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My Top Four Self Tanners

A few years ago I made a discovery that would change my life forever: self tanner. I had spent high school in southern California where everyone was effortlessly sun-kissed and while I did achieve a nice glow from time to time, it was never easy. It involved lots of burning, tanning, and even slathering on oil sans SPF. Yikes. Not my most brilliant days.

I have since repented for my foolish youth and stopped going in direct sun altogether. (A whopping sunburn my junior year of college was the final straw and I while won’t go into all the painful details, let’s suffice it to say it was rather unpleasant.) Finally realizing my skin was not meant for tanning the natural (and unsafe) way, I began to explore the world of the faux glow. It’s truly liberating: no tan lines or painful redness, even color in just a few hours—why doesn’t everyone do this? Over the years, I’ve tried lots of products, (not all self tanners are created equal, believeyoume), but these are my current faves, in no particular order.

Clarins Self Tanning Milk ($32.50): My first foray into self tanning was with Clarins and that was completely by luck. This has been my go-to for years because it goes on easily and streak-free and it provides the most incredible, natural color.

Bare Escentuals Beautifully Bronzed Deluxe 2-piece Edition ($46.14): I got this self tanner and brush set in a gift bag a few weeks ago and I was a little hesitant. The formula is really dark and I am so accustomed to applying with my hands. That said, I gave it a shot on my legs and not only does the color look great, but the brush was really thorough and an awesome way to keep my palms from getting more color than they should.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads ($32): Meant for your face and decollete, these are a great option for people in the winter who aren’t baring a lot of skin. Also, whenever I self tan, my face loses color the fastest. These easy-to-use towelettes are great for maintaining an all-over even hue. What’s especially cool about this product is that the formula reacts with your body’s chemistry, so the color you get is completely customized. Love science!

Xen Tan Deep Bronze Luxe ($39): Don’t be fooled by the packaging, this product is top quality. It’s my latest favorite. A co-worker asked me to give it a go and I loved the result. The smell isn’t bad, but they do offer a Scent Secure product to block the odor, which you apply just like a moisturizer.

*I have yet to try, but Mollie swears by Beautisoland she is a tough customer!


While looking sun-kissed is great, the most important thing you can do is protect your skin! Start by wearing a daily moisturizer with SPF like this one from Jouer.

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