16 July 2014

{enjoy the view} Sunless Tanning Tips series: Part 2 - Choosing a Sunless Tanning Product


Sunless Tanning Tips Series: Part 2 - Choosing a Sunless Tanning Product - tips on choosing the right sunless product for your skin and lifestyle! Second part in a series of sunless tanning tips where you can "Learn how to Self-Tan Like A Pro"!

How in the world do you choose a sunless tanning product out of the myriad of products available? Lotions, gels, mousses, aerosol sprays, towelettes, airbrush solutions - how do you know where to start?

Each of these products has different attributes - some are more suited to those with "dry" skin, some work best for those who have "normal" or "oily" skin. Some can be easy to apply, while others can require a bit more practice.


Sunless Tanning Tips Series: Part 2 - Choosing a Sunless Tanning Product - different types of sunless tanning products available!


Let's take a look at the options:

Lotion
  • if tinted, is usually easy to apply
  • can leave skin feeling "sticky" unless your skin tends to be dry
  • the most moisturizing option

Gel
  • if tinted, usually easy to apply
  • is usually less sticky than lotion, but may still be a little sticky
  • can be drying to skin, especially if your skin tends to be dry

Mousse
  • if tinted, usually easy to apply
  • usually not sticky, dries quickly
  • is usually drying to skin, especially if your skin tends to be dry
  • usually needs to be applied more frequently than other products

Aerosol
  • can be tricky to apply if not tinted
  • requires adequate ventilation
  • can end up on surfaces in the room
  • usually not sticky, dries quickly
  • is usually drying to skin, especially if your skin tends to be dry 

Towelette
  • can be tricky to apply because they're not tinted
  • difficult to judge how and where you've applied
  • travels well
  • can be easy to use for some people
  • can be drying to skin

Airbrush solution
  • if tinted, usually easy to apply
  • doesn't require airbrush to apply
  • some can be sticky, some dry quickly
  • can be drying, but varies with product and isn't as drying as gels, mousses, & aerosols 
  • large range of product options
  • usually lasts longer than other sunless tanners

I've tried all of these different types of products and have discovered that airbrush solutions not only work best for me, but they are also the most economical. I have a MaxiMist (airbrush) for applying, but I rarely use it - I apply with a fine mist spray bottle and a microfiber car wax pad. Simple items, easily available for everyone - and I can tan in less than 10 minutes.

Does that mean that airbrush solutions are the best for you? Absolutely not.

The single most important piece of sunless tanning advice I can give you is this: Try different products to see what works best for your skin. Everyone is different. What works for your friend may not work for you. Not every lotion is the same. Not every airbrush solution is the same.

Another thing to consider: the most common ingredient in these products that tans the skin is dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. But there is another ingredient that is sometimes used, called erythrulose. DHA tans the skin within 8-12 hours, while erythrulose can take up to 48 hours. Erythrulose also tends to last a little longer than DHA. Some products will combine the two in order to give you a "quick" tan that lasts a couple of days longer. Unfortunately, some of you will be like me, and find that products containing erythrulose fade unevenly on your skin. After a few days, I will have big white splotches in any area that tends to rub - so I avoid erythrulose. Again, unfortunately, there is no way to know how your skin will react without you trying a product with erythrulose.

Some of the products that I think work well are listed below. If you notice, they are not products found at your local Target or grocery store. This is not a comprehensive list of "good" products. A lot of people have great results with drugstore products like L'Oreal Sublime. But drugstore products typically contain less DHA (the ingredient that "tans" the skin) than products available at Sephora, department stores, or online sunless tanning sites. I find, for me, products containing at least 7% DHA work best - drugstore products typically contain less than 5%.

Lotions: Sun Ultra Dark (there are other colors, but I think this is the best), St. Tropez Lotion , and while I haven't tried it, I've heard good things about Tarte Brazilliance

Gels: Paula's Choice (which is apparently being discontinued), and my daughter likes Kardashian Glamour Tan - I know several other companies have gels, but I haven't tried them

Mousses: Karora, St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse , Key West Rayz, Tampa Bay Tan also has a mousse that I haven't tried, but I love their other products

Aerosols: U Toucan Tan by Tampa Bay Tan, SUN also has an aerosol, but I haven't tried it

Airbrush solutions: Tan Extraordinaire 10% Bronze by Tampa Bay Tan (that's my favorite, they also have others), Key West Rayz, AYU

I left off towelettes because I've never had any luck with them. But don't let that discourage you - a lot of people like them.

If you're lucky, you can find samples of some of these products and use them on an area (like your stomach) not on public display. You can check the color, how it dries, how it wears, etc. Most airbrush solutions come in sample sizes, but the other types of products are more difficult to find.

  • SUN Labs offer sample sizes for their lotions.
  • Sun Goddess offers a free sample, but there is a $3 shipping fee.
  • Norvell offers samples of both airbrush solutions and other products.
  • You can sometimes get samples at Sephora or Ulta if you go to the store. They are more difficult to find online.
  • Also, eBay is another place to check!

 Sunless Tanning Tips Series: Part 2 - Choosing a Sunless Tanning Product - tips on choosing the right sunless product for your skin and lifestyle! Second part in a series of sunless tanning tips where you can "Learn how to Self-Tan Like A Pro"!

Up next in the Sunless Tanning series: Part 3 - Tools!

Don't forget to check out the other posts in the series!


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

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