One of the “neat” things about living in Canada (well, Toronto) is that someone, somewhere, flips a switch and it’s suddenly summertime. I feel like it catches me off guard every year and I am never prepared—and by prepared I mean sufficiently exfoliated, hair-free and faux-tanned. (Not to mention wardrobed. Why do all the sundresses for sale have empire waists these days? Looking pregnant isn’t really my fashion goal.)
But back on the subject of beauty—I was a little bit more on the ball this year, because I managed to get in the first self-tanner application of the season on Monday night, just in time for yesterday’s heat wave. And for that you should be thankful, because you avoided being blinded by the light…
And on that note, I think it’s only fair that I now tell you about the self-tanners that are near and dear to my heart.
BEST FOR: Those of you who cannot stand the stinky self-tanner smell. And also aren’t keen on slathering chemicals over your body…
Lavera Self-Tanning Shimmer Spray
Lavera Self-Tanning Lotion
As I was Tweeting and Facebooking yesterday, this brand is my favourite because it Does.Not.Smell. I’m serious, dude! And I am not the only one to say this; if you do a little digging for reviews online, it’s common knowledge amongst those who’ve tried it. Yep, Lavera tanners are a bit of a cult thing and have even won industry awards—fancy that!
They go on with a very mild, caramel sort of scent, but it calms down quite quickly and is nowhere near offensive like most self-tanners (which is the reason I have poor compliance with them—I like to smell pretty, thankyouverymuch). I use this all summer long because within a few hours of application you honestly can’t smell a thing on your skin… which is great because other ones linger even after a shower. I prefer the spray for ease of use, but am not a huge fan of the shimmery bits in it. The lotion is trickier to apply, but I think the colour you get is more intense.
The other obvious bonus is that Lavera, being German, is pretty much as natural as you can get. DOUBLE WIN.
BEST FOR: Cheap ‘n cheerful gradual colour…
Sometimes a girl can’t be bothered with the meticulousness required for self-tanner proper. This is when a gradual self-tanning lotion, which is basically just a tiny bit of self-tanner mixed with regular body lotion, comes in handy. This one, no lie, smells like a banana cream pie. (Although the Lavera still kills it because the Vaseline one does change when it gets on your skin. C’est la vie.) It also comes in versions for fair, medium and dark skin, and I’ve been quite happy with the colour it gave me. That means non-orange… because orange is often a risk factor with the less expensive drugstore brands. PLUS it’s dirt cheap and you can’t beat that.
BEST FOR: Nervous/newbie self-tanners who need to see their work as it happens…
Lancôme Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Body Gel with Pure Vitamin E
What’s awesome about this one is that it’s tinted, so you not only get an instant result (that won’t transfer on to your clothes), but you also can see what you’re doing. MUCH easier to make sure you’ve covered your entire surface area and don’t end up with bare patches or splotchy bits the next day.
BEST FOR: Anyone too impatient to wait for their self-tanner to dry before they get dressed…
Shiseido Brilliant Bronze Quick Self-Tanning Gel
This one used to be my go-to before I discovered Lavera. (If Shiseido could just ace the smell factor, I might switch back!) Aside from that, what I love about this one is the cooling gel texture, how easy it is to apply and how insanely quickly it dries. You don’t need to stand around in your bathroom, naked, waiting to get dressed because you’ll be dry to the touch within a minute of application. The colour it gives you is also amazing—it’s more intense than the Lavera by far and makes you feel all glamorous and expensive and like you should be strolling around St. Tropez.
OTHER GREAT PICKS: Clarins self-tanning anything is always a good bet. I’ve also heard good things about St. Tropez (the brand), and I’m très excited about trying this new-to-Canada self-tanner from Rodial:
UPDATE: I’ve now been using the Rodial Brazilian Tan Light (pictured above), as well as the Rodial Brazilian Tan Daily (which is a gradual tanning moisturizer) and I’m impressed! Both smell incredible and definitely rival the Lavera in the non-stinkiness factor (although Lavera possibly gets a slight edge for me just because it’s more natural). But I can happily report that several people have told me I smell “great,” and “like coconut,” quite has never happened to me within hours of applying a self-tanner! With the self-tanner, you do need to be quite careful with the application as I found even the Light colour delivered a pretty intense (although lovely) shade… I had a few quite visible streaky bits. Also, the pumps don’t work well, so it can be kinda frustrating. But overall, two thumbs up!
And of course, in a pinch, you can always get an instant tint from the NARS Body Illuminator that I talked about in this vid. Seriously, I’ve been slapping it on my legs and arms for more colour and it’s AMAZE.
A less expensive but still effective version is this new tinted dry oil from The Body Shop.
Unfortch it doesn’t smell nearly as nice… but it does the job.
Have you tried any of these self-tanners or body tints?
What is YOUR all-time favourite product for getting a faux glow?
I guess if you’ve read this far I better post this now… Hammer Time is at 2:09.