Bronze Skin Series 1 – The BEST Self-Tanners

Sun tanning became popular in the 1920’s when fashion designer Coco Chanel got burnt vacationing on the French Riviera. Thus, resulting in her famous tan. As the oddball of being the only light haired, fair-skinned girl in my family, I always longed for this beautiful, bronzy skin. Alas, I grew up having to wear embarrassing t-shirts over my swimsuit because my skin burned so bad.

Now that it’s known that a “healthy looking tan” is really NOT healthy (eww to damaging wrinkles and skin spots), I am grateful my Mother doused me in sunscreen to protect my skin. With pale complected beauties becoming more popular now (think Anne Hathaway), porcelain skin tones are becoming “cool” again.

Megan Fox Tan versus Pale
Photo Credits:

Still, I think many people will agree that when you are exposing a lot of skin during the warm months, they would prefer to be tan over pale. This is why I’m a HUGE advocate of self-tanners. They give you a glowy, even skin tone, improves the appearance of lumps and bumps, and personally makes me feel thinner in a swimsuit. Weird but true! Because of this, I have tried every kind of self-tanner out there, and have A TON  of tips and tricks I want  to share!

If I did this all in one post, I would have a novel. That’s why I’m going to break them up into a mini Style Trials “Bronze Skin Series.” This first one is going to touch on the types of self-tanners and my tried and true (not orange) favs of the bunch.

1.) GRADUAL Self-Tanner

If you are new to self-tanning and want to DIY, then go for a gradual tanner. This is one that has a diluted formula because it’s mixed with lotion, so it won’t turn you as dark with one application. If you don’t need to be immediately 6 shades darker the next day, then you can literally apply this  everyday in place of your normal lotion, and the color will gradually build up to a darker color. This also makes it a good route to go if you are worried about making novice mistakes and having streaks. Again, this type of lotion can take up to 6 applications to truly see the full results, but you have less risk of mess-ups.

Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer

Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer


If you want to try a gradual tanner that doesn’t require as many applications to see the color, try this express version.  It’s what I currently use if I need some quick color during the day that isn’t as stinky as regular self-tanner, and only takes 1-3 applications to really see results. It’s more of an in-between to the normal gradual self-tanner and a regular self-tanner.

Jergens Natural Glow Express Body Moisturizer

Jergens Natural Glow Express Body Moisturizer


3.) Regular Self-Tanning LOTIONS

There’s a lot of good ones, and there’s a lot of orange ones. But L’Oreal Sublime is MY ABSOLUTE FAV self-tanner to use at home for a really natural color and easy application!

Use this if you’re confident in applying self-tanner and need to be tan the next day. This won’t immediately give you long-term color when applying, but it does have a built-in bronzer. Although the tint gives you a little bit of color immediately, you still need to wait at least 6 hours before washing it off to get the lasting color. A bonus to the tint is it makes it easier to apply and catch any “missed spots.”

The lotion actually has some pretty, sparkly light reflectors in it too, but my only downfall is it stinks like all self-tanners. The smell is actually not as bad as others, but I don’t typically wear it out of the house before it’s washed off. The texture is more of a gel rather than a lotion, which I like too. It makes my skin soft and is easy to spread and quick to dry.

Sublime Bronze Tinted Self Tanning Lotion

Sublime Bronze Tinted Self Tanning Lotion

4.) SPRAY Self-Tanners

I have tried several DIY spray tanners, and I honestly have not liked them. I’ve tried ones where you have a hand-held spray gun and ones that come in aerosol cans. I’ve found that they come off splotchy, don’t turn you very dark, and it’s pretty impossible to do your back by yourself.

With that being said, I have tried spray tan booths or getting spray-tanned by a person and LOVE the results! This is the most expensive option of all of these choices, so I typically reserve them for special events. I’ve found they are great because you don’t have to worry about the hassle, and it typically comes out pretty even. Out of the two, the booths are my favorite because you don’t have to worry about tan lines (or standing naked in front of someone hosing you down!), and it only takes about 60 seconds in the booths. But the pros of having a person do it is that they can apply the tanner to make certain areas darker if you wish, and even contour to make you look like you have abs!

Many tanning salons offer spray tans, and sometimes have monthly unlimited packages. You’ll find different solutions at different salons (including organic formulas), but the one I use is VersaSpa at South Beach Tanning Company It doesn’t smell so bad either!


Spray Tan Booth Example
Photo Credits:


*QUICK TIP!* Many of these brands make separate self tanner for your face, but I typically just use the same tanner for my body and it works just fine. If you’re worried about it being too dark on your face, moisturize your face first to dilute the formula a bit.

Do you use or will you try self-tanners? What kind of self-tanner is most your style?

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  1. […] If you’re like me and don’t want to be pale in a bikini, you should checkout the Style Trials Bronze Skin Series for the BEST Self tanners. […]

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