Growing up, we baked ourselves like crispy chickens—all in the name of that golden glow. There we lay, coated in baby oil or dark tanning oil, hoping to get that coveted Saint Tropez tan. The darker the better, or so we thought. Tanning was an art form and the winners were the goddesses who emerged the bronzest. But not anymore.
Now we know that all of that sunning is dangerous to our health—never mind what sun damage can do to our looks. Still, we may brag that White is Alright, but secretly, we sometimes get the urge to shine like a copper-coloured, coconut-scented diamond. So what do we do?
We protect our skin with sunscreen then turn to the fake and fabulous. But which bronzers and self-tanners will work, and which will turn us orange? If you’re in the market for a tan that looks real, these are the products that deliver.
THE BRAZEN GUIDE TO THE BEST BRONZERS AND SELF TANNERS
THE BEST BRONZERS
If you ask us, the key to a good powdered bronzer is two-fold: a multi-coloured palette and a good brush.
Single-toned bronzers are harder to use and can go on heavy, although Benefit’s Hoola ($36), which is great for all skin tones, is a sure-fire winner.
Pro Tip: A light brushing of bronzer in your T-Zone and the apples of your cheeks will give you a touched by the sun look. A heavy hand will not achieve the desired effect and will instead leave you with blotches of product.
This is a natural bronzer that’s great for giving you that ‘Oh yes, I just got back from vacation’ look all year round. With delightful hints of golden bronze, delicate pink, white and fawn, it goes on naturally and is hard to over-apply. It’s as pretty on as it is to look at in the compact. A+ in our eyes!
Lise Watier Satellite Bronzing Powder We’ve fallen for Lise Watier bronzers. They’re always releasing limited editions, but we recommend a mainstay, the Satellite compact. Because it’s available in three palettes, you’ll definitely find one to suit your skin tone. This lovely paraben-free compact offers four shades of bronzing powder that can be blended together for a natural finish.
There’s nothing like throwing on a gorgeous summer dress only to look down and gasp at your white-white legs sticking out the bottom. If you don’t have time for a spray tan or a self-tan (say NO! to tanning beds), then this tinted leg mist will do the trick. It applies like a gel and will give your skin a subtle glow. You won’t see a big result, but it’s fast and easy and will get your through your beauty emergency.
Pro Tip: Wash your hands right away or else they’ll turn orange.
Self-tanners are tricky beasts. They can be hard to apply and you can end up streaky-looking or even worse, orange. But there are products that will give you what you’re looking for, i.e. more Beyonce and less Long Island tanning mom.
Pro Tip: Always exfoliate before self-tanning. That way, you’ll be painting an even palette. And apply a barrier ointment like vaseline to your your fingernails, toenails and cuticles to avoid discoloration.
This product combines pure mineral bronzing with a long-lasting tan. It’s from Vita Liberata, innovators in the tanning world that bring us odour-free, non-toxic, moisturizing and organic luxury tanning. This luxurious mineral powder is housed in a tub with shaker top to help control how much you use. And it goes on easily with the included Kabuki brush. Get an instantaneous medium glow while you wait for your self-tan to appear. We love it!
This product is a revelation. It’s a pain having to apply multiple face products before sleep (lazy, much?) so this self-tanner doubles as a serum, too. Brilliant, right? Lightweight and frangrance-free, it’s a gel that combines self-tan ingredients with skin beautifiers like aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid, and red algae. Moisturize, soothe, and get a streak-free glow—all while you sleep. And don’t worry, the product won’t leave any residue on your sheets. Available for body too ($64).
Great body self-tanners are hard to come by. Loving Tan’s bronzing mousse is one we’re happy to recommend. This easy-to-use mousse applies with a mitt to give you a natural looking bronzed glow within minutes, with no orange streaks in sight. Available in medium, dark, and ultra dark, it’s quick drying, and has a light and delicious fragrance. Also available in express 2hr tan.
Jergens Natural Glow Honourable mention goes to our mainstay, drugstore brand Jergens Natural Glow products, which combine moisturizers with self-tanners. The line offers a variety of shades for both face and body, as well as a firming self-tanner and tanning prep scrubs. While very reliable and well-priced, these products are not for the impatient as the colour can take up to a week to show.
Major drugstores, prices vary
PS: We’ve heard great things about Fake Bake Flawless Tanning, but haven’t tried it yet. Have you? Do us all a favour and share the scoop. How? Tweet us @brazenwoman and use #Brazenloves to share your top bronzers and self-tanners.
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