The Ultimate Self Tanner Review

Summer is pretty much upon us and if there’s anything I love it’s a nice tan! While I do love a natural tan, I don’t love wrinkles or skin cancer. So while I’m slowly getting my tan on through my sunscreen, a fake tan is good enough for me. Since I’ve tried so many tanners I thought I would share my reviews on each.

So, in no particular order, here is every fake tanner I’ve used in the past two or three years.

  • St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse. If you want to look like you’ve gone on a tropical vacation pronto this is a great product. However, while it’s relatively streak free it transfers a ton. I’ve never had issues getting it out of clothes before, but sheets are another story. Although, to be fair, I just have issues with self tanner and my sheets in general. Another down side is that if you get wet it comes off pretty instantly. I used this self tanner before my graduation photos and when I got in the fountain (it’s a tradition at Elon) the bottom half of my legs were noticeably paler than the rest of me. On the plus side, this product gives you an instant tan when you put it on and gets darker over the next 8 hours AND it only costs $13. I’d give it a 6/10
  • St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse. One of the OG self tanners, I think this is a pretty solid product. It’s relatively easy to apply and gives a good color. However, I did have problems with streaking and I just didn’t love it—which for the price ($32) doesn’t exactly make it worth it for me. I’d give it a 6.5/10/
  • Loving Tan 2 HR Express Self Tanning Mousse. Honestly I absolutely love this product except for one flaw: it doesn’t fade very well. This product fades patchily and it’s super noticeable on my neck. It’s also pretty hard to scrub off to avoid the patchiness. This could be because I have dryer skin. I know a ton of bloggers use this product and look phenomenal. If you want to take a chance it really does give a gorgeous olive color that doesn’t look fake. I just don’t like paying $40 when I have to deal with a patchy neck. I’d still give this an 8/10 though.
  • Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Lotion. Along with St. Tropez, this is one of the first self tanning products I’ve used. I really liked it as a starting point, but ended not buying it again after Ulta sold me an expired bottle of it. That obviously isn’t the brand’s fault, but I just tend to buy my self tanner there. Again, I loved it when I first used it but now I probably wouldn’t go back to it because I like more of an instant tanning product versus a gradual one. But, if you’re looking to add a tan more slowly this could be the product for you! I’d give it an 7/10.
  • Tanologist Express Tan Water. This is actually a newer product for me and I had started with the mousse then accidentally bought the water version. The mousse was good, but I actually love the water more! This is a really easy to apply, affordable ($17) product that’s pretty streak free. To maintain the color I like I use it about one or two times a week. While I do think it applies easily, sometimes I do miss some spots and have a few white patches—usually around my feet, hands, and elbows—but that’s more to do with user error. I would give this a 9/10.
  • Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Butter. So this product can only be bought as a bundle with the face tanning drops, but it is SO WORTH IT. This is my absolute favorite self tanner I’ve used in awhile and what I’m currently using. I didn’t think I would like going back to a lotion (I’m so used to mousses and my tanning mitt) but I love this product. I actually enjoy the lotion aspect and I feel like it makes it easier for me to not miss spots. My only complaint is that since you have to wash your hands after using it, it’s hard to get the top of your hands looking perfectly tan. Otherwise that is amazing and I highly recommend it. I use it about twice a week right after I get out of the shower. The face drops are also amazing. I do tend to put body tanner on my face because I don’t break out that often, but having something made specially for faces puts me more at ease. Plus, it does a better job in general. I give this a 9.5/10. (If I figure out a solution for the hand dilemma, it’s getting a 10/10).
  • L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse. This is a really good product for those who are new to the self tanning world. I actually recommended this to one of my best friends who is pale, but wanted just a little tan for our graduation photos last year. It’s easy to apply, affordable, and smells good. The downside is that it only comes in a medium shade and it’s just not dark enough for me. The bottle recommends applying three times throughout the day for a darker shade, which does help, but I don’t have time to spend a whole day applying self tanner. For my personal needs I give it a 5/10, but I wouldn’t say don’t try it. If you’re paler this might be a 10/10 purchase for you. My friend actually really liked it.
  • L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes. So I haven’t actually really used these since my senior prom (5 years ago), but sometimes I find towels in my bathroom at home and use just one to add to my tan. I will say, I didn’t get a spray tan for prom and my tan looked really good. If you consistently use these for about a week, you’ll get a great bronzed color. The only problem is that it can be hard to get a streak free tan on your first try—it calls for a little practice. Once you have it down though, I definitely recommend. I also don’t love the smell, but it’s not that bad. Overall I’d say 6/10, mainly because I’m not patient!
  • Tanceuticals CC Self-Tanning Lotion. I heard a lot of great things about this product and I did like it. It has a color correct (CC) which helps get an even, streak free tan. I liked the color, the smell, and the application. What I didn’t like is that I used practically the entire bottle after four applications. I just don’t think it’s worth the price (just under $30) for the amount of product you get. But if you don’t mind spending that much, this is a really good product. I’d give it a 7.5/10.

Obviously I’m a bit of a self tanning addict, but I hope my vice is helpful for you! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products (or plan to) or if you have any other self tanner questions!



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Kimono: Amazon // Bikini top: Aerie // Bikini bottom: Aerie // Sandals: Tory Burch // Bracelet 1: Kendra Scott // Bracelet 2: Kendra Scott

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