As a very fair person that self tans weekly, I am very critical of self tanners. I also hate the process of physically self tanning so I need products that are quick and easy to apply that also do what they claim. There is nothing worse than waking up splotchy or orange. Trust me, I’ve been there plenty of times. But hey! All in the name of research.
Here are a few questions I ask myself when reviewing self tanners:
- How dark are they?
- Do they do what they claim?
- Did they make the process/my life easier?
- How dark is the color guard? (A color guard is color that’s put into the self tanner so that you can see where you’ve applied it. It washes away in the shower, and is what gives you the instant color.)
- Is it worth the price?
- How long does it last?
- How does it fade?
I have a whole blog post dedicated to how to apply self tanner. You can check it out here.
Disclaimer: I really don’t like to talk bad about products or brands, but I am always honest in my reviews. Just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. If I don’t give a product a great review, it also doesn’t mean that I don’t like that brand and don’t love other products from them.
Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil – $38
I liked the idea of a self tanning oil because it sounded hydrating. I also heard another bloggers mentioning it, so I decided to give it a try. This claims to be a quick-absorbing, hydrating oil that develops to a medium tan and lasts.
- Not a bad price
- It has Sephora’s Clean seal
- My skin felt slightly softer
- The scent (Vanilla Apricot) is so horrible and strong that the first time I tried it I literally had to jump back into the shower because it was giving me a headache.
- In an effort to give this a fair review, I forced myself to try it a second time and only applied to my legs. Even though it claim to only give you a medium, I was disappointed in the lack of color pay off. This would only work for someone who is very fair and only wanted a light coverage.
- The mitt is very difficult to work with. The inside liner is plastic to protect your hands, but it’s not connected to the outside fabric so your hand slips around making it extremely difficult to ensure an even application.
- The color guard isn’t dark enough. If you are a light-medium skin tone or darker, it’s going to be difficult for you to see the product you’re applying. I couldn’t tell the areas that I had already gone over.
- It’s messy! It’s more of a straight liquid than oil. It was flinging all over my bathroom.
Final Thoughts: I would rather be pale AF then deal with the hassle of trying to make this work for such little pay off. Oh, and I will never unsmell this scent. Pass!
St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse –$42
This is a cult favorite, and one of the first higher end self tanners I’ve ever tried.
- Mousse formula
- Not orange
- Good for a beginner
- The color guard is good
- You can easily pick it up at Sephora or Ulta
- It’s not dark enough. They did come out with a darker version, however it turned me green instead of an olive skin tone, so I definitely don’t recommend that one.
- It doesn’t come with a mitt
Final Thoughts: This is a really good self tanner, and I would recommend it for a beginner, but I would purchase others before this.
Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse & Tanning Mitt Duo in Dark – $54
When I heard this claimed to last for 2-3 weeks, I was obviously very skeptical, but needed to try it for myself because if this really did last that long then this would be the HG of tanners.
- It dries quick (This wouldn’t be good for those that aren’t used to self tanning and don’t work quickly)
- No smell
- Natural tan
- It comes with a mitt
- Not streaky
- It faded nicely
- You can get it from Sephora
- It has the Sephora Clean seal
- The mitt is nothing to get jazzed about. I’m glad it came with one just-in-case, but I thought the edges were actually scratchy, and I ended up switching gloves midway through
- I actually found the complete opposite to be true when it came to the staying power of this. It lasted 2-3 day MAX until it was completely gone. I even thought okay, if I apply it again it might say for two weeks. WRONG. I went through the bottle so quickly trying to get a tan, and again, it’s not cheap!
- The dark isn’t dark. I would say it’s more of a medium.
Final Thoughts: I am personally offended at the claims that this last 2-3 weeks. The tanner itself isn’t bad, but I wouldn’t purchase this again.
Loving Tan 2 HR Express Self Tanning Mousse in Dark – $39.95
I’ve talked about this many times and shown you before and afters.
- It develops in 2 hours vs. 8, which means I can throw this on while I’m getting ready for a night out, and by the time I go out I’m a bronze goddess.
- The color is a true tan color. Not orange. Not green. You will be straight up tan.
- They often have codes for free application or removing mitts
- You can get it at Ulta
- Good price
- No bad smell
- It stays pretty long
- If you don’t exfoliate before and moisturize during, it might turn splotchy.
- It’s can be hard to remove
- Because it’s so pigmented, if you miss a spot, you will notice it
Final Thoughts: I love this self tanner. I will continue to repurchase as long as I live.
SOSU by Suzanne Jackson Dripping Gold Luxury Tanning Mousse Ultra Dark – $30
I heard about this self tanner from a fellow beauty blogger, who has the same self tanning standard as me, and bought it before she was even done talking about it.
- This will make you HELLA DARK. Like if you want to be tan, this is what you want. They are not playing. I want to try some of the lighter shade to see the difference.
- It actually smells good, kinda like men’s cologne. My sister even noticed how good it smelled when she was helping me apply it on my back.
- It lasts a longgg time
- Not splotchy
- Dries fast
- It’s hard to find. You have to search for it online, and it feels like you’re buying from a sketchy site.
- Shipping took so long I actually forgot I ordered it
- Doesn’t come with a mitt
Final Thoughts: I honestly never thought I would like a self tanner more than Loving Tan, but this one has it beat. It looks like I will just have to order it in bulk.
Hope that helps! Feel free to drop a question before or request a product for me to try.