Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Best Self Tanners for Every Budget

Source: Sephora

As a naturally pale girl, I love me some self tanner. I started way back in the dawn of self-tanning products, when they were all smelly, streaky, and orange. But you do what you need do when you’ve got pale, reddy (a word I created to mean red and ruddy) skin that doesn’t tan. 

Self tanners have since come a long way, and I could not be more thrilled. I took to the tanning bed for years to get my glow, as self tanners were often just way too difficult to get right. However, I finally decided to give them another go. And I am so glad that I did. I have tried many, many brands. And I’ve got the goods on which self tanner is the very best, and which one I found remarkably disappointing.

Note: Self tanners yield different results for different people, depending on skin type. My skin is not dry, and it replenishes itself quickly. Consequently, I don’t need a lot of exfoliating. Some people need much more hydration and exfoliation to achieve the same results.



This self tanner has ‘natural’ in the name, and it is definitely not very dark or noticeable. It is a nice, golden color, absolutely. It applies very nicely and easily. It dries almost immediately, yet applies like a dream. That is a very tough balance for a self tanning product to achieve. Unfortunately, it’s just not dark enough for me. It also doesn’t last long on me at all, and I would need to reapply daily.

Pros 
Dries uber fast, but applies very evenly.
Pretty sparkle that makes your skin shine
Inexpensive

Cons
A bit of a self tanner scent, though it tries to mask it with a different scent.
Not dark enough
Not long-lasting
Note: I have also tried the lotion form and the airbrush spray form, and both results are quite similar. I love the spray for functionality and even faster drying time, but it is still not dark enough.


This is one of my favorites! It goes on tinted, which means that you can see the color distribution as you’re applying. I am a huge fan of tinted self tanners, and this one is outstanding. It applies easily, and dries fast. It is a noticeably darker color, but it still applies without streaks. The tan looks fabulous after one application.

Pros
High quality
Dries fast, applies easily
Very minimal scent
Dark color
Long Lasting

Cons 
Expensive



St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse

St.Tropez is a good self tanner, and it certainly does live up to the ‘anti-scent’ claim. It provides an even, medium color. This product is not as dark as I'd like, but the color is noticeable. It dries relatively fast, perhaps a minute or two longer than the two tanning products mentioned above. This leaves you with just a little extra time to make sure it is rubbed in evenly before it sets. St. Tropez's Mousse is tinted, which definitely makes application easier. It provides an instant light application of color, and darkens within a few hours.

Pros  
High quality
Even color
No scent
Long-lasting
Dries relatively fast

Cons
Expensive
Not very dark


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Lotion for Face 

This is my favorite tanning lotion for the face. It’s very light, but packs hydration and doesn’t clog pores. It provides dark (but natural) color on my face. It is long lasting, but with consistent washing and exfoliating, it tends to disappear a bit quicker.


Pros
High quality
Natural looking color
No scent
Dries relatively quickly
Long-lasting

Cons
Expensive


This self tanner was a huge disappointment. It is (by far) the most expensive self tanner on this list, and it performs (by far) the worst. I do not understand all the supposed awards it has received. It must work well for someone, but it definitely didn't for me. It lasts the least staying power of any self tanner I have mentioned. Vita Liberata claims to last 2-3 weeks, but it is more like a day or two at most. 

As far as shade goes, it is a very light dusting of color. It dries so fast, that I can barely rub it in. And because of this, I ended up with some blotches and streaks. For a tanner that costs upwards of $50, I would expect a much better product.

Pros
None


Rapid, or fast acting? Which is it? I laugh at the names some companies come up with for their products. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised by this mousse. Though keep in mind, after my last experience with Vita Liberata, my expectations were very low. 

I achieved a remarkably nice, dark tan with this mousse. It does dry quickly, so I need to work fast. It is completely worth it, however, because this product gives a rich, long-lasting color. You can achieve a lighter color by washing it off within an hour or two. I chose to just leave it on, and I achieved a beautiful dark color. I even got some compliments on my tan.

Pros
Long-lasting
Great color
Natural look

Cons 
Classic self tanner smell
Expensive




Again, I love the gels. I just love how they apply. They are easy, efficient, and provide a serious glow. However, the color is not as dark as I’d like. For some this may be a positive, as it is meant to be more of a natural color. And it certainly succeeds at that. Shiseido's formula is very long-lasting and overall great quality. It is on the expensive side, but is more affordable than St.Tropez and Lancôme.

Pros 
High quality
Quick, easy application
Dries quickly
Natural color

Cons 
Not dark enough
Expensive


Oh. My. Gawd. This is the best. It has black bronzers in the formula, which immediately add a very rich, deep color. The color further develops to a dark tan that lasts. This is the first self tanner that I have used, that actually mimics a dark tan you'd achieve by lying out in the sun.

It also lasts very well and fades evenly without blotches. The scent is barely noticeable. It dries fast, but gives me just enough time to rub it in. The best part? It is only $12 and is available at Sally Beauty. This is heaven in a bottle for me. In my opinion, it is absolutely the #1 self tanner out there.

Pros  
Excellent quality
Blends well
Absorbs quickly
Even color
Dark shade
Minimal Scent
Long-lasting
Inexpensive

Now that I've shared all of my favorite self tanning products, I'd love to hear all about yours! Sound off on all of your holy-grail or nightmare self tanners in the comments below.

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Miki Nyckel | Beauty Bartender

Miki is a cheerful, gracious, perfectly imperfect Mom of one pre-teen boy, and two pups. She enjoys law enforcement, fitness, and all things beauty. Her first career was as a cosmetician, being trained by several mainstays in the industry. Hailing from Canada, Miki brings a northern perspective to The Beauty Bar.
Twitter: @mys2theT | Instagram: @mykynyky

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