Sunless Tanner Road Test
August 26, 2015 | By Evans Dermatology Staff
Although we know the Austin summer sun’s rays are especially strong, we also know it’s tempting to want that summer skin glow. Instead of baking yourself in the sun, absorbing harmful UV rays, this summer why not try a sunless tanner instead?
Because we know not all sunless tanners are created equal (and we certainly don’t want any of you to walk around with orange skin!), our dermatologists and staff put 6 self-tanning products to the test. They took home samples of each to try, so no one knew which brand was which, making the reviews even more compelling!
Depending on how dramatic of a color change you’d like, you can choose from gradual lotions or go straight for the tropical look.
Fast, Dark Color
If you want a quick, dark color, look to Fake Bake Flawless, costing $26.50 or Xen-Tan Premium Sunless Tan, priced at $40. Both offered a professional looking color with an almost immediate color change. One difference though is Fake Bake Flawless offers a spray bottle with an application mit, and Xen-Tan Premium Sunless Tan is in a lotion and can be harder to apply evenly. Neither had a unpleasant smell, but Xen-Tan had a noticeable, dessert-like sweet smell.
Quick, Bronze Color
For a less dramatic, subtle immediate color, you can look to St. Tropez Self-Tanning Bronze, costing $18 or L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer, priced between $7 and $12. St. Tropez offers an easy to spread foam, and L’Oréal Sublime Bronze is very similar to a body lotion. Our dermatologists and staff commented that the L’Oréal bronzing body lotion had quite a shimmer to it and left a lingering smell of DHA (dihydroxyacetone).
If you’re feeling more hesitant or looking to build a tan over time, we also tried out Neutrogena Micro-Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan, costing around $11, and Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, priced between $6 and $10. They had 2 very different application processes, but both offered a discrete first impression. If you prefer to spray your tan, we recommend Neutrogena’s Micro-Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan. It had a nice color, but you may want to apply in an open area as the smell is a little much but fades over time. However, it doesn’t offer the control of a lotion.
If you want to have greater control during application when building your tan, try Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. Less experienced sunless tanners may prefer this method as it’s more forgiving. The smell isn’t harsh, and it was easy to apply, but we suggest you allow for drying time as you would with a thicker body lotion.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your sunless tanner. We learned that price doesn’t always dictate the perfect color and a lot varies on your desired application process. The products we tested can all be purchased from ULTA Beauty and some can also be found at your local convenience store. That said, our overall favorite was L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer.
It may be intimidating to try a new product and see how it turns out, but it’s far less risky than exposing yourself to harmful rays. Enjoy the outdoors with a hat, sunscreen, and protective clothing and know you can more safely achieve your desired summer glow from a bottle.