If you’ve been following me on Instagram this summer, you know that I have gone absolutely crazy when it comes to trying out new self-tanners. Unfortunately, I am extremely pale and burn super easily so I just cannot tan naturally like a normal human being. I burn the moment I step out into the sun. On top of that, I also have an intense fear of skin cancer and the side effects of spending too much time in the sun so I always put on extra sunscreen if I’m going to be outside for long periods of time. I want my skin to always look healthy, but at the same time, I also love that bronzed look and envy those who have it. So I’ve spent this summer searching for the perfect self-tanner to give my skin that gorgeous tanned look that many women look for during these months.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many different tanning products I have tried out this summer. No joke. It’s horrible. I’ve tried lotions, foam tanners, spray tans. Drug store products as well as more high end ones. I feel like I’ve tried them all. I still have a whole basket at home full of products I’ve tried but haven’t finished yet. It’s insane. I’ve almost become obsessed with it. But thanks to being a human guinea pig for tanning products, I can now share some of my self-tanner hits and misses with you all!
HIT | ST. MORIZ SELF-TANNING MOUSSE AND MIST ($12.99 at Ulta)
This is kind of a two for one because I love this brand so much. I started off using the instant foam version and then purchased the spray version as well and I love them both. If I had to choose, I’d pick the spray over the foam, but that’s just my personal preference.
The number one thing I love about these products is that they don’t make you look orange. That was one of my biggest fears when trying out self-tanners. I didn’t want to look orange and fake. But this brand uses black undertones as opposed to orange so your tan looks more natural rather than leaving you looking orange. Not once have I had someone ask me if I was wearing a self-tanner and I’ve actually had many compliments on it as well.
Next, both of these products are instant! I’m super impatient when it comes to self-tanners so I always look for products that are instant (typically foams and some spray tanners). I don’t want it to take x hours to dry and develop. Plus it’s so much easier to correct on the spot if needed rather than finding out your tan is uneven hours later when you’re already out of the house.
In addition to being instant, both of these also go on evenly (or at least they have for me). I’ve read some reviews where people say these products don’t go on very evenly but I haven’t had that issue at all with either version. They have both always gone on very evenly and have a natural look to them after application. It’s very rare that I have any streaks so it doesn’t necessarily look like I tanned my body in my own bathroom.
Now before I get started on the cons, these do not apply to both versions of this brand. I will specify the difference between the two as I go…
The biggest issue I’ve had here is that it washes off in the shower. This also happens when you go swimming and even when you sweat which can be a super big pain in the butt. I really loved the product so rather than getting rid of it, I decided to look into why this was happening. After a ton of research, I discovered that there’s a certain layer of the tanner that washes away when you shower. I think it’s the undertones or something like that which then leaves you with the tan. I don’t have this issue as much with the spray version, but it still happens sometimes. Some days, my skin is still super dark and great looking and then other days, a little too much washes off. I haven’t quite figured out a way around this yet except to make sure you’re letting it dry completely before getting wet. So if needed, I’ll apply before bed and then do a quick rinse in the morning before going out for the day. That way it’s not transferring to clothing or melting away if I sweat.
Another problem I’ve had is that it transfers to lighter clothing and materials. This will happen with most foam and spray tanners, but it is still super frustrating sometimes. I typically wear all black or other dark colors while applying the product, but it still gets on my lighter colored clothing that I may wear later in the day. 9 times out of 10, it’s only on the inside and washes off instantly when I throw it in the wash, but this is still super annoying. I don’t want to have to constantly be worrying about whether or not my tanner is dying everything around me, brown. I don’t notice this as much with the spray version, but either way, you really just have to make sure you’re completely dry first before putting on any clothing. I tend to apply the product first and then let it dry as I do my hair and makeup.
Now regardless of the cons, the pros greatly outweigh the cons for me on this brand. I’ve found ways around the cons as well to make the products work better for me as well so they continue to be my top choices!
Overall rating: 8/10 for the St. Moriz Foam Tanner and 9/10 for the St. Moriz Spray Tanner
MISS | JERGENS NATURAL GLOW DAILY MOISTURIZER ($7.78 at Walmart)
This is an awesome gradual tanning lotion. I use it on my face almost daily and occasionally I’ll use it on the rest of my body as well. First off, it’s natural looking. This is very important when finding a great self-tanner because no one wants to look orange and fake afterwards. So I do like that it’s natural looking. It also goes on a bit more evenly than spray and foam tanners so you’re not left with streaks or uneven patches. Like other lotions, it contains important vitamins and minerals your skin needs to be happy and healthy so it keeps your skin super soft, smooth and moisturized.
At the same time, it’s very subtle. It gives you more of a ‘natural glow’ than a tan. Being that I’m super pale, I’m not needing something that glows. I’m needing a full-blown tan. So this really doesn’t work for those summer months when you’re wanting that dark, bronzed look. It also takes time to even notice a difference. Like I mentioned before, I want a tan that’s instant and this product takes days of use to notice anything. So you really have to plan ahead when using it. If you’re going away for spring break, then you might want to start using it a week in advance. And again, it’s not much of a difference color-wise anyways.
The last issue I have with this product is the scent. I really don’t feel like it’s horrible, but it’s not great so it kind of turns me off. I tend to try drowning it out with my favorite body spray so that it’s not so noticeable.
This product has a ton of great pros, but being that this product is considered a “self-tanner”, I’d say it really doesn’t do its job. I like it as a lotion, not as a tanner. For me, this is more of my go to wintertime product for those months when you don’t necessarily need a full, dark tan.
Overall rating: 5/10
HIT | ST. TROPEZ TANNING MOUSSE ($44 at Ulta)
I do not have an image of this product simply because I wasn’t thinking when I threw it out. I completely forgot to save the bottle for this post so I’m sorry for the lack of image here!
This product is very similar to the St. Moriz tanning products except it’s a little more high end and works a bit better than the others. I don’t want this review to be identical to my St. Moriz review, but these products really are very similar. For me, they have a lot of the same pros and cons. But what makes St. Tropez stand out is the quality. This product lasts longer and looks the most natural out of all the products I’ve tried this summer.
Like the St. Moriz and LA Tan products, St. Tropez uses black undertones rather than orange so you’re left with a natural looking tan. This one does come off looking a bit green, though when you first apply it and takes a little time to settle and look more brown. You can’t necessarily go out right away with the green color guard still in place. You’d have to let it dry for a few hours and then rinse off the color guard before leaving the house. So that’s a small issue if you’re crunched on time when getting ready in the morning.
This product also goes on very evenly when using a tanning mitt. I’ve never had any issues with streaks or anything like that so it’s easier to get that natural bronzed look. Like other tanning foams/mousses, this product does have a color guard which you will notice will wash off when first exposed to water or sweat. From all the research I’ve done, this is totally normal and okay! Sometimes it just means I’ll add a second layer to make the color stay darker longer.
Overall rating: 9/10
MISS | LA TAN LUXURY SUNLESS MOUSSE BLACK BRONZER ($9.97 at Walmart)
This was the first foam tanner I had tried and really loved it at first. Like the St. Moriz tanners, this one also uses black undertones so that you don’t have that orange, fake look like other self-tanners. This is what really turned me onto it. I applied it and instantly fell in love. It was instant, went on evenly and looked super natural once it was all dry. It left me with a super gorgeous tan…and then I showered…
It literally all washed off my body. Every. Single. Time. Which drove me NUTS. Hence why I switched to the St. Moriz tanners. I was determined to find a foam tanner that actually stayed put and worked the way I wanted to. But anyways, it all washed off. So I reapplied it once I got out of the shower, let it dry and then noticed later in the day that it was transferring to my tan leather seats in my Jeep (if you ever have this issue, carry leather car seat wipes! Works every time). It was super humid outside and being that it’s summer, I was wearing shorts. And the sweat created between my leg and the seat made the tanner transfer. I got out of the car and the back of my legs were completely white again and my tan seats where brown. I wasn’t happy at all.
Now on the bright side, I did like the scent of this product. It was kind of like a coconut scent so I didn’t mind it at all. Some tanners smell super horribles so I was pleasantly surprised with this one. But I can’t just use a product because I love the scent. It needs to actually work. So I switched to St. Moriz.
Overall rating: 6/10
What are your favorite sunless tanning products?