We all know getting a “natural” tan with the help of UV rays is a big no no. UVA and UVB rays cause premature aging but more importantly increases your risk of developing melanoma. The truth is the only heathy tan is a fake one. Check out these options for achieving a beautiful wash of colour, from semi-permanent to completely washable. But remember–gloriously bronzed skin via self-tanners or makeup is all well and good, but don’t forget you still need SPF to protect all that beauty!
Pros: Usually develops full colour within a few hours after one application. Some are tinted so you can see exactly where you put them.
Cons: If you’re new to self-tanner and don’t pre-exfoliate or apply evenly, you could give yourself a faux-woodgrain finish. Some require drying time, or the product will stain your clothes. And the chemical odour once it starts to react with skin can be overpowering.
Best for: You’re an experienced self-tanner user and need to look bronzed on short notice.
Tip: The day before applying self-tanner, exfoliate with an oil-based scrub in the shower to moisturize as you slough off dead skin, then moisturize again right out of the tub.
Best for face:
Mix three drops with your day and night cream for a radiant, sunkissed glow. Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, $32, sephora.ca.
Best for body:
This lightweight mousse that allows you to choose your tan, from a light glow to a deep dark tan depending how long you leaves it on before your rinse. One hour for light, two hours for medium and three hours for a deep bronzed glow. St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, $54, sephora.ca.
Best for legs:
This streak-free tinted gel shows you exactly where the product is applied which helps for an even application. After three hours rinse off and you’re left with a full caramel tint. Biotherm Gelée Auto-Bronzante Self-Tanner, $33, beautyboutique.ca.
Glowing Moisturizers/ Gradual Tanners
Pros: Develops full colour over a number of once-a-day applications. You can customize your colour to a point: one application may give you slight colour that you can maintain with every-other-day use, or you could apply more than once per day to deepen colour faster. Low levels of self-tanner lessens the risk of streaking, and for most body chemistries, also reduces or even eliminates the chemical odour.
Cons: Building rich colour takes a few days. A bit of streaking could still happen, so exfoliate every two weeks. And if your skin chemistry is acidic you’ll still smell faintly like self-tanner chemicals.
Best for: If you're not in a hurry for colour and can wait a few days for noticeable glow to develop.
Tips: Apply after you get home from work and wear it overnight. A quick shower in the morning and you’re chemical-scent-free for the day. If you’re fair and want deeper bronze, use a formula for fair skin until you’ve fully developed colour, then switch to a medium/dark formula to deepen and maintain.
Best budget buy:
Jergen's has been mastering this categories for years, full colour develops in just three days. Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer, $14, well.ca.
Best inshower option:
Water is typically the mortal enemy of self-tanners, however this in-shower formula is activated by wet skin lathers and glides on easily, you’re promised a streak-free glow in three minutes. The tan will develop gradually the more you use it. St. Tropez Tanning EssentialsIn Shower Gradual Tan, $35, sephora.ca.
Pros: Instant colour that disguises blotches and discolorations, and it washes off at the end of the day. Absolutely no chemical scent.
Cons: Don’t get caught in a downpour or pushed into the pool.
Best for: If you want the bronzed look in minutes, but only until your next shower. Also good for evening out patchy self-tanner applications.
Tips: Don't wear white.
Best for a matte finish:
For the most believable 12-hour tan choose a matte formula like this gel version that comes with a buff. Benefit Cosmetics
Hoola Zero Tanlines Allover Body Bronzer, $40, sephora.com.
Best for covering imperfections:
This formula is for face and body and it blurs imperfections and reflects light while giving you a golden glow. Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, $50, sephora.ca.