Life has a tendency of getting in the way of all our best plans and goals. You may want the healthy glow of tanned skin but you can’t always make it to the beach to chill. Honestly, who can? Tanning beds or professional spray tans offer a more timely alternative but that’s still a time commitment a lot of us just can’t make. A self-tanner is the solution that most can appreciate as it requires the least initial time and upkeep time. And let’s not make light of the risk of skin cancer that is negated by protecting yourself in the shade.
Top 7 Self Tanner
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Important Features to Consider
A self-tanner should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a self-tanner for your skin:
- Natural, DHA or melanin bronzers. Natural bronzers will use natural plant and herbal ingredients to color the skin, like makeup and will last just a day or two, so you’ll need to apply frequently. DHA bronzers use DHA to react to the dead layer of skin and increase your skin’s darkness; the more DHA in the tanner, the darker bronze you’ll have. (Most tanners are DHA tanners.) They’ll typically last just under a week and the results are visible two to four hours after application. Melanin bronzers enhance the synthesis of melanin in your skin. Since melanin is the darker pigment in your skin, (and hair and eyes) promoting more production will give you a darker appearance. These are the lowest maintenance self-tanners.
- Tan extenders. This will very often be an additional feature of a lot of tanners because it will help prolong your tanning results. It essentially just boosts the moisture of your skin with a vitamin-enriched formula. It will keep the tanned skin from shedding as quickly. If you have a tanner with the extender, then you’ll still just apply as recommended but if you purchase a tan extender without the self-tanning feature, you’ll want to apply it daily or after any shower or bath.
- Moisturizers and lotions. Choosing a moisturizing tanner will be a great option if you want to have a fast, daily routine. The DHA content is significantly lower and perfect for daily use, allowing the tan to build over time. (This is also a great way to “fake” gradual tanning as if you had been beach-bound daily.) It’s an excellent choice for beginners or just those who don’t want to overthink it. Lotions will often include a tint so you’ll be able to catch if you’ve missed a spot right away.
- Towelettes. The part about towelettes you’ll love the best is that it’s almost impossible to over apply when using them. They’re a simple upkeep kind of application that is perfect to pack on any kind of vacation or road trip to maintain the glorious tan (even if it’s a sunless tan) you’ve built up. It will have the exact amount of tanner you’ll need and you won’t need to worry about the mess that tanners can sometimes cause.
- Sprays. With a spray that you apply to your own body, you’ll need to stay consistent in the application. You’ll need to apply it evenly and at about a 6″ distance from your skin. Because of this, it’s not for beginners or those with sloppy technique. You will likely want to hone your spray-tan skills, though. How else do you really plan on self-tanning your back? Even if you opt for a tanner with less precise application requirements, you may still be best off using this, also, at least for your hard to reach places.
- Mousses, gels, and serums. These are all tanners that require applications at a more experienced level. If you’ve been applying your own tanner for years, then this is an alternative that may feel better on your skin. You can put thin layers on your skin to make it a bit easier to coat evenly and build over time, but you will want to make sure your self-tan game is strong before you jump into this tanner. They usually won’t show how well you’ve blended before it is absorbed into the skin and an uneven streaky appearance is definitely not outside the realm of possibility.
What is self-tanner and how does it work? A self-tanner is a product that will darken the appearance of your skin without exposing you to the harmful UV rays of sunlight. It will very likely use dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to react to your skin cells on the surface and darken your skin. You can apply it in several different ways: Sprays and lotions are the most common, but you can also use a serum, mousse, gel, or towelette. Each has their perks and you may find what’s best for your skin isn’t what’s best for others and you may just need to experiment a bit to find your perfect fit.
How long does spray on tan last?
How long your self-tanner lasts depends on what type of tanner you use. Most are going to affect the skin it touches, and that means the tan will only go skin deep. You shed skin every day and not always evenly, so you’ll find no matter what your choice of sunless tanner, you’ll need to upkeep it on a regular basis and in order to do so, you’ll have to follow the instructions for that specific product. Sometimes you’ll need to upkeep it daily and other times you can push it for up to a week.