How to Get Tan While Staying Inside; Self-Tanner Reviews


As we enter the warmer seasons still stuck in quarantine, many of us are sad to not see our summer tan this year. For many of us, it doesn’t feel like summer without your summer glow. Since we’re still stuck inside and our bodies are craving sunlight (which, please be aware of your Vitamin D intake), experiment with some self tanners as a way to still get bronzed skin for the summer. I’ve experimented with a variety of self-tanners in the past, some good and some not so good. While my holy grail is from Bondi Sands, I wanted to give you a full run down of my experience.

Jergens Natural Glow

A very poplar self-tan option is Jergens Natural Glow. I am a fan of this self-tanner, although it does have its issues. Just to clarify, I use the lotion and I have used both the face and body lotion. I think this self-tanner is great for people with fair skin. The lotion is meant to be for daily use and the tan is gradual. If you’re using a mitt and blending properly, it will probably take you about three days until you see results.

I think a nice, dark tan is very possible to achieve from this lotion. However, I have a serious problem with patchiness. My tan looks great for the first day then it starts to get patchy. It starts applying unevenly and just straight up flaking off. This is understandable when you’ve been wearing a self-tanner for a week, but this tan doesn’t last long at all. Then I have to exfoliate completely and start fresh and the cycle begins again. It’s pretty annoying, but still, I do enjoy the color pay off. Another issue I have with this self-tanner is the smell. Because it’s a daily moisturizer, I feel like I always smell like DHA because I shower, and then immediately have to reapply it! The smell is not at all pleasant.

Rate: 6

Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion

This self-tanner has wonderful reviews and I was extremely excited to try it out. However, it did not at all work for me. I’ve read many reviews about the color of this self-tanner being very subtle, but when I used it, I completely turned orange. Along with this, the color streaked. Oh, and the smell is HORRENDOUS! I did not like this self-tanner one bit and am very surprised it’s such a popular choice.

Rate: 3

Neutrogena Micro-Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan

Unlike the Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion, I have read terrible reviews about this spray. Oddly enough, I don’t hate it. I mean, if anything I really didn’t notice much of a color pay off which was disappointing. But for me, that’s better than turning orange. The smell wasn’t bad either. I’ve definitely smelled a lot worse, and I found the fumes to be very subtle.

Rate: 4

Tanceuticals CC Self Tanning Body Lotion, Dark

Tanceuticals creates very nice self-tanners. I am a fan of this self-tanner because it doesn’t cause breakouts or anything which is very important to me since I have acne prone skin. I use the shade dark, but the color it gives me is definitely not dark which makes me wonder how the light shade works. Although I am very fair skinned, the color pay off is only subtle.

The smell of this self-tanner is also quite nice. It doesn’t smell like DHA at all. It actually smells like coconuts. My least favorite part about this self-tanner is probably how runny it is. Also, since the application is clear, it’s very difficult to tell where I missed a spot, resulting me in often, missing spots. This can be quite frustrating, along with the fact it’s only about a few days before the tan begins flaking off. Still, the smell is so good I have to give it bonus points.

Rate: 7

Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk

I like this moisturizer for every day use, but the color pay off really isn’t anything special. You need to religiously use this for at least a month before you see any pay off, which would be fine, if I didn’t run through bottles so quickly. It’s not the cheapest daily moisturizing self-tanner on the market, and I constantly find myself needing to repurchase, as it really takes several layers of this to get the color payoff I’m looking for. However, the smell isn’t terrible and it is a great product for moisturizing the skin.

Rate: 6

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam Ultra Dark

This, hands down, is the best self-tanner I’ve tried. While the daily lotion doesn’t provide the payoff I’m looking for, the ultra dark is exactly the shade I want. I apply this once a week, and it relatively lasts, although when showering, naturally it does begin to flake off after awhile. Still, when applying this, the green foam acts as a great guide allowing you to see where you’ve already applied the tanner, ensuring you don’t miss a spot.

Out of all the self-tanners I’ve tried, this is the only one I’ve used that doesn’t make me look streaky. It applies evenly, and I’d say, looks fairly natural. My only issue is sometimes, random areas don’t hold the color as well. For example, my armpit area and underneath of my upper arms often don’t seem to hold the tan, making it a dead giveaway I used a self-tanner. While I thought this problem was just a “me” problem, I have heard other girls having this same issue. I’m not sure the reasoning behind this, but it is strange. Regardless, it is the most “natural” self-tanner I’ve used.

I apply this at night before bed with a mitt and I wait awhile to allow the tanner to dry. I look absolutely crazy and muddy after the application, but when I wake up in the morning and wash it off, I’m left with a dark, natural glow. My main issue with this product is the smell. It does, absolutely have that self-tanner smell. Unfortunately, not all tanners are going to smell like coconuts.

Rate: 8/10

Self-tanners are usually trial and error, but hopefully these recommendations provide you with a little less error. Did your favorite self-tanner make the list?


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