Do any of you remember Sudden Tan by Coppertone? Research shows it was the cosmetic industry's first attempt at self tanner. And a failed attempt it was...orange and streaky and so obviously fake! I think I could still name a few people that used it in high school!
So, natural sun it was for me my whole life...until I took my daughter, at age 5, to the dermatologist to get a suspicious looking mole checked out. The mole was not good and neither was the look the derm gave me about my skin. Many biopsies and scars later, I no longer seek the sun for anything other than a little warmth after a long MN winter.
Good thing self tanners have come a long way baby! Because, even though I know tan skin is 'damaged skin', I still love the look. I feel better when I have a little color, especially in my bike shorts in front of my class.
Since that fateful day at the dermatologist with Abby, I have tried so many self tanners I can't even begin to count them.
Instructors often ask me for tips on how to best apply self tanners and which ones I like best. I'll even include some that I think are awful :).
How to best apply self tanners:
1.Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate...everywhere, but especially elbows, knees and tops of feet where skin is ignored and tends to get rough. Otherwise, the self tanner tends to "gather" in these spots and get quite dark in comparison with other areas of our body.
2.I've found it helps to apply a small amount of lotion on each side of my ankles and on the tops of my feet down to my toes, so that the self tanner doesn't over-gather there.
3. I like to start with my arms and the tops of my hands. That way the self tanner can 'take' on the tops of my hands a bit before I wash them.
4. End with your legs and blend downward to your feet, trying not to add too much product toward your feet, as it will get dark there very quickly.
5. Wash your hands well, especially nail beds and in between fingers. Another place self tanner lingers is on the inside of wrists, so be sure to wash well there.
6. If you want to add additional self tanner to the top of your hands, a make up brush works very well. Just apply a small amount of self tanner to the brush and pop on your hand tops.
7. I like to apply self tanner at night, mostly because of the smell. Color develops in 3-4 hours. A shower in the morning and some moisturizer leaves a nice looking tan, and no smell.
Self Tanners I like:
-Alba Botanica: Alba smells decent, is super emollient and gives great color. I love the price too at $10.99.
-Quick Tan: probably my all time favorite. It actually smells good, the color is great and the spray bottle allows me to tan my back without calling John for assistance. My daughter, Carly, and I order 6 at a time from Amazon for a great price break.
-Lancome Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Body Gel: minimal smell, great color, no streaking. Do not get the Leg Gel though! The Leg Gel has a very pungent smell. It also seems to come off in water, even after drying and 'curing' for 3-4 hours.
-Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel: this is the very first self tanning product I used (long before I worked for them) and I still like it today. Minimal smell, no streaking and good color.
Self Tanners I 'kind of' like, especially for the price:
-Banana Boat, Neutrogena, L'Oreal, Olay, Aveeno, Coppertone, Dove- all seem to work medium well for me as far as the tan achieved. However, the biggest difference between the products I like and these is how my tan wears. With these products, my tan tends to gets scaly. With those above, it stays even until I re-apply 3-4 days later.
Products I haven't liked:
-Jergens Natural Glow. It smells bad, doesn't give great moisture, and my skin got a scaly look the next day.
-Ulta brand self tanner. I couldn't seem to ever get it to absorb, let alone blend. It stayed sticky and ended up very streaky. It also smells horrible.
-Victoria's Secret. Same problems as Ulta brand.
Why DO self tanners smell?
The ingredient responsible for turning the top layer of our skin 'tan' is DHA- dihydroxyacetone. It's a colorless sugar (often from sugar cane or beets, just like sugar in the store) that works with the amino acids in our skin. This very reaction is what smells. The masking fragrance can make this reaction smell better or worse!
Do you use a self tanner you love? Please let us know!
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