True story: I am pale (or shall I say ‘fair skinned’), and although I’ve definitely embraced my natural skin tone more than I used to, I still like to have a little glow, especially during the Spring and Summer months. Like any girl who has tried self-tanning at home, I have made countless (and I mean countless) mistakes and spent $$$ trying to find the perfect self-tanner for my skin type and tone. While I’m not convinced there is a perfect one (at least for my price range), I have found some pretty great ones, that give me the color I want without making me look super orange, glittery or break the bank.
Drum roll please….
Jergens Natural Glow
I love Jergens Natural Glow Daily tinted moisturizer because it’s pretty much fool-proof (even for natural disasters)! The general product itself is easy to apply, moisturizing (not drying like many self tanning products) and the color is subtle and build-able. The great thing about Jergens Natural Glow is that now they have a bunch of different varieties of the product including one with SPF and one specifically for your face (disclaimer: I don’t use the face lotion, I just use the regular lotion). I also really like the foam consistency that they have on the shelves – it’s just as easy to apply and feels super light on your skin.
I’d like to mention that if I haven’t applied any color in a long time, but I want to put on an actual self-tanner, I’ll usually use Jergens Natural Glow for two days, to kind of build a base, before I lay on a coat of actual self-tanner. I also use the Medium-Tan shade of Jergens, if anyone is wondering, which I know seems odd since I just told you that I am so pale. However, I just find that the Medium-Tan gives me great results… faster… if that makes any sense whatsoever.
I just started to use this Neutrogena Build-a-Tan self-tanner and I am kind of obsessed! It’s like a stronger version of Jergens – very easy to build, but a bit more color per coat. In many ways its a happy medium between a tinted moisturizer and full out self-tanner. I also think the smell is a lot better then some of the other tanners out there.
Runner Up(s): L’Oreal Sublime Glow and Bronze lotion. The Glow is pretty similar to Jergens, but it definitely has some shimmer in it – but it doesn’t bother me too, too much. The Bronze lotion is great because the lotion is actually bronze, so you can tell exactly where you applied it. This too has shimmer and the lotion is pretty drying (I’d put regular moisturizer on over it) and borders on being a bit sticky, but it is still a good option for a quick, easy tan!
* Start with clean skin, which means exfoliating in the shower. Since my skin is pretty sensitive, I don’t normally use an exfoliating scrub (too harsh). Instead, I usually use a bath brush, such as this, with regular body wash – I love this one right now (it smells amazing)!
* Try not to go too many shades darker than your natural skin tone – if you want to look natural that is (which I do). But then again, if the Jersey Shore look is your thang, by all means slather it on…
* It’s worth it to take an extra minute or two to make sure everything is rubbed in. Trust me.
* Make sure to coat your neck, hands, wrists, ankles, elbows and knees in regular lotion before applying tanner, so that the tanning lotion doesn’t gather there and make it super obvious that you are self-tanning.
* On that note, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying self-tanner.
* If you have any self-tanner mishaps Fashionista.com has some great tips for you!
To be quite honest, I don’t have the patience to do what I would call a ‘flawless tan’. This would include the tops of your hands, feet and your back. I actually never really worry about my back, which may be quite obvious to those walking behind me. But I can’t see it, so it doesn’t bother me. I also stick to my rule of just going a few shades darker, so I don’t think I look like Ross from Friends – at least I hope not…
If you are going to do some serious at home self-tanning, I would advise that you try a spray, like this one from L’Oreal, among other things. There are also some methods involving gloves, and using a paint sponges… which is a little too intense for me. I’m just going to put it out there and say that if I want that kind of level of perfection for my self-tan, I’ll probably head to a Salon. To those of you who have mastered the at-home flawless self-tanner application though – I salute you.
Remember, even if you are wearing self-tanner, apply sun screen out in the sun. Sun safety first! Bring. on. Summer.