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Self Tanners. I can see you wrinkling your noses already. And I know why – the smells, the streaks, the stains. Some of the self tanning products out on the market today are literally the worst beauty products you could ever own. I’ll be the first to tell you that. But then on the other hand is tanning – tanning beds are lethal. I don’t need to tell you that. And too much sun can result in painful burns and premature aging. Our options seem distressing at best (deadly at worst). But today is your lucky day.

I have tried shameful amounts of self tanning products, but the redeeming factor is this – I stand before you today with products that actually work!

I love a good tan, but I am extremely picky about finding products that both excel and are affordable. Please let me introduce you to four products that I know you will love (links included), and I’ll tell you all about each of them!


1) Ulta Tinted Self-Tanning Sunscreen Lotion
When I hear lotion, I immediately think of Jergen’s self tan lotion – not good. This lotion is entirely different than Jergen’s. I’ve never had it streak and it is a gradual glow so you have plenty of time to get an even application. It has a very mild clean smell – no self tanner nastiness. I don’t use this lotion as often as the other products on this list, but it makes my Top 4 because it includes an SPF, so it’s great to apply before (and during) your day in the sun.

2) Sun Labs Self Tanning Lotion Tan Overnight
This lotion is perfect for when you need a tan ASAP. This is the priciest of my tanning regimen, an 8 ounce bottle will cost you about $15, however, compared to the price of a tanning membership (forbidden!) it’s a steal because it will last you forever. It takes very little (think pea-sized amounts for each arm or leg) and covers very well. It will leave you with an immediate tint and will turn into a gorgeous glow within a few hours or overnight. I only use this one about once a week, the tan will last a long time as long as you don’t go overboard with exfoliation. The smell reminds me of the Jergens Cherry Almond lotion. (Note: this lotion will stain your hands, I always wear gloves while applying.)

3) Ulta Tinted Self Tanning Spray
I can’t say how much I love this product. Again, I had tried a Loreal Self Tanning Spray that was a major disappointment. But this product changed my perspective on sprays. I use it primarily on my back since it’s harder to reach, but I love to use a quick mist on my face and chest in the mornings, since my face is exfoliated frequently and doesn’t hold a tan well. It has a perfume-type scent that fades away to nothing.

4) Avon Skin So Soft Absolute Glow Gel
I’m not a tremendous fan of the Avon tanning lotions, but this gel formula is beyond amazing! This is the best product for getting the most even tan, because the gel allows you to get a truly perfect application. I apply this one every 2 or 3 days and it keeps my tan at it’s best. No bad smells here either! As long as I wash the inside of my hands after applying this one I don’t have to worry about gloves.

Now I’ve shared all my secrets with you, if you try any of the products I’d love to know what you think! Take care of your skin, stay out of the tanning beds but get ready to glow!