Photography by Alvaro Goveia
Get that golden glow, sans sun damage, in a flash with these all star self-tanners.
We all know the importance of practicing safe sun play and wouldn’t dream of stepping into a tanning bed or baking out by the pool while passing around the tanning oil like it was a bottle of rosé. That being said, the desire to have a little bit of colour on our skin is still there. But the fact is a “healthy looking tan” is still sun damage. It doesn't matter if you burn or not, sun exposure still damages your skin, leading to aging, wrinkles, sun spots, and more serious consequences such as cancer.
The simple answer to achieving a golden glow safely is with the help of self tanners. However, this is easier said than applied. It seems like no matter what brand or formula, we’ve all experienced the inevitable blotchiness or stains that come with sunless tanners. Which of course gives us a moment of pause when reaching for the bottle, spray or wipe. It’s true, self-tanners are finicky and require a bit of patience, some trial and error, and, most importantly, a really good formula.
Here are five formulas that are truly excellent—as long as you follow the instructions. Welcome to your new bronzed life!
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mist, $39, urbanoutfitters.com.
Spray & Glow
Have you hopped onto the face spray bandwagon? Some are straight thermal or mineral water sprays while the new-generation of sprays have water but also hydrating ingredients like essential oils, botanical extracts or glycerin. This face mist takes it one step further. The clear St. Tropez formula doubles as a cooling face mist that won't leave you looking streaky. It’s made with naturally derived DHA (a colourless chemical derived from glycerin that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown colour change) and green mandarin water and tropical hibiscus flower to hydrate skin. Leave it at your desk and spray a few times throughout the day to give your visage a natural glow.
James Read is an iconic spray tan artist to the stars—some of his regular clients include Rosie Huntington- Whiteley, Cara Delevigne, Mariah Carey and Ellie Goulding. After working for big brands such as L’Oreal, St. Tropez and Clarins he started his namesake tanning line six years ago and has continued to be an innovator in the faux glow category. His Coconut Melting Tanning Balm is one of those innovations that took some time to perfect because it’s the first ever oil-based tanner. Read says it makes the perfect tan base plus the smell is pleasant and natural. He added that it's perfect for people with dry patches and eczema because you don’t need to treat those areas before hand with a barrier cream. It's also easy to use. After mixing the product scoop from the tub and let the coconut oil and encapsulated DHA sink into your skin. Apply with a tanning mitt to safeguard hands from staining.
St. Tropez Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse, $54, thebay.com..
Pro Level Tan
Newbies and novices might want to sit this one out, or work their way up to St. Tropez's darkest mousse yet, Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse. Not because it’s harder to apply, more because the colour payoff is deep and dark, so any missteps would be more noticeable. One of our favourite aspects is the guide colour (i.e. bronzer that helps you see which spots you've covered) is that it goes on super-dark so you can see if you missed any areas. The actual tan develops over the next six to eight hours, at which point you can shower off to reveal a deep glow that lasts for days.
Charlotte Tilbury Overnight Bronze & Glow Mask, $65, charlottetilbury.com.
Sleep it On
A foolproof way to give your face some colour is with this overnight mask from Charlotte Tilbury. Not only do you wake up to a sun kissed glow but the formula is extremely nourishing thanks to blackcurrant seed oil and oat kernel extract which reduces redness while also hydrating skin. Your desired colour can be build-able based on how many nights you wear it consecutively. Once your find you desired colour maintain it by using the mask once a week.
Vita Liberata Invisi Foaming Tan Water, $49, theshopingchannel.com.
The newest launch from the popular Irish tanning company comes in a transparent formula that they call “Tan Water.” The formula of course contains DHA but is also full of organic botanicals, so it doesn’t just tan you but also delivers anti-aging and hydrating ingredients to your skin. Although this foam is a little tricker to apply because you have no guard colour it gives your zero risk of transfer while it develops (6ix to eight hours) and it is super-fast drying
Looking to get a professional looking tan? Read these step from Alyson Hogg, the CEO of luxury tanning brand, Vita LIberata.