If you’ve tried self-tanning products at home then I’m sure you have some horror stories to tell. I know I’ve turned myself Oompa-Loompa orange more times than I’d like to remember. That doesn’t stop me from trying; otherwise, I’m blind you on the beach pale. The secret is finding the right formula for your skin and preparing your skin before applying. Skimp on these and you’re in for a week’s worth (or more) of unsightly hued skin.
If you browse at-home self-tanning product reviews and product pages you’ll find a lot of varying opinions. You’ll find contradicting advice and horror stories galore. I’m about to add to that, well except for the horror story part – I got lucky on this one!
I have been experimenting with at-home self-tanning product for years, heck I’ll admit it – decades! Thanks to a family history of melanoma and my skin’s tendency to burn instead of tan, self-tanning is the safest choice for me. Most of the time the products have a disgusting smell and leave streaky bits of unnatural color. The one brand I have had the most luck with over the years is Fake Bake (who provided some great products for me to try out).
Fake Bake boasts an extensive fan list that includes Olivia Culpo, Ruby Rose, Demi Lovato, Rumer Willis, Whitney Carson, Karina Smirnoff and more.
The brand has been featured at Hollywood events such as the EMMYS, Teen Choice Awards, and the BELLA New York White Party in The Hamptons honoring the cover woman and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump.
Fake Bake has been around for a while and over the years, they’ve made some major improvements. The key thing I think is the smell. Each of the products I tried actually smells good, not chemically or foul. There’s a tropical scent that is stronger in some and more faint in others. Here’s a rundown of the Fake Bake products I tried.
Amplify uses cutting-edge technology to create a triple threat. Amplify is known for its ability to boost, intensify and perfect your skin. The lotion is made up of an active plant-based agent that increases the skin’s melanin production. This means your skin will tan quicker, deeper and last longer.
This product is slightly misleading, since it is meant to enhance your natural tanning process. It does add a slight tint when used alone and without outside tanning, but I’m thinking it would work best for beach days when you want to amp up your tan.
Tanning Body Butter for Dry Skin is made up of the highest grade botanical Shea Butter that will moisturize as it melts over the skin’s surface. There are natural antioxidants that fight free radicals in this body butter, all while gaining that healthy-looking addition of color.
This was perfect for me since I have extremely dry skin. It immediately added moisture and made my skin look better. This is a lot thicker than the other products so a little goes a long way.
Doubleshot Espresso Tan Gel is the self-tanning product to use if you want a deep, golden bronze. It is made with several tanning actives for maximum depth of color.
The gel formula glides on smoothly and dries fast. Doubleshot is highly concentrated so you only need a little bit to get a gorgeous tan.
Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum is designed with a triple tan formula to not only give you a golden bronze color but to enhance the beauty of your skin. It adds a healthy glow so you’re skin doesn’t look dull and the color is rich and very natural looking.
While I love the color, this does have a slightly off-putting smell. I thought it would be less smelly than other self-tanning products, especially since it’s coconut scented. The self-tanning smell seems to push past the coconut aroma though, making this the only Fake Bake product I don’t like the smell of.
Fake Bake can be found at Ulta Beauty, Bed Bath and Beyond and online at www.fakebake.com. The products I tried each (with the exception of Amplify) had color guides to help you see where you’ve applied the tanning product.
There was no streaking or yucky orange to come from any of these which makes Fake Bake my preferred at-home self-tanning product. That’s why I can confidently suggest you try it too!
Tips for using at-home self-tanning products
If you want to make the most of your at-home self-tanning experience here are a few tips/pointers.
- Exfoliate beforehand. Having smooth skin will help make sure you stay streak free.
- Use gloves. This is super important; no one wants carrot orange knuckles and palms – they just look dirty.
- Be thorough. It helps to use a mirror but it isn’t necessary. Just be sure you’re covering all of the visible spots you want to be tanned. Imagine a tan face with pale white ears or neck. Yea – be thorough!
- Take your time. It’s tempting to get dressed soon after the self-tanning product dries, but don’t. Plan for at least an hour before getting dressed, this helps make sure the product doesn’t rub off on your clothes or streak before it’s completely absorbed.
- Find the product that works for you. Do your research, find reviews from people with the same complexion/skin type as you. Even though I don’t always do it, I highly recommend doing a skin test before committing to a product. This will help keep you from turning orange or breaking out.
Have you ever hesitated to wear shorts, skirts, or capris in the summer because you were afraid the light reflecting from your legs would blind someone? I have that problem nearly every year. No one has gone blind (that I know of) yet but I still play out the scenario in my mind. I love going to the beach and try to get there at least once a week.
What I don’t love is the sun.
I slather on sunblock and make sure I keep it on whenever I’m outside. The sheer thought of the ‘M‘ word terrifies me. Melanoma is a serious issue and can be prevented. I do my part but I do pay the price (read: my skin lacks that golden bronzed tan look.) Luckily there are other options besides spending hours laying in the sun and risking UV damage.
I received the following products for editorial consideration.
Jessica Robertson XOXO Collection- Facial Bronzer – This exclusive formula contains two key ingredients: Tripeptide-5 and Melitane. Tripeptide-5 helps give a youthful, refreshed appearance by minimizing pores and fine lines. Melitane induces skin pigmentation, strengthens the skin’s defenses against UV rays and reduces sunburn and inflammation. Oil and fragrance free, it goes on light and sheer for a natural, radiant finish. 3.4oz bottle retails for $28.00 at www.drsuncosmetics.com or your local tanning salon.
Jessica Robertson Collection American Legs-Leg Bronzer – You’ve worked hard getting your legs tight and taught for bikini season. Highlight every hard earned muscle with a leg bronzer that gives skin a firming and tightening boost, not to mention gorgeous natural color in just hours. Its special sensory silicone base leaves skin soft and moisturized, inhibits hair growth, and has a delicious coconut scent. 3.4 oz bottle retails for $28.00 at www.drsuncosmetics.com or your local tanning salon.
I found these to be great solutions for my lack of summer tan. I can use them year-round to keep a hint of color. I especially love the difference between these products and other at-home tanners. There is no funky smell (these actually smell yummy!) and there is no overwhelming orange coloring.
If you’re avoiding sun exposure but still crave a glowing bronzed tan then be sure to try these!
Jessica Robertson Collection Facial Bronzing Powder ($15.00 at www.drsuncosmetics.com or your local tanning salon) – This 3-in-1 bronzer has just the right amount of color and moisture to keep your skin glowing all year-round. The tinted powder offers a sheer, natural color while conditioning your ski and providing a smooth application. Use it to accent and contour cheekbones for amazing definition. Includes case and a brush.
Jessica Robertson Collection Lip Gloss ($7.00 at www.drsuncosmetics.com) – These rich, creamy lip glosses go on smooth and are available in six colors: Cherry Red, Nude, Peach Mango, Iced Mocha, Berry, and Cotton Candy. They have a very nice smell and no funky taste (because that’s important!)
I’m a super fan of the fun, highly textured tubes!
Jessica Robertson Nail Polish Collection – ($7.99 at www.drsuncosmetics.com) The perfect way to compliment your new sunless tan. These polishes are available in 16 colors. They’re not just for summer!
If you were to hit the beach right now (assuming it’s daytime where you are) would the sun bounce off of your legs and blind everyone around? I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen with me. Winter didn’t do my legs any favors. Printer paper and my legs could be related. No seriously; I have some albino-esque stuff going on.
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this and there’s a solution that’s quicker than sunbathing, at home tanning, and tanning beds. In fact, Anna Camp hit the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards and check out her legs!
She was stunning in her short, sexy yet fun dress with blue heels for an added pop of color. To complete her look, Melanie Inglessis (a celebrity makeup artist) used Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs in Fairest Glow for irresistible, streak-free legs.
“This really great product allows the legs to look flawless and tanned like she just stepped off the beach,”
What is Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs?
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs’ lightweight leg makeup eliminates the appearance of veins, freckles, bruises and imperfections, leaving legs smooth, supple and spring-ready. Packed with Vitamin K, Sally Hansen Airbrush legs provides more than coverage.
The all-new formula with Palmaria Extract, offers a conditioning treatment for dehydrated legs and enhances coverage. Simply spray on and blend in for soft, seamless, transfer-proof coverage that lasts all day.
After months of hiding behind maxi dresses, jeans, and trousers it’s time to prepare for skirt, short, and Capri season.
What I love most about Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs is how quickly you see results. Tanning takes a while for noticeable results – even the at-home-tanners take at least a day for the final reveal. With Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs there’s no waiting or guesswork involved. Spray it on, smooth it out, and you’re ready to flaunt your stuff.
My friends can’t get over how amazing my legs look after using the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. They’ve said my legs look airbrushed and I’ve also heard that it looks like I’m wearing pantyhose. I’m definitely impressed with the results and my friends are already shopping for some for themselves!
There are five natural-looking shades available: Light Glow, Medium Glow, Fairest Glow, Tan Glow, Deep Glow. These shades can be found at chain drug stores and mass retailers nationwide. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs costs $13.99.
You can also stay up to date on the happenings with Sally Hansen on social media: