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Aside from the obvious facts that self-tanning is an excellent way to dodge the sun’s aging and cancer-causing effects, if you’re loyal to DIY bronzing, you know that it also offers a slew of off-label uses, from concealing bruises and scars and even creating a subtle contour (beginners shouldn’t attempt this though). Unfortunately, finding natural self-tanners that won’t leave your body and skin looking like a certain president or character from “Willy Wonka” isn’t exactly a fool-proof feat. Not only is a tangerine-tinged tone a potential risk when it comes to UV-free bronzing, but there’s also the potential for streaking, stained hands, ankles and feet, and the lingering B.O.-like odor that’s more or less synonymous with this particular beauty product.
And, if you have a fair skin tone, the probability of winding up with a super obvious orange effect increases exponentially. Instead of the gilded, post-beach-day glow, you were after, you wound up with an unsightly orange hue that looks as though you’ve returned from a botched science experiment rather than a tropical vacation. Regardless of your skin tone, the chance of screwing up self-tanner is real and the apprehension to try it at home is 100% understandable. I for one happened to have a bit of a self-tanning addiction myself — without any skills on how to apply the stuff correctly — which often leads me to drop the big bucks on a Versa or Mystic Tan.
Sadly, this habit is simply not financially sustainable, so I went on the hunt for some customer-approved formulas that have earned customers’ seal of approvals for delivering an even and natural-looking result time after time. I’ve rounded up some of the best self-tanner formulated with natural and shade adjusting pigments to prevent this all too common summer beauty disaster from forcing you to call in sick for work or canceling on your Hinge date out of sheer embarrassment.
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1. Tanceuticals Color + Correct Self Tanning Body Lotion
This self-tanner delivers streak-free color and doesn’t smell like B.O. mixed with cooking spices (like most of them do, let’s be honest). Not only does it give a rich tan effect, but it also doubles as a body blurring lotion, concealing bruises and imperfections on the skin.
2. Miami Gorgeous Self Tanning Mousse
Many DIY tanning formulas can dry out your skin, which results in a cracking and fast fading of your color, but this hydrating formula nourishes your skin without sacrificing color payoff. The mousse formula also allows for easy and even application and it absorbs quickly, so you won’t be left with streaky results or stains on your furniture.
3. Fake Bake Flawless Self Tan Liquid
This easy-to-apply formula contains no lotion, which helps boost the drying time. The color develops in just 4 to 6 hours after application, and you can even apply it before you head out the door for the day without the risk of an uneven orange tinge.
4. Coco & Eve Self-Tanning Set
This complete self-tanning kit comes with everything you need for a hassle-free self-tanning application at home. It includes a tanning mitt to protect your hands and the streak-free mousse formula.
5. Beauty By Earth Sunless Tanner
This natural, aloe-vera-infused formula hydrates the skin while giving you buildable color customized to your level of intensity. This formula also contains shea butter and DHA to help prevent dryness and extend the wear of your tan.