It’s Self-Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved…

Gisele Bundchen

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…

Cue music:

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 tan spray Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

Lavera Self-Tanning Shimmer Spray

and

Lavera Self Tanning Lotion Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

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…

Vaseline Healthy Body Glow Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...Vaseline Healthy Body Glow

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…

Lancome Flash Bronzer Body Gel Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

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 Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

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:

Rodial Brazilian tan Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

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.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Dry Oil Its Self Tanner Time! (Kind of like Hammer Time but not really.) Here are some fab faux tanners I have known and loved...

Unfortch it doesn’t smell nearly as nice… but it does the job.

Tell me:

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.

30 Comments

Lindsay
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for this post. I stroll through the self-tanner aisle at the drugstore and I’m scared of the products. I’ve heard great things about St-Tropez also, and the woman at Murale suggested the Rodial as well. I don’t know where to start! Can I put the Lancome stuff everywhere, or is it just for face?

So. Confused.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 6:02 pm

Don’t be scared! :-)
I don’t think you can go wrong with most of the higher-end tanners… the problem with some of the cheaper ones is that the colour can be off. It’s trial and error.
I tend to just use them all over – face and body – instead of using separate face ones. They’ve never made me break out yet. With the gel formats (eg Shiseido), they’re so light that it shouldn’t be a problem at all – you won’t even feel it.

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Lindsay
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 7:49 pm

Awesome. Thank you. I’ll try out the Shiseido one and report back.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:06 pm

I updated the post about Rodial just FYI!

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Thomas
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 5:49 pm

No love for Dove? :( Personally I love it and it always gives me really even results, even on my face (I don’t think it’s technically meant for your face but, what the hell eh? I can’t afford fancy facial tanning cream). Unfortunately, with my new (accidental) white hair, I can’t use this anymore or I run the risk of looking like this… http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2nuofLUC1VU/Syamv6bcUUI/AAAAAAAABWE/xgU6hK9EwZ0/s400/fake-tanning-christina-aguilera-400a071707.jpg

Huge fan, fellow (bereaved) blonderexic Thomas xx

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 6:05 pm

Yeah Dove is okay too – I prefer the banana Vaseline scent though for some reason! But I think results basically the same. And I’m with you re: using all over… most of the time I’m too lazy and can’t be bothered finding a separate face one.

You made me laugh out loud at “bereaved.” God Xtina is so scary and what’s sad is that your link is one of her more flattering shots. Not looking too healthy lately…

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Ashley
Wednesday, June 1/2011 at 9:35 pm

Does anyone know where to actually get the lavera? We carry it out west here in london drugs but just the makeup line, none of the skin or body products :( its sad i actually would be interested in trying it since i have had a lot of super bad reactions to tanners. I love their loose mineral translucent face powder it smells so nice and makes my skin just super soft <3 just if anyone is still looking for a new setting powder that doesn't turn your face white…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:01 pm

There’s a store finder here: http://www.lavera.com/canada

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Nomadic D
Thursday, June 2/2011 at 3:03 am

Wow! What an excellent post! I’m dying to try the Lavera, and the Shiseido sounds awesome too. I used to be hooked on the Dove gradual tan stuff, but for some reason this year all of those gradual self-tanners have disappeared off the shelves in Spain. WTF? The mysteries of this country never cease to confound me. I’ve also used an Oil of Olay gradual tanner for the face which I loved because it was basically just putting on my moisturizer in the morning. But again, not available here. Looks like this year I’m going to have to take the plunge and go for the serious stuff. Wonder if I can find Lavera here, it is german so maybe… Anyway, thanks so much for the recommendations!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:02 pm

My pleasure! I just updated the post in regards to Rodial – been trying out the past few days and I’m really impressed. They’re from the UK so maybe easier to find in Spain??

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Sophia
Thursday, June 2/2011 at 1:04 pm

Self-tanners freak me right out. Think of the palest person you’ve ever met, then imagine two shades lighter and that’s me. Thankfully, freckles on my face and arms keep me looking healthy (or at least alive), but my legs are bordering on blue and even those gradual tanners show up funny and kind of streaky on me – or at least they did when I tried them 5 or 6 years ago in high school. I’ve more or less come to embrace it but the beginning of bare-leg season is always hard.

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Gimped
Friday, June 3/2011 at 4:48 pm

I bet I could give you a run for your money, Sophia!! I’m pretty white, too. I wore a black cotton dress earlier this week — MAN my legs looked so scary!!!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:04 pm

I do think the formulas have gotten better in the past couple of years, although I’m pale too so I know exactly what you mean. Definitely stay away from Rodial, it would go way too patchy on you. I would recommend the Lavera spray, it’s extremely subtle.

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Meghan
Thursday, June 2/2011 at 9:18 pm

Thanks for the tip about the stink free self tanner! Since I’m quite fair I have been diligently avoiding the sun and layering up with sunscreen when I do go. I had given up on fake tanners since I abhor the way they make my skin smell for days and days after using them. I’m definitely going to give the Lavera products a shot now! Maybe I can be golden for summer?!! I can’t wait to shirk of this ghostly pale mantle and embrace my inner (fake) bronzed self!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:05 pm

Just updated the post – really pleased with Rodial as well in regards to the stink factor! I’ve never been complimented on how I smell while wearing self-tanner…wow.

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Kaite
Friday, June 3/2011 at 12:35 am

I wore shorts to work today and my boss made a comment about my legs being super white (I’m crazy pale like even when I have a tan I still look white pale) to which I frowned and made a mental note to self tanify myself when I got home aha

I use jergans tinted moisturizer, but I like the look of the Vaseline one. Actual self tanners scare me because like even after two days of tinted moisturizer for fair skin I end up looking really dark…or orange, maybe I should try a new brand and see if that helps :D

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:07 pm

The Lavera spray is very subtle – I would compare it to a gradual tanning moisturizer, so maybe investigate that one. And with any gradual one, don’t feel you need to apply it every day… maybe just 2-3 times a week for maintenance.

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Gimped
Friday, June 3/2011 at 5:11 pm

There seem to be a number of fellow colour-challenged people on here — glad I’m not the only one! Do you have any reco’s for super pale peeps? Any by pale, I mean pretty much white and transparent.

I haven’t tried many tanning prodz cuz I’m so afraid of it looking fake — with pale skin, it’s REALLY easy to tell. I tried some of the Dove stuff a few years ago, and I didn’t like it at all. My skin looked yellow-ish, and the tanning stuff started to flake off my legs. I’ve also tried another self-tanning cream — can’t remember what it was, but I bought it at Sephora a few years ago in a yellow bottle — which was much better than the Dove stuff but I still didn’t like the colour.

I have some vouchers for spray tanning, which I should really use but again I’m a bit afraid.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:14 pm

Yes I’m afraid of spray tans because they’ve definitely turned me orange before (which I only realized when I got vacation pics uploaded… ugh!). As for products, I’ve been really happy with the Lavera spray because it’s SO subtle – I would put it in the same category as a gradual tanner. Sadly I’ve found that the more pricey ranges tend to give you the best colour… have been really happy with Lancome, Shiseido, Rodial etc in that respect, but a lot of drugstore brands are not great (I recall Neostrata being particularly horrible). I would definitely stick with a gradual tanning moisturizer – as I said, I like the Vaseline one, and I know lots of people love Jergens. I’m not as keen on Dove or Olay.
Also to prevent it flaking you need to stay away from exfoliating or shaving and also moisturize really well for the first few days after application. Then once or twice a week I like to scrub everything off again…wash, rinse, repeat. :-)

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Gimped
Monday, June 13/2011 at 5:02 pm

Great last tip, Michelle! Why don’t they tell you that when you buy the stuff?

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Vero
Sunday, June 5/2011 at 9:35 am

Yep, I’m another pale one, and from Quebec so we get sun, like 2 months a year. One of my nicknames is actually Casper, LOL! I use the Jergens stuff, but it’s kind of REALLY gradual. I wonder if the Vaseline stuff is maybe a tad quicker? White-blue legs are NEVER in style, it seems…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, June 11/2011 at 4:16 pm

I will have to do a test! From my recollection they’re pretty comparable… I just prefer the Vaseline scent.

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Morangão
Tuesday, June 7/2011 at 10:58 am

Gisele is so awesome!

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Meghan
Sunday, June 19/2011 at 2:23 pm

So I’m in the Caribbean at the moment and I just wanted to update you on my little Lavera Self Tanner experiment. I ordered it after your glowing review and put it on for the first time ever last night. So far I’m really impressed by the smell. It has a very very very slight fake tan smell, but I have to hold my arm up to my nose to detect this. It’s as good to odor free as I’ve ever encountered. FINALLY – a fake tanner I could see myself using all summer. In the past I’d only use the fake stuff for a special event due to the smell but now I could see myself using this consistently.

It’s not the greatest to wear in the tropical heat (but this will ROCK when I get back to dry Canada) – I’m dripping with sweat after smoothing this stuff on, but it’s just for a few hours. So far I’m loving the color. It’s very natural and flattering. Someone said I looked glowing white when I arrived, but now I look normal, so thumbs up.

Question: How long does it take for this stuff to fully develop? I don’t want to wash it off before it’s done it’s thing. Do you apply it all over or just your limbs and face? How many applications do you normally go for before you reach your ideal color?

Thanks again Michelle!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, June 26/2011 at 1:35 pm

Yay! So glad you like it as much as I do. Are you using the spray or the lotion? I find the lotion is more intense. With either one I will apply it all over, including face. I’m not so great with regular re-application but I think you’ll need less with the lotion and maybe do 2-3 times a week with the spray.

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Chelsea C
Monday, June 20/2011 at 12:58 pm

I have been using for 2 years now Purminerals “Get A Little” self tanner. I use it on my legs almost everyday during the summer months. Why this works for me is that I have very sensitive skin and other self tanners make me itchy and I tend to get a rash. Not with this one. EVER. Also, I don’t like the smell of most self tanners – I am assuming its the DHA that I am smelling reacting with my skin. Although this product has DHA there are a lot of “good” ingredients as well. The smell is also a little “limey”. Another product that didn’t react to my skin was the Clarins Self Tanner and Jergens Natural Glow.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, June 26/2011 at 1:36 pm

I didn’t realize that line had a tanner. I find the scent of their makeup so off-putting!

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Chelsea C
Monday, June 27/2011 at 1:35 pm

You are so right. The make-up smells like dirt or clay. The self tanner is very pleasant.

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CC
Sunday, July 3/2011 at 1:43 pm

Anyone tried Dior Bronze self-tanner – natural glow? I find it has a pleasant smell and natural colour. It is tinted for easier application, gives a very natural colour. I use it on my face too, even though they have one specifically for face. I don’t get any break out. I just noticed it’s not mentioned here.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, July 24/2011 at 9:39 pm

Is it a monoi oil scent? I think I might have this somewhere but not sure if it’s an actual tanner or just a tinted lotion. It’s a few years old so can’t remember… I don’t test a lot of Dior stuff unfortunately!

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