“It’s spring or summer somewhere.” –Jimmy Buffet
Or something like that . . .
Summer is coming to a close, but I still wanted to share my two current favorites for self-tanning. I’m pale (by choice) and an avid user of high SPFs. The St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse and Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads add some healthy color, are easy to use, have a minimal odor, and fade evenly.
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
I love this self-tanner ($18 for 1.69 fl. oz.) for the body because of the smell. It’s the first one that genuinely has a minimal self-tanner odor. I’ve tried plenty that claimed to counteract the awful, weird smell that clings to your skin even after 4 showers, but the smell always eventually broke through. So I’m impressed that I only notice the smell while the tan is developing and maybe sometimes on the first day but sometimes not even then.
It applies with a bronzy color to guide your application. I apply this with my hands instead of the recommended mitt because lazy. While this does result in some staining immediately after application, just wash your hands thoroughly and then apply lots of hand lotion. When you wake up the next morning, your hands will be back to normal.
Expect: Up to 4 shades darker.
Peak Effect: First 4 days.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads
These pads (20 pads for $32) are an efficient and unmessy way to apply self-tanner to the face. They go on clear so it’s harder to know where you’ve applied it and where you need to blend it out more. But when I’ve used it, I’ve only had an issue with an unblended edge on the right side of my chest that I’ll chalk up to user error.
To use, I unfold the pad and apply it in a circular motion beginning from my forehead (overlapping with my hairline) and working my way down to my neck and chest.
One of the purported benefits of the pads is that it contains alpha and beta hydroxy acids to exfoliate, a real bonus since I otherwise avoid exfoliation after self-tanning. That means cutting out scrubs and my glycolic acid toner. However, any exfoliation from the pads is not very strong or noticeable.
I also notice that with any face self-tanner, the tan tends to fade out to a sallow yellow color so makeup is definitely needed to make your face color look natural. Interestingly, I’ve been using the AmorePacific cushion in 104 Tan Blush this month both before and after self-tanner and it’s sheer enough to match whether I’m closer to NC15-20 or NC25. (Granted, it’s a little tan for NC15 skin, but in the summer, it looks natural when my body is tanner than usual.)
Expect: Up to 2 shades darker.
Peak Effect: First two days.