The Best Self-Tanners For A Faux Glow, Based On Extensive Testing


Self-tanners have become increasingly popular in recent years as more people seek to achieve a natural-looking tan without exposing their skin to harmful sun rays. These products offer a safe and convenient alternative that allows you to enjoy a beautiful faux glow all year round.

The popularity of self-tanning products has skyrocketed in recent years due to their convenience and effectiveness. People are now able to achieve a sun-kissed look without spending hours lounging under the sun or visiting tanning salons. With self-tanners, you have complete control over the level of tan you desire and can easily maintain it throughout the year.

The Challenge of Finding the Right Self-Tanner

Finding the right self-tanner can be a daunting task, as there are numerous options available on the market. That’s why we have conducted extensive testing to identify the top self-tanners that deliver exceptional results. In this article, we will reveal our findings and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

How Self-Tanners Work

Self-tanners work by using ingredients that interact with the top layer of your skin to create a temporary tan. They contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids in your skin to produce a brown pigment called melanoidin. This pigment gives your skin a tan appearance without the need for exposure to UV rays.

The Importance of Choosing Quality Self-Tanners

However, not all self-tanners are created equal. Some may leave you with an unnatural orange hue or streaky application, while others may have an unpleasant odor or cause skin irritations. That’s why it’s crucial to find a high-quality self-tanner that suits your preferences and delivers flawless results.

In this article, we have meticulously tested various self-tanners to uncover the best options available. Our testing criteria included factors such as application ease, color accuracy, development time, longevity, and overall performance. We have also taken into consideration user reviews and expert recommendations to ensure our selection truly represents the best of the best.

The Best Self-Tanners Based on Extensive Testing

Chris Loves Julia conducted an extensive self-tanner test, evaluating 7 different self-tanners to determine the best ones for achieving a natural-looking tan. The testing criteria included factors such as application, color development, and overall effectiveness.

The following self-tanners were included in the test:

  1. Coco & Eve (dark)
  2. Loving Tan (reddish brown)
  3. St. Tropez (orange undertones)
  4. Lux Unfiltered (comparable to Coco & Eve but less green)
  5. Filter by Molly Mae (yellow undertones)
  6. Red Aspen (develops into warm tan)
  7. Bondi Sands (practically identical to Coco & Eve, fraction of cost)

Each self-tanner was meticulously tested, and the results revealed valuable insights into their key features, application tips, and color development speed.

Key Features and Application Tips

  • Coco & Eve: Known for its deep, dark shade and ease of application. It provides a luxurious tropical scent and is enriched with raw virgin coconuts.
  • Loving Tan: Offers a natural olive color with a smooth, streak-free application. It’s designed to adapt to all skin tones.
  • St. Tropez: Provides a natural-looking tan with no self-tan smell and an even fade.
  • Lux Unfiltered: Similar to Coco & Eve but with less green undertones, it offers a rich bronze tone with a quick-drying formula.
  • Filter by Molly Mae: Known for its yellow undertones that complement any skin tone, it provides a long-lasting tan with an easy-to-apply mousse formula.
  • Red Aspen: Develops into a warm tan while nourishing the skin with its hydrating ingredients.
  • Bondi Sands: Offers a similar effect to Coco & Eve at a fraction of the cost, providing a deep tan and long-lasting results.

Comparison of Application Colors and Overnight Development

The application colors of these self-tanners varied, offering options ranging from dark and deep to more natural and olive-toned tans. Additionally, their overnight development speed was compared to assess how quickly they delivered the desired tan results.

By carefully analyzing each self-tanner based on these criteria, valuable insights were gained into their individual performance and suitability for different skin types and preferences.

2. Tanning Regimen and Preparation Techniques

Before applying self-tanners, it’s important to establish a tanning regimen and follow proper preparation techniques to ensure a smooth and even application. Here are some essential steps to incorporate into your routine:

Exfoliation: A Crucial Step Before Applying Self-Tanners

Exfoliation plays a vital role in achieving an even and long-lasting tan. By removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores, you create a smooth canvas for the self-tanner to adhere to. Here are some exfoliation tips to keep in mind:

  • Timing: Exfoliate your skin 24 hours before applying self-tanner. This allows any redness or sensitivity caused by exfoliation to subside before the application.
  • Method: Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt to slough off dead skin cells. Focus on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles.
  • Circular Motion: Massage the exfoliator onto your skin in circular motions. This helps to improve circulation and stimulate cell turnover.
  • Avoid Oil-Based Products: Steer clear of oil-based exfoliators as they can create a barrier on your skin, preventing the self-tanner from properly absorbing.

Moisturization Tips for Smooth and Even Tan Application

Proper moisturization is key to achieving a flawless tan that lasts longer. Well-hydrated skin allows the self-tanner to glide on smoothly and evenly. Follow these moisturization tips:

  • Hydrate from Within: Drink plenty of water leading up to your tanning session. Hydrated skin will absorb the self-tanner more evenly.
  • Pre-Tan Moisturizer: Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer all over your body before applying self-tanner. This helps prevent patchiness and streaks.
  • Dry Areas: Pay extra attention to dry areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles. Apply a thicker moisturizer or a hydrating serum to these areas to ensure an even tan.
  • Wait for Absorption: Allow your moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin before applying self-tanner. This ensures that the tanner won’t be diluted or streaked by the moisturizer.

Other Pre-Tanning Rituals to Consider: pH Balancing, Hair Removal

In addition to exfoliation and moisturization, there are a few other pre-tanning rituals that can enhance your self-tanning experience:

  • pH Balancing: Consider using a pH-balancing product before applying self-tanner. These products help balance the skin’s natural pH level, creating an optimal environment for the self-tanner to develop.
  • Hair Removal: If you prefer to remove unwanted body hair before tanning, do so at least 24 hours prior to application. This allows any potential irritation or redness from hair removal to subside.

Remember, taking the time to properly prepare your skin before applying self-tanner will significantly improve the quality and longevity of your tan. Incorporate these techniques into your tanning regimen for best results. Additionally, you may also want to check out these [spray tan tips](

3. Tan Maintenance and Longevity Strategies

Taking care of your self-tan doesn’t end after application. To ensure your faux glow lasts as long as possible, it’s essential to follow proper maintenance and longevity strategies. Here are some key tips to help you maintain and preserve your tan:

Hydration: The Key to Prolonging Your Self-Tan

One of the most important factors in maintaining a long-lasting tan is keeping your skin hydrated. Dry skin tends to shed more quickly, which can cause your self-tan to fade faster. To keep your skin moisturized:

  • Moisturize daily: Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer after every shower or bath. Look for products specifically formulated for use with self-tanners, as they won’t interfere with the color or development of your tan.
  • Use a gradual tanning lotion: Consider using a gradual tanning lotion in between self-tanning sessions. These lotions provide a subtle boost of color while also hydrating the skin.

Gentle Cleansing and Patting Dry: Preserving the Color

When it comes to washing your body and drying off after showering, taking gentle steps can help preserve the color of your self-tan. Follow these tips:

  • Choose a mild cleanser: Opt for a pH-balanced, sulfate-free cleanser that is gentle on the skin. Harsh soaps or cleansers can strip away the color and cause your tan to fade more quickly. Research shows that maintaining the skin’s natural pH balance is beneficial for its overall health.
  • Avoid exfoliating scrubs: While exfoliation before self-tanning is crucial, using exfoliating scrubs afterward can accelerate the fading process. Instead, opt for a gentle washcloth or loofah to cleanse your skin.
  • Pat dry instead of rubbing: After showering, pat your skin dry with a towel instead of vigorously rubbing it. Rubbing can cause friction and result in patchy, uneven fading.

Avoiding Activities That Can Cause Uneven Fading

Certain activities or habits can cause your self-tan to fade unevenly or more quickly. To extend the life of your tan and maintain an even glow, take note of the following:

  • Avoid prolonged water exposure: Excessive time spent in the pool, hot tub, or bath can cause your self-tan to fade faster. Consider minimizing your water exposure or wearing waterproof sunscreen to protect your tan.
  • Be cautious with exfoliation: While regular exfoliation is essential for maintaining smooth skin, excessive exfoliation can lead to faster fading of your self-tan. Opt for gentle exfoliation methods and avoid harsh scrubbing.
  • Avoid products with alcohol: Skincare products containing alcohol can strip away the color of your self-tan. Check the ingredient labels of your lotions, cleansers, and body washes to ensure they are alcohol-free. This anti-aging skincare routine guide also suggests avoiding alcohol-based products for overall skin health.

Remember, individual results may vary depending on your skin type and the specific self-tanner you use. It’s always a good idea to follow

4. Addressing Common Concerns about Self-Tanners

Self-tanning products have become incredibly popular, but there are some common concerns and misunderstandings about them. In this section, we’ll tackle these issues head-on to give you a better understanding and help you make smarter choices.

Are Self-Tanners Safe to Use?

One of the biggest worries people have about self-tanners is whether or not they’re safe. Most self-tanners use an active ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that reacts with the top layer of your skin to create a tan-like color. Extensive research by organizations like the FDA and the European Commission has determined that DHA is safe to use on your skin. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and avoid getting self-tanner in your mouth, eyes, or nose.

Potential Skin Reactions and How to Avoid Them

Different people can have different reactions to self-tanners. Some individuals might experience allergies or irritation, especially if they have sensitive skin. To minimize the risk of any negative reactions, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Perform a patch test: Before applying self-tanner all over your body, try it out on a small area of skin first to see how your body reacts.
  2. Look for hypoallergenic options: Choose self-tanners that are specifically labeled as hypoallergenic or suitable for sensitive skin.
  3. Take it slow: Start with a light application of self-tanner and gradually build up the color if desired.

Preventing Self-Tanner Stains on Bedding and Clothing

One common worry with self-tanners is the possibility of staining your sheets or clothes. To avoid this situation, here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Timing is key: Apply self-tanner several hours before going to bed so that it has enough time to dry completely.
  2. Dress appropriately: Immediately after applying self-tanner, wear loose and dark-colored clothing to minimize the chance of any transfer.
  3. Protect your bedding: Use old sheets or place a towel on your bed to safeguard your linens until you wash off any excess color. Here are some effective ways to remove fake tan stains if they do occur.

The Truth About Fake Tan Odor

Another concern that often comes up when talking about self-tanners is the unpleasant smell they can have. While it’s true that some self-tanners used to have a strong odor, things have changed for the better. Nowadays, you can find self-tanners that are specifically labeled as “odorless” or “lightly scented.” These options significantly reduce the chances of any lingering fake tan smell. Additionally, making sure to exfoliate and moisturize your skin properly before applying self-tanner can also help minimize potential odors.

By addressing these common concerns, you’ll be able to confidently navigate the world of self-tanning products and achieve a natural-looking tan without unnecessary worry. For more information on DHA and its effect on the skin, you can refer to this article which provides in-depth


As we wrap up this article on the best self-tanners for a faux glow, it’s important to highlight the transformative power of these products. With extensive testing and research, we have carefully curated a list of self-tanners that will help you achieve a natural-looking tan without the harmful effects of sun exposure.

Here’s a summary of the key points discussed:

  • Try the recommended self-tanners: We encourage you to give these top self-tanners a try. Based on meticulous testing by Chris Loves Julia, our recommended products include Coco & Eve (dark) and Bondi Sands (practically identical to Coco & Eve but at a fraction of the cost). These self-tanners have been proven to deliver excellent results in terms of color, application, and overnight development speed.
  • Achieve a natural-looking tan: The goal of using self-tanners is to achieve a beautiful faux glow that looks natural. By following the application tips provided in this article, you can ensure an even and streak-free tan that rivals a sun-kissed complexion.
  • The future of self-tanning: As the popularity of self-tanning continues to rise, we can expect to see innovations and trends in this industry. Companies are constantly working on improving their formulas, creating new shades, and enhancing the overall user experience. Keep an eye out for these advancements as they can further enhance your self-tanning journey.

In conclusion, finding the best self-tanner is crucial when it comes to achieving a gorgeous faux glow. By selecting products that have been extensively tested and researched, you can ensure quality and effectiveness. Embrace the transformative power of high-quality self-tanners and enjoy a natural-looking tan without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays.

So go ahead, indulge in these recommended self-tanners and experience the confidence-boosting effects of a beautiful faux glow. Remember to follow the tanning regimen and preparation techniques discussed in this article for optimal results. With proper maintenance and longevity strategies, you can prolong the life of your tan and enjoy its beauty for longer.

The future of self-tanning products looks promising, with innovative formulas and trends on the horizon. Stay informed about new developments in the industry to always have access to the latest and greatest self-tanners.

Let these self-tanners be your secret weapon for achieving a stunning tan, no matter the season or occasion. Embrace the power of self-tanning and enjoy a radiant glow that will turn heads wherever you go.

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