Thank you Nordstom for sponsoring this post!
This post has been years in the making – I’ve used countless brands of self-tanner and have finally whittled down my list to my ultimate favorites, with one standout winning the gold medal…or, should I say, bronze (okay, that was cheesy, but I couldn’t resist!)
Before I break down the best way to get bronzed and glowing for summer, I’m going to get on my soapbox for a moment to share why I’m so passionate about sun protection and getting a tan from a bottle.
When I was in my last year of high school and for most of college, I worked at a tanning salon. We were trained to tell people that tanning was healthy and boosted their vitamin D. We had unlimited tanning membership as employees – and we used them to their fullest, especially during the freezing Canadian winters. I remember having bronzed skin year round and there was nothing I loved more than a 20-minute tanning session. Now, I know better and I still want to kick myself for all that time I spent laying in tanning beds (to be fair, a lot of people my age tanned at the time – before we all knew it was a one-way ticket to significantly increasing your risk for melanoma). Research shows that people who use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for
I live my adult life as someone at a higher risk for melanoma and see a dermatologist every 6 months to evaluate my moles and determine if any need to be biopsied. I’ve had numerous biopsies and even some moles that showed irregularities and had to be fully removed.
Nowadays, I wear SPF on my face daily and all over when I will be outdoors. At the pool, I wear SPF, a large straw hat (I have this one which is just $15 and this one is also under $30) and like to stay in the shade when possible. I’m really careful with our kids too – there are so many cute swimsuits out there, but my fair-skinned kids are in rash guards, sunglasses and sun hats.
While I’m super cognizant of sun exposure now… I have a conundrum. I still love to have a bronzed glow to my skin in the summer – that’s where self-tanners come in! I’ve been using them for over a decade and over the years I’ve found my favorite formulas so I’m sharing those with y’all today along with some other bronzing favorites. Nordstrom is my destination for all things bronzing and sun care- and everything always ships for free, too! Read on to see my faves!
lace midi dress | moto jacket | sunnies | bag | similar sandals
E X F O L I A T E & S H A V E
Before you even think about self-tanning, make sure you exfoliate and/or shave the day before you plan to do it (do not shave right before self-tanning). This will prepare your skin and ensure an even application. I love the scent of this body scrub – it will leave your skin smooth and reduce the likelihood of your self-tanner applying unevenly.
G L O V E I T U P
I didn’t use a tanning mitt until this year and now that I do, I would never go back. Trust me and spend the $6.50 extra on the St. Tropez application mitt — your tan will be more even and your hands will remain stain-free. Especially with mousse formulas, a glove is a must-have. You can re-use the glove (I rinse mine in soap and warm water and lay it out to dry) so there’s no need to buy a new one over and over.
W O R T H T H E S P L U R G E
My favorite self-tanner is one of the classics with a cult-following: St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse. I’m going to go out on a limb and declare that this mousse will give you the same results as getting a spray tan. Maybe a bold statement, but truly, this self-tanner will give you that gorgeous, even, just-got-back-from-a-beach-
I’m always shocked at how much it mimics the results you’d get from a spray tan at a salon – they’ve just mastered the formula. At $42 for the full-sized bottle, some may consider it a splurge – but a spray tan where I live runs you between $50-$65, plus tip, and only lasts about a week, so it’s actually more economical to go the St. Tropez route. In fact, I’m kind of laughing at myself for getting a spray tan for Dallas a few weeks ago, since I thought the tans were not really distinguishable from one another when I did it myself at home. This bottle will give you tons of applications because the mousse formula spreads incredibly well so you don’t have to use a ton of pumps to cover your entire body.
There are some people who swear by the lotion version, but I highly recommend the mousse. I find it easier to apply, it dries more quickly (I hate “feeling” products on my skin, so faster drying is a pro – though I want to add the caveat that it doesn’t dry too quickly either – that would not be good for getting even color!)
I apply the mousse starting from my legs and work my way upward. I use two pumps of mousse at a time and focus on ensuring that I’m really reaching every area – the glove makes things easier as you’re not having to worry about it getting between your fingers. Use a circular motion to get the color as even as possible.
In short, St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is the best bronzed-skin investment you’ll make this summer – I promise you will love the results and your skin (and dermatologist) will thank you for saying yes to the bottle and no way (!) to hours of baking in the sun.
F A C E T I M E
A lot of people don’t like to use self-tanner on their face, but I always do. I like the extra color, it evens out my skin and I like my face and body to match. I do use the St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse on my face, but I also love Kiehl’s self-tanner and Clarins Self Tanning Milky Lotion , which is a fantastic option if you have dry skin. It’s totally fine to mix self-tanner formulas (use a different one on your face).
Another option is to use one of my summer staple products – Charlotte Tilbury’s Healthy Glow which is a white cream that turns a gorgeous bronze shade when you apply it. It evens out your skin, adds a touch of color and just makes skin look glowing. If you don’t want to self-tan your face but need a little color boost, I highly recommend this – it’s so cool watching it transform on your skin. I also love it for beach days where you don’t want to wear foundation – just use it over sunscreen.
B E E X T R A
I still use bronzer when I use self-tanner because I love the extra definition and luminosity it gives to the skin. I still use my holy grail NARS Laguna Bronzer but I also adore Benefit’s Hoola Bronzing powder when I want a totally matte finish (this is one of the first bronzers I ever used back in college and I still love it today!)
Another recent glowing-skin discovery is Becca’s Soft Light Blurring Powder which is just about as magical as its name conveys. I ordered it a few months ago and was a little bit confused when it arrived because it looks like you’re literally going to cover your face in shimmer. However, once you apply it with a fluffy powder brush, it somehow just makes your skin look really smooth and lit from within – with no weird shimmer or glitter on your skin. So don’t be alarmed if it looks really shimmery – once it’s on your skin, it will just give you a wash of warmth and help blur imperfections.
If you’re going out in the evening and really want to make your tan pop —NARS highlighter in “Albatros” is the perfect highlighting powder to dust over your cheekbones. I’ve owned this for years and love how it photographs, too.
P R O T E C T
Y’all already know this, but even with a bottle tan, you 1000% need to wear sunscreen outside. I use Supergoop and wouldn’t you know it, I also love their mousse formula. It’s light, easy-to-apply and has a high SPF. For my face, I use Supergoop’s unseen sunscreen, which goes on clear and has the texture of a makeup primer. I also love their SPF 50 setting spray, which contains and SPF 50 and is perfect for re-application when you’re at the pool or beach. I keep it in our beach bag all summer. Supergoop must have read my mind, because they literally now have a “But First, Sunscreen” kit that contains all three products I just mentioned for $25. It’s like they know me, or something. Seriously though, this is a great and economical way to try the brand so you can keep your skin safe this summer.
I hope you enjoyed this post – and that you try out St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse and let me know what you think!
I love the way my self-tanner made me look extra bronzed in this blue lace dress (size up, by the way!) I’m very fair and love the results of this on my skin!
nude sandals | lace midi dress | moto jacket | sunnies | bag
S H O P T H E P O S T