsh UV rays to damage your skin
- Will not promote premature aging of the skin (wrinkles and fine lines)
- Will not cause skin cancer
- You may tan while you sleep
- Tan instantly
- Self-tanners provide a natural-looking tan
- Tan even with a super busy schedule
- Some self-tanners contain SPF to protect your skin
- Provides a more even tan than the sun
- May be done at home or anywhere, no spa appointment required
- Keep your tan glowing and healthy year-round
The Cons of Using a Self-tanner:
- DHA, key ingredient in self-tanners, may cause contact dermatitis
- Tan only lasts a few days
- May stain hands and fingernails; use gloves
- Some self-tanners do not contain SPF
- Fumes from self-tanners may be bad for you; apply in a ventilated room
#1 Fake Bake Flawless
- Includes a mitt for easy, streak-free application
- Includes a pair of gloves to protect your hands
- Includes a spray applicator to replace original screw-on cap
- Sprays on, dries fast
- Instant results
- Airbrushed appearance
- Lasts about three days
- Will not transfer color to clothes or sheets
#2 L'Oréal Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush
- Moderately priced
- Airbrush applicator provides full coverage
- Dries fast
- Golden tan in six hours
- For medium to dark tan
#3 Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer
- Available in most drugstores
- Gradual tan within three days
- Firms skin within seven days
- Not spotty or orange appearing
- Great for fair skin
- Pleasant scent
- Nourishes the skin
- Available in Fair to Medium and Medium to Tan
- Cult classic
#4 St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse
- Great for short-term events
- Pleasant scent
- Applies easily
- Dries fast
- For best results, apply with a mitt
- Natural-looking tan
- A self-tanner classic
#5 Dior Bronze Creme
- Applies easily
- Dries fast
- Provides a natural-looking tan
- Blends well with skin
- Last about three to four days
- May be used year-round
- Great for all skin types
How Self-Tanners Work
The Science of Sunless Tanning
Most self-tanning products use DHA (dihydroxyacetone) as the active ingredient for tanning the skin. When you apply your self-tanner, the DHA chemically reacts to "dye" the dead skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin. This gives you a tanned appearance. After a few days your dead cells are shed, and that is why your tan fades away within a few days.
For best results, always exfoliate before applying a self-tanner.
Featuring Fake Bake's Flawless
Featuring L'Oréal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush
How the Top 5 List Was Compiled
The top five products (listed above) competed in 12 self-tanner lists found on the Internet.
The first two selections (#1 & #2) appeared in 5 of the 12 lists and were ranked accordingly.
Selections #3 through #5 appeared in 4 of the 12 lists and were also rated according to their placement in these lists.
You can find the referenced lists below.
- 6 Drugstore Self-Tanners That Won't Turn You Orange | Byrdie
We're rounding up the seven best drugstore self-tanners. Keep reading to see which products made the cut.
The best new self-tanning products to try now.
- 14 Best Self Tanners 2017 - Top Sunless Tanners for Face & Body for Women & Men
Summer or not, there are times we still need to rock our favorite shorts, bathing suits and dresses. Here we have some of the best self and sunless tanners to help you add a little faux glow...since the days of laying out in the sun for hours are be
- 10 Self-Tanners That Will Give You a Natural-Looking Glow - Self Tanners 2017
If you've avoided self-tanners because of the weird chemical smell and fear of orange palms, help is here.
- 10 Under $20: Self-Tanners | Allure
The newest formulas--rich creams, fine mists, and towelettes--now produce believable color without streaks. And you don't need a gold card to get your bronze on--these ten at-home tanners deliver at drugstore prices.
- 11 Best Self Tanners for 2017 - Self Tanner Reviews
The best self-tanner won't leave you streaky or orange. Check out this list of the best self-tanners, then go get your faux glow on.
- 10 Best Drugstore Self-Tanners 2017 | Rank & Style
Get an affordable glow with the best drugstore self-tanners. See the 10 best drugstore self-tanners here.
- 8 Best Self Tanner Products 2017 - Reviews of Top Sunless Tanners
ELLE.com rounds up the best self tanners for the ultimate summer glow.
- The 10 Best Self Tanners For 2017!
Check out our updated ranking and reviews of the best self tanners for 2017. Expert reviews help you find the perfect self tanning product!
- 10 Best Self Tanners - Top Sunless Tanners for Face and Body
These new self-tanners make it easier than ever to get a natural-looking glow.
- 12 Best Self Tanners for 2017 - Self Tanning Lotions and Sprays
Tanning can be tedious, but don't swap sunny spots for heating beds. Check out these at-home faux-color applications for sun-kissed skin without the risky rays.
- 10 Best Self Tanners of 2017 - Streak-Free Sunless Tanners
Check out our favorite self-tanners to keep you glowing all summer long!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Miriam Parker