I must admit I did my fair share of laying in the beds of tanning salons over my lifetime. I know, I know – horrible for you. To be honest I cringe at the fact that I used them for so long. Your skin and your health are too valuable to be utilizing this method of getting color on your cheeks, both sets. “So what do I do instead, Amanda?” I’ll get to that.
I have naturally very pale skin. I’m talking vampire status here people. So it has been hard to find a product that didn’t leave me looking like an orange zebra. I basically have been using myself as a bit of a science project over the past few years on the hunt for the perfect sunless tanner. Let me tell you that you’re all in luck. I have made the mistakes and used all of the wrong products for you to bring you my favorite five sunless products. I have found a good mix of products that can: last one night, gradually build color, or show up immediately.
Sally Hansen – Airbrush Legs – ($12.99)
This is a product that provides great color and coverage for one night. The only drawback is that it is for your legs only. It is classified as makeup for your legs and it truly is just that. It not only provides you great even color, but covers up bruises and little imperfections you may have on your legs too. I have used this product countless times when we are just about to head out the door and feel my legs look colorless. It is very simple to apply. You spray the product to your leg and then blend it in with your hand. It is no fuss. It is also easy to see where you have applied and where you need to blend a little more. The one suggestion I have it to either apply this while standing on a dark towel or in the shower to avoid it getting all over your floor. It is an aerosol and has some overspray. I have even applied this in the garage while standing on cardboard to avoid clean up – don’t judge me. It is very quick drying and stays put all night – no rub off or transfer. What is truly great is you can wash this product off with soap and water at the end of the night. It comes in six shades and can be found at most drugstores, like Rite Aide and CVS. Ulta carries it as well.
Hot Tan – Instant Cosmetic Bronzer – ($9.99)
This is another product I found and love that lasts only one night. The added benefit of this product, over Airbrush Legs, is it is designed for your face and entire body. It is so simple to use. You apply it as you would a lotion to any body part(s) that you want to add color. It is instant color too. You don’t have to wait for it to develop. You can see exactly where you have applied it. It is super quick and easy. I will suggest that you apply while wearing latex gloves or wash your hands immediately with soap and water. I have found that it is a product that can be difficult to wash off your hands. My suggestion is apply the product to half of your body, stop and wash your hands, then apply to the other half. This bronzer also washes off with soap and water at the end of the night if you chose, or you can leave it on. I have left it on prior to bed before, again don’t judge, and it didn’t wear off on my bedding at all. I have been able to find this product at Ulta in store, when I searched online today it was not available. I was able to find it for you on Amazon and attached the link above.
St Tropez – Gradual Tan Firming – ($21)
Let’s move on to the gradual products. Now, this is where I have spent most of my time researching. I have used countless gradual lotions over the years. I’ll be honest there are a lot of undesirable products out there in this genre of sunless tanners. I have found so many that leave you orange and streaky that you end up wearing pants and long sleeves when it’s 90 degrees outside. Not fun. The St Tropez line of products is one of my favorites. I have really taken a liking to this one in particular. You can apply this product daily. I always suggest applying after you shower and letting it dry while you do your hair or makeup. This product does take awhile to dry. It can feel a little tacky after application. So make sure you have about 10-15 minutes to allow it to dry before you need to get dressed. It is not an instant color like with other products, I found that by day two I noticed more of “tan” look to my skin. As the days go on you will notice the color building. It is a nice color once it builds, it is definitely one of the more natural looking products I have tested. I honestly recommend all of the St Tropez sunless products, not just this one. They smell great and look wonderful.
L’Oreal – Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer – ($10.99)
I admit I was a little hesitant to even try this product. I thought, oh here we go again, an inexpensive sunless tanner that will leave me looking awful. I was pleasantly surprised and proven wrong by this product. Hopefully, my boyfriend doesn’t read this far into this post to find out I admit I can be wrong. Back to the product! What’s great about this is it gives you the instant color you need, but also gradually builds as you continue to use it. It also has a great shimmer to it, which I happen to love. Who doesn’t love to sparkle!?!?! I would have to agree with the recommendations on the bottle. Use daily until you find the level of color that you love and then apply once or twice per week to maintain. I will go every other day when I am on maintenance mode. It is also a quicker drying sunless lotion that is not tacky. I will let it dry for at least 5 minutes just to be safe and to avoid any transfer to my clothing. This is a great price point that can be found at most drugstores. I linked you to L’Oreal above.
NKD Skin – Tinted Tan Mousse – ($8)
Hello!! Let’s talk about my final and favorite product on the planet right now!!! Hands down one of the best sunless tanning products ever made. I am currently using this product on my legs. I tried on my new overly distressed jeans the other week and caught a glimpse of my legs that were showing through. Um, hell no, I cannot be that pale. Yes. I. Was. So, I grabbed this out of my cabinet full of beauty products and gave it a try. I had bought this a month or two back and just never got around to trying it. It is fantastic people!!! You will need a sunless tanning mitt to apply. I use the St. Tropez applicator mitt. What is great about this product is that it is tinted so you can see exactly where you have applied it. The tint gives you instant color and it also will gradually get darker over the next few hours. I suggest applying from the feet up, this way you avoid the areas you already applied as you go. It is extremely fast drying as well, so you will want to move quickly when blending it in. I applied this product daily for the first three days and have been applying every other day after. Current leg situation below, please ignore the major bruise I’ve got going on!