Now, I'm usually all for loving your natural skin tone and not trying too hard to follow the beauty trend of always looking tan, but I do think that a nice golden bronze looks good for summer. I've tried a lot of different drugstore self-tanners in the past, and none seemed to really work that well. One exception that does a decent job is the Jergens® Natural Glow line of products. I bought the daily moisturizing lotion at Walmart and it wasn't all that expensive, I think it cost a little less than $10. I really liked that I could just use this in place of my regular daily moisturizing lotion and build a nice even tan without much effort. However, this stains more than I'd like and the lotion takes a fairly long time to dry. Overall, this is a pretty good everyday budget-friendly choice.
Last month I started looking for a better self-tanner that I could use to look glowing and healthy for my college graduation pictures. I searched on Amazon and found 2 professional grade self-tanners that I absolutely love! First, I bought Fake Bake® Flawless Self-tanning Liquid. The 6oz spray bottle came with a nice applicator mitt, which is awesome for getting a perfectly even application! To apply, you lightly spray your body or the mitt (I sprayed directly on my body so it wasted less and wasn't as messy) and then gently rub it in with the mitt to get an even application. I love that this dries the fastest and smells the best out of any self-tanner that I've tried so far, and it wasn't a whole lot more expensive than drugstore brands. I was able to get dressed almost immediately after applying it, and it hardly stained my bra and undies at all. The color turned out to be a nice light-medium golden tan.
It retails for about $25 if you buy directly from the company, but I got it for around $16 from Amazon. The only downside that I found was that it wasn't as dark as I wanted, and it faded in less than 2 days without daily reapplication. The company has darker shades though, so I may try a different shade or type once I run out of the Flawless.
The second self-tanner I tried was St. Moriz Self Tanning Mousse in the medium shade. St. Moriz is basically the drugstore version of St. Tropez, but it's only available in the U.K., so you have to order it online. Once again, I got mine from Amazon and paid about $5 for it, plus another $4 or so for shipping and handling. I love that this provides a great brown-bronze color and the mousse dries a lot faster than a lotion does. I used the medium shade and it's perfect for my skin tone; it should work for just about everyone unless you have incredibly fair skin to begin with. If you are super-fair skinned, choose a lighter shade to look more natural. I do want to eventually try the dark shade, but I'm hesitant because I am afraid it may look awful with my skin tone.
I used a self-tanner mitt to apply the foam because I think it helps provide more even coverage, but you have to be careful when applying this to avoid streaks. I was a little bit nervous at first because the color indicator makes your skin look almost like it's covered in dirt, but that rinses away and leaves a good bronze color the next time you shower. The biggest drawback to this is that it does need careful application to avoid streaks, but the color and price are amazing!
Hopefully this helps you choose the perfect self-tanner to look beach ready all summer! Also, I'll put up some real pics of what the Fake Bake and St. Moriz look like on once I get my camera working again.
*Disclaimer: Just FYI, I was not compensated in any way for this post. I bought and tried all of the above products with my own money, on my own volition, and liked them enough to share with my meager blog following : )