When I was younger I lived in a tanning bed. It was like a drug. Especially in the winter. There was nothing better than 6-8 minutes of pure warmth and happiness to snap me out of the awful bone chilling coldness. Plus, I’ve always loved the way I look when I am tan. In fact, I used to tan so often and get so dark that I actually looked like the little Mexican girl that I am! However, after a chain of unrelated events, I had a few skin spots cut off. After that, I realized I would never tan in a tanning bed again. So what’s a girl to do? I could get constant spray tans at $30 a session, or I could look into self tan products.

I know what you’re thinking – “Girl! Self tan products? You enjoy looking like an Oompa Loompa?” Luckily, self tan products have come a long way in the last few years. I promise! Not only are they less likely to turn you orange now, but there are also quick dry formulas too! Plus, there are even clear versions now, so you don’t have to worry about your clothes or sheets!


First up, we have my all time favorite self tan product – St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse ($44). As the name implies, this is a quick dry formula. Depending on your preferred level of darkness, you wash the product off after 1-3 hours. I really love the color the full 3 hours gives me. Plus the tinted foam makes it so easy to see any spots you might be missing. Honestly, there is nothing I don’t love about this product. Need more proof? I used this product on both my mom and myself the morning of my brother’s wedding. THE MORNING OF.


The second thing you need for a really great self tan is a tanning mitt. I recommend the St. Tropez Application Mitt ($6.50). I know it sounds really silly to buy a mitt just to put on your self tanner. However, I honestly believe it makes a huge difference. I’ve tried everything from washing my hands like crazy to barrier cream to gloves and the mitt is by far the easiest, cleanest, and most effective. Not only does it help apply your product, but it also holds a little bit of product making it super easy to buff out tough areas like knees, elbows, hands, fingers, feet, and toes without turning orange.


Next up we have a more modern self tan concept – the clear self tanners. Now this idea has really intrigued me for a while. Is it really possible for a self tan product to not ruin my all-too-expensive white bedding? Fearfully, I stepped out on a limb and tried the St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Water Mousse ($42). Surprisingly, it worked! I woke up the next morning with a nice little tan and no ruined bedding! However, I will say, the color wasn’t as dark as my favorite 3 hour tan. Plus, since it’s clear, it’s actually really hard to figure out if you’ve missed any spots. So I would not recommend this to a beginner.

Although all of the products I have mentioned so far are by St. Tropez, that’s really just a personal preference. I love the brand and the smell doesn’t bother me like some others. Plus, I’m not one to keep experimenting when I find something I really love that really works for me. It always ends up in disappointment. However, I have heard amazing things about the brand Vita Liberata and their quick tan products. What works for one person won’t work for all, so experiment until you discover what you like! Variety is the spice of life!


A couple of final self tan tips:

  • Exfoliate before you apply your self tan products.
  • Moisturize every day to help your tan last longer.
  • Lightly glide your mitt with remaining product over your ankles, elbows, hands, feet, fingers, and toes after you’re done with the rest of your application to ensure you don’t get too much color in those areas.
  • Rinse your mitt after application so it’s ready to reuse next time.
  • Wash your hands after application and pay attention to your wrists!
  • You don’t have to self tan your whole body – just touch up your legs if you want!
  • Feel confident in yourself and in your skills. Turn a little orange? Miss a spot? That’s ok! Learn from your mistakes and now you know what not to do next time!


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