If there’s one thing that I’m grateful for, it’s how far self-tanners have come in recent years. As a self-diagnosed recovering tanning addict (college was a rough time, guys), I do send up a big thanks to the bronzing gods every day for coming up with self-tanners that finally give you a natural, healthy glow—and fast. I might be aging myself here, but who remembers when one of our only shots at getting “bronzed” legs in a hurry was to use Sally Hensen Airbrush Legs, only to be left with a weird pearlescent chalky residue that looked nothing like a real tan? I sure as hell do. So you can imagine my excitement when I recently noticed an influx of upgraded self-tanning waters, oils, and mousses up and down my (beauty-focused) Instagram feed, as well as the shelves of Sephora. So, because I believe that everyone looks better with a little natural glow (don’t @ me), I’ve tested out some of the newest and best self-tanners on the market right now so you can look like you just got back from some exotic island even if your summer vacation plans start and end in your backyard.
Tan-Luxe was actually the first brand that caught my eye on social media. On top of their chic packaging, the brand prides itself on introducing the world’s first self-tanning oil. So naturally, I was like, “wtf is this?” and immediately had to try. Tan-Luxe’s Wonder Oil has a convenient roller ball that glides on easily so you’re guaranteed an even application. Gone are the days where your tan turns out streaky because you rubbed globs of self-tanning lotion on unevenly. The shade of the tan itself is one of the best, most natural looking shades (and trust me, I’ve done the legwork). It’s more of a brown-bronze, so if your skin naturally has a red pigment, Wonder Oil is sure to cancel that out. And if you’re one of those “less is more” people when it comes to self-tanning (not me), since the solution goes on clear you can judge the development of the tan, and at any point during the development process (which is about two to four hours), if you’re like “Okay, this is good, I don’t want to get any darker,” then you shower and that’s the shade you will be.
Celebrity spray tanner Jules Von Hep has spent many years of his career inside a tanning tent bronzing some pretty famous bodies, so when he recently came out with his new self-tanning line, Isle of Paradise, I figured the products would be pretty good. The verdict? They’re really fucking good—and innovative, hydrating, and organic too. The brand’s hero product is their Self-Tanning Water that comes in light, medium, and dark shades. Each shade in their collection is color-coded: pink for light, green for medium, and purple for dark. I tried medium on my arms and legs (I had already had a pretty decent base tan) and the results were unreal. My orange-skinned college self was so envious. The water goes on as a clear mist (so again, you can judge the development of the tan) and all you need to do is pat dry with a tan mitt after the application and wait four to six hours for your tan to develop—and voilà, you end up looking like you’ve spent the week in Tulum. The tanning water is made with an exclusive blend of the brand’s SuperBalance complex to purposely reduce redness and soothe the skin, so again, if you have a natural red pigment in your skin, it gets canceled out so you look bronze, baby. As with any self-tanner, just make sure to wash your hands after applying to avoid any unwanted color gathering at your palms or between your fingers.
It’s common knowledge that the tan on your face fades the fastest as you tend to wash and exfoliate your face more often. So when I heard about the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops designed for your entire body, and especially your face, I knew I had to try it out. After cleansing and exfoliating your skin, simply apply 1-12 drops of the self-tanner to your favorite moisturizer and wait four to six hours as the tan develops. The more drops you add, the darker your tan will be. Just like IOP’s Self-Tanning Water, the Self-Tanning Drops are organic and infused with hydrating properties like avocado and coconut oils so your streak-free tan will also leave your skin smooth and moisturized.
If you’re looking for an instant bronze color while you wait for your actual tan to develop, NKD SKN’s Tinted Self Tan Mousse will get you a few shades darker right after application. The lightweight mousse goes on smooth and has a fresh, fruity scent so that you don’t have that typical spray tan smell as you wait for the mousse to work its magic. As for the actual tan, NKD SKN’s medium tan will get you a good two shades darker and gives a brown tan that I’m willing to bet is so much more natural-looking than any other self-tanner you’ve ever tried. The best part? Since the mousse goes on bronze, you’re able to see where you’re applying the tanner so you can ensure the coverage is even.
Everyone has probably used or at least seen a St. Tropez self-tanning product at some point in their life. Well, to stay with the times, the tan masters have recently released a tropical scented, clear water-foam self-tanner. While St. Tropez’s water mousse goes on clear, it delivers a golden tan that develops between four and eight hours—the longer you wait to shower after applying, the darker the tan will be.
To round out our list of the new wave of self-tanners is Vita Liberata’s now sold out foaming tan water, but sold out or not, it still deserves a spot on our list because it’s that fucking good. It goes on clear so there’s zero risk of the self-tanner transferring on to your clothes or sheets as it develops. And while the tan is a fierce, natural looking bronze color, it is safe enough to be used on your body AND face. What’s more is that it’s formulated with natural fruit extracts that contain anti-aging properties, so not only are you getting a safe tan without exposing your skin to UV rays that speed up the aging process, but you’re also providing your skin with anti-aging benefits.
August is upon us, which means we’re about to enter that traumatizing stage of summer where it’s too hot to even hit the “continue watching” button on Netflix let alone actually leave your house to go outside and live your life tan. Nope, not gonna happen. That said, I can’t let my laziness this weather deter me from looking like the bronzed goddess I was never genetically supposed to be. My only options now are self-tanner, which puts far too much pressure on me not to fuck up the process, or spray tans, aka the reason I looked like a blond Snooki at my senior year semi-formal. It’s a real Sophie’s choice. But at the end of the day using self-tanner requires the bare minimum amount of work so you know I’m out. Spray tans it is then. And nothing is worse than having to scour through Yelp to see which salon is the least hated by Internet trolls. So lucky for you I’ve braved my friend’s reviews the trolls and picked the best places in NYC to get spray tans without looking like Snooki.
1. Beach Bum Tanning
Average Price: $25
We’re into this place mostly because the price is ridiculous. Like, the last time I found any sort of service for less than $25 in New York City it looked sketchier than a Lifetime movie about online dating. So ya know, I’m glad there’s places like Beach Bum Tanning out there to restore trust issues. Plus the spray tanners at this venue mist on a hydrating toner to help prolong the life of your tan before airbrushing you. Blessings.The staff are also huge fans of contouring while they airbrush. So basically they can spray you ten pounds lighter even though you’ve spent the last 2-3 months being a hedonistic asshole. And they say money can’t buy happiness.
2. Gotham Glow
Average Price: $75
The best part about Gotham Glow is that they offer both in-studio services and also house calls. So if you’re lazy AF but, like, still want to look tan (hi) then you have the option of booking the appointment at your home and having the technician come directly to your home to spray tan you. What a world we live in. The in-studio spray tan costs around $75 while the house call service is more like $160 and up, but Gotham Glow is usually worth it. Especially because they can spray you in broader strokes, getting the job done in half the time thus letting you do other important shit with your day like Google whether Cole Sprouse is actually dating his costar on Riverdale because important.
3. Urban Tanz
Average Price: $60
Urban Tanz claims to be the “best tanning in Brooklyn” but, like, it’s Brooklyn and the average person in that area has the complexion of an extra on the set of Twilight so is that really saying much? That said, this place has hella good deals and discounts for large group packages just in case you and your friends want to GTL on a Saturday before hitting the bars. Definitely hit up Urban Tanz before any bridal/bachelorette events to ensure that no one looks like Casper in the group photo.
4. Faux Glow
Location: Midtown East
Average Price: $90
This place is a little more high-end, but if you can afford to waste your money treat yourself then Faux Glow is definitely worth it. The spray tanners are literal artists and spray you with surgical precision. They’re known for their long-lasting glow, most of which last longer than my online dating relationships (think 10 days) and the glow looks authentic AF.
5. The Spa @ Equinox
Location: Upper East Side
Average Price: $70
If you’re already a member of Equinox then congratuFUCKINGlations you get to be skinny, rich, and tan. Boo, you whore. But if you’re a peasant more like me then you’ll get some sort of sick satisfaction out of going to Equinox knowing that over your dead body would you spend $70 on a gym class but you wouldn’t hesitate to give them all your money for the perfect beach glow. Equinox is brand new to the airbrushing business and, like, they’re v eager to please. They even offer coffee and scones before the session because nothing makes me feel more comfortable shedding all my clothes in front of a stranger than carb loading right before. The session takes about 15 minutes and it’s 100 percent the best 15 minutes you’ll ever spend at the gym because instead of leaving sweaty and feeling like you want to die inside (just me?) you’ll leave looking glowy AF.
READ: 8 Tanning Myths You Should Have Stopped Believing Like, Yesterday
I’m a girl with no name if I’m not at least two shades darker than my original skin tone. Stepping off a Caribbean island is not only what I need pronto, but what I need to look like at all times. If my friends don’t greet me with, “ohmygod, you got sooo tan,” then honestly, what’s my purpose in life? Everyone knows being tan makes you an all around happier person. I’d say nicer, too, but then I’d be lying. I prefer to lay out on the beach instead of frying under cancer-causing rays in a machine that was used as a prop in a Final Destination movie. Um, yeah, no thanks. The sun works just fine.
However, laying out can be hella annoying when you want to get some color without tan lines. This isn’t Europe, there aren’t any nude beaches (not that I’d go, tbh), and I’m not about to flash the creepy guy next door. Thanks to retro bathing suit trends, I now have random geometric shapes printed all over my body and it’s not okay. Like, how awk is it if you have a D appointment and your hard-earned tan body just looks diseased?! Since we won’t boycott our fave swimsuit brands and nothing good ever comes easy, here’s how to cover up your tan lines because they are not sexy.
This is not, and I repeat, not the same as the self-tanner you probs use at home. If you ignore this or try to argue, you’ll look like an idiot so just know I’m usually always right. Using the Sephora Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation is absolutely a lifesaver for evening out awk tan lines. For less than $30, which is saying a lot for something that saves your sex life, you’ll have to find a shade closest to your new tan skin. While holding the can a decent distance away, spray directly onto the targeted areas. With a brush, beauty blender, or even your finger IDGAF, blend the shade into your tan lines for an oil-free seamless tan.
You’ll need to get your card ready and buy a new liquid, waterproof concealer like Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer that works best based on your fresh tan shade. You didn’t really need an excuse to buy from Sephora anyway, though. This concealer keeps your look down pat for a full 24 hours and stays sweat- and humidity-proof. Fucking gamechanger, I know. By using your fingers, fill in any uneven areas and blend onto your tanned skin to make sure the stripes on your waist are long gone. Trust me, it can’t even pass as a temporary henna tat. Use your everyday foundation to blend with for a flawless finish.
Customized Matte Bronzer
I mean, since it’s already July, chances are you were going to probably buy a new bronzer based on your new glow already. For covering up missed areas, whether that be on your chest or stomach, the Stila Stay All Day Bronzer For Face and Body does wonders. The fade-proof bronzing powder should be applied on areas your strappy bathing suit kept hidden from sunlight. By using a matte instead of shimmer bronzer, you’re going for a natural, smooth look so it doesn’t look like you showered half of your body in glitter. With the appropriate brush, blend all over the area for complete coverage. If your skin tone has pink or lighter tones, be sure to sample and find the right bronzer with rose gold or pearlescent hues. Just do what Kylie did and make swatches on someone else’s arm for you.
It’s not an average day for me unless I wake up to some sort of self-inflicted sabotage that’s ruining my life and my room décor. Usually it’s from makeup stains on my pillows, bedding, or the only shirt I’ve ever paid more than $30 for after a happy hour gone
wrong very right or a night spent avoiding human interaction re-watching Riverdale and getting so distracted by the onslaught of red heads on my screen that I forget to take my face makeup off. Either way the next morning I always have to take a good, hard look at my life choices destructive personality, ignore that moment of self-reflection, and figure out how the fuck to get rid of all these makeup stains. I’m assuming that you too are a garbage human so here’s how to get rid of every makeup stain that ruins your shit. You’re welcome.
My aesthetic for my room is all white everything because apparently I enjoy torturing myself. As someone who is dead inside, I also only wear vampy lip colors, which is a problem because I’m constantly fucking up my white sheets when I’m blackout. Lol it’s so fun to watch myself unravel in the mornings. ANYWAY, if you’ve got a lipstick stain I’m here to save you from wanting to jump out the second story window of your shitty apartment every time you wake up to purple lip stains and cuddling a half eaten bag of chips. First, spritz the stain with hairspray and let it sit for 10ish minutes. I know, it sounds a little batshit, but it works. Next, dab the spot with a sponge and throw it into the wash. If your sheets/shirt/pillow case need to be dry-cleaned then first of all, slow clap because you’ve made it in life, but also you should use tape of some sort to remove the stain. Try that or prayer.
Tbh I don’t wear a ton of foundation but when I do it 100 percent ends up on every surface in my apartment. Even places that don’t make sense like my bedroom wall or the faux-fur rug I thought would make my apartment look less like I live on a peasant’s salary and more like I live a Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle (Writer’s Note: It did not). The first thing you should do when dealing with foundation stains is to not freak out and call your mother because she will most likely not focus on the issue at hand and instead ask you some v personal questions like why you were too drunk to remove your face makeup on a Wednesday in the first place. As if that’s the real issue here. Next, treat foundation
fuck ups spills with a clarifying product like shaving cream or shampoo because both of these toiletries have cleaning agents that need to break through the stain before you throw it in the wash. Unless it’s your bedroom wall, then I would just recommend playing dumb with your landlord.
If you wear glitter so much in your life that you need this tutorial then first of all I’d just like to say, BLESS. Here’s to hoping all that molly hasn’t rotted your brain yet. But if you’re going to dress like an adult toddler, I guess I can give you some advice for how not to sabotage your living space with the glitter bomb that is your personal style and taste. If the glitter is a part of your outfit (i.e. a dress, skirt, or any other drug-induced music festival type attire) you should spray down the whole outfit with hair spray immediately. It will dull the shine of your outfit but it will also save your apartment floors from looking like a rental space for Forever21. If the glitter is incorporated in your makeup somehow—again, BLESS—use masking tape or a lint roller to remove the sparkles from your sheets, clothing, pillow cases, etc.
‘Tis the season to pretend like you enjoy leaving your couch by dousing yourself in enough self-tanner to not be shunned by your friend group. And because of this, everything I own is slowly turning orange through my best efforts to please my
Instagram followers friends. Ugh. So buckle up because removing this shit ain’t gonna be fun. First rinse the affected area under cold water. Then wet a sponge with any type of dish detergent to work the spot from the outside in. This will (hopefully) cut the oil in the tanning oil enough for the stain to come out. Other things that might work on the stain are hydrogen peroxide (but make sure to spot-check first in case the fabric’s color won’t lift and you screw yourself even more) or glycerin but only use that like the Bumble Bro you drunk Snapchat—when you’re desperate.
Waterproof Makeup Stains
Waterproof makeup stains are literal sabotage and also the reason I drink. Well, not so much the reason as the aftermath, but that’s neither here nor there. For long-lasting makeup formulations, you should blot the stain with makeup remover and pray to Jesus and the lady who writes your monthly horoscope that this shit comes out. Make sure that the formula you’re using is oil-free, though, or else you’re in for an even bigger shit show.
Deodorant stains have been ruining my life since 2002 and are also the reason my boss doesn’t like to make eye contact with me at the 9am staff meeting. This how-to is going to be especially relevant to those whose wardrobe consists of all black at all times (Hi). If you find yourself with white lines all over your body and you can’t pass it off as “Dylan’s Candy mess” or table décor (you’re fooling no one, Kimberly) then your saving grace is going to be a pair of tights or a dryer sheet. Rub the fabric against the deodorant mark and it’ll almost immediately come out off of the clothing. Blessings.