Something that has hit me kind of hard post-college has been how little time out in the sun I have had this summer! I went to college in San Marcos and the campus had a river. So, needless to say, I spent A LOT of my college years out in the sun hanging out with friends! Probably all April – September I was hanging by the river or pool every week multiple times! For all my college readers – do NOT take college for granted.
So this time when April came along and I looked at my basically ghostly color I realized I had to do something! That’s where today’s post comes into play!
I’m going to start by saying I am a total self-tanning newbie. Prior to this post I had only ever tried that awful Jergen natural glow tanning lotion – word to the wise do not waste your money and purchase it. You will look so splotchy, and orange I promise you, and the smell is terrible.
Being a newbie, I had no idea what self-tanning products were good, and I was terrified to be orange and smell! After spending a few hours on Pinterest, I found 3 self-tanners I wanted to try out! It was my mission to get 3 products at around 3 different price points so I could give you guys all different options no matter your budget!
I used all products with the St Tropez tanning mitt – this is essential to get an even tan!
Jergens Instant Sun Mousse – Light
I had very low expectations for this product, and like I said above I had a bad experience with their tanning lotion. From what I read online mousses were the way to go, so I wanted to try a lower end one and give y’all my thoughts!
Wow, I was so pleasantly surprised with this product! There was no tanning smell during application, although I did notice the morning after I could smell the product just a little – BUT it was not strong like the lotion. It went on very easy, and evenly and did not turn me orange. Also, I loved that I could see the color go on almost instantly. This product is also very buildable, and you could easily put on two layers the night before (I put on two almost every application) a special event if you need it to work faster! I did purchase the lightest shade since I started out pretty pale but still had a very pretty tan color!
After using it for a week, I would totally recommend this to everyone and will definitely purchase again.
Price: $3.99 for 2 oz / $11.99 for 6 oz
St Tropez Natural Tanning Mousse
If you’ve ever looked into self-tanner you have probably heard of this brand or product! Almost everyone swears by the St Tropez tanning products – both their mousse and lotions! I knew I had to try this, and see what everyone was raving about!
Honestly, I liked Jergens over this product (which is a win for my wallet) but I still was very happy with it, and would purchase again!
With my first application, I already thought I had bought an old one, or that something was wrong. Y’all, the color is a greenish tint and I was convinced that I was going to wake up green. I asked a blogger friend about the greenish tint and she assured me it was normal of the product – s/o to you Lauren from Daily Dose of Charm! But, the smell is very fresh and clean which I appreciated.
The only reason I would choose Jergen’s over it, was it dries pretty quickly so you really have to work fast during the application. But on the positive side, it’s nice because you can put your clothes back on faster and you’re not just waiting around naked to dry.
Besides the color, and quick dry I was still very impressed and happy with the color! No gross orange tint, and the color actually appeared more prominent and quicker than Jergen’s!
Price: $18 for 1.69 oz / $32 for 4 oz / $42 for 8 oz
St. Moriz Fast Tanning Mousse
From what I found everyone swears by this product, and it is apparently a dupe for the St. Tropez.
Honestly, I hated this product… and felt like I was missing something since everyone loves it! It claims to be fast acting, and I did see those results but…. the directions tell you to leave on the product for a few hours and then WASH IT OFF? As I was showering I saw all of the product wash off, obviously.
I thought this was a little counter productive, but the directions say that you are washing off the excess product – which makes sense. But when I got out of the shower I was back to the exact same color I was prior.
I tried leaving on the product for longer each application, and still showering it off but never saw the results. I think this product is made more for fast tanning that isn’t going to last. Honestly, I was just confused by this product, and would not recommend.
Currently, it has been under my sink since trying it out, and I don’t picture myself ever using it again.
Price: $12.99 for 6.76 oz
VersaSpa Gradual Tan Face Lotion
In my opinion, gradual tanning is the best when it comes to your face. You would hate to wake up the next morning to find your face a completely different color.
I used the VersaSpa lotion every other day for about a week or two, and saw great results! I have sensitive skin, and I did not break out from this product! Also, there is no funky tanning smell, and it didn’t dry out my face! If you’re looking for a great face tanning product, I would highly recommend!
Make sure you wash your hands right after because it will stain!
Price: $35 for 2 oz
Tips for using self tanner / my tanning routine:
Prep your tan. I always start by exfoliating my whole body in the shower. I use either the Jergens Color Primer specifically for tanning or LUSH has great exfoliators! Exfoliating is key to getting an even tan because it’s going to scrub off all of your dry patches where the tanning product would otherwise build up.
Moisturize. Some people avoid moisturizing before tanning, but I have such dry skin that I cannot skip this step. I don’t know if it’s the right way, but I have to! Make sure you wait a few minutes so that your lotion is completely dry, or your tanning product is going to mix in with your lotion and look awful.
Castor oil. After moisturizing, I use castor oil (or any skin oil) on my wrists, elbows and ankles to help avoid any streaks. The added oil will help any tanning products blend, so you won’t have a line anywhere of where you stopped tanning. Do this while you’re still damp, to get optimal results! And again, make sure you let the oil dry before applying any product!
Use a mitt. After your prep work, now you’re ready to actually tan! Always use a tanning mitt. It will make tanning so much easier, and your hands aren’t going to get stained! Replace your mitt every month or so – it will start to come apart and your tanning product will soak through.
Bend your legs & neck. This is so important, and the tip you have to remember! Make sure you are bending your legs when you’re applying to your knees. If you keep your leg completely straight while tanning your leg, you aren’t going to get all of your knee. Do this for your neck too! Keep your neck tilted back while tanning it, so you get every crease. Tanning my neck is the hardest for me, but it’s the first sign of fake tanning when your neck looks kind of dirty.
Let it dry + wear black to bed. Let the product dry for about 10 minutes, or when you feel completely dry. It can get a bit annoying to stand in your bathroom naked for that long, but it’s just a step to tanning. I’ve never noticed that my self-tanner gets on my sheets but it usually transfer to my clothes (just a little) I have a designated t-shirt and shorts to wear to bed when I tan. It won’t permanently stain anything, but I always make sure I wear something I don’t really care about.
SHOP THE POST:
There are all of my tips on tanning and what products I do and do not recommend! I hope this was helpful to a few of you guys, and remember you can always pin any of my images to come back for future reference!