Tan smarter and look your best this beach season by trying one of these products.
Brad Popkin and Barret Wertz 1 / 12
Catching rays from inside the bed of a tanning salon may be easier than venturing off to the beach, but it’s not going to do your health any good. Research shows there is a clear link between indoor tanning beds and skin cancer.
The good news is that people are finally taking note and ditching the habit, according to a new study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overall, the rates of tanning inside dropped from 5.5 percent to 4.2 percent from 2010 to 2013. However, 1.9 million men still hit the tanning bed (!) and guys between the ages of 40-49, saw their usage balloon 177 percent during the three-year period.
If you're still one in the 1.9 million, consider quitting today—there are better, healthier, ways to accomplish that look you want. From gels to sprays to lotions, here are 11 self-tanners to try today.
Why this one: If you are looking for something on the easier side, this Neutrogena MicroMist spray is the way to go. It's one of the best in it's price category. As with all self-tanners, use sparingly on the rough spots (elbows, knees and bottoms of feet). The directions say you don't have to rub it in, but we suggest doing it anyway. Just make sure to always wash your hands really well (around the wrist and fingernails especially).
Why this one: This Vita Liberata Tinted Mousse shows exactly where you apply to help avoid mistakes from the get-go. It gives instant dark color and is designed to wash off after 4-8 hours, depending on desired level of tan (not to worry, it evens out upon rinse off). As with all tanners, exfoliate prior to applying and don't cover your body with lotion*, as it prevents absorbstion of DHA (Dihydroxyacetone), the ingredient that makes your skin darker.
*Quick Tip: Apply lotion lightly to elbows, knees, and bottoms of feet to help prevent the dreaded orange tint.
Why this one: Gel tanning is great in the Summer months as it feels less sticky than it's lotion counterparts. Hampton Sun Tanning Gel is pretty awesome because it gives you a strong, gradual glow. One thing: You have to be a little more careful to give yourself some extra time to let the product dry. If you put on overnight and shower (using soap, but don't exfoliate) in the morning, the chance of rub-off decrease dramatically.
Why this one: Probably one of the more saturated categories, self-tanning lotions have been around a long time. This one from Avène tops the list because the of its delicate make up. Using Avène Thermal Spring Water, known for it's soothing, anti-irritating properties, means it is great for even those with sensitive skin. It smells pretty good and the color is great and gradual. It is noticeable after the first application (it isn't a build-a-tan type application) but it is subtle enough to not show off any mistakes you may have made.
Why this one: The face is probably one of the most important parts of the body to get right when you're self tanning. So using something that is especially intended for that money-maker of yours is key. The Sisley Hydrating Facial Skin Care uses a combination of two complementary self-tanning molecules - DHA and Erythrulose - to help create one of the closest-to-natural tans possible. So perfect for the face, this was used on all cast members of a little record-breaking film you may have heard of, Jurassic World, with Men's Fitness cover guy you've probably seen around lately, Chris Pratt. For the face, avoid the eyebrows and roots of hair, but don't forget the back of the neck and ears. Think about where the sun hits your face, and try to copy that.
Why this one: One of the fastest drying methods, the liquid is preferred by many because of it’s ease of distribution and visibility. It is rare you will see a drip or a streak with a liquid. They tend to be the most transfer-resistant and most comfortable to wear out if you don’t feel like making a night of tanning or can't shower again after applying. And given that the mitt in the self tanning process is key, Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tan Liquid is nice enough to come with one.
Why this one: As the Number 1 mass tanning brand out there, L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze is known for achieving that sun-kissed color. Launched in 2015, this serum is the newest and a more concentrated liquid than others mentioned here, and therefore can last up to twice as long (two weeks). As with any other serum, it penetrates deeper, affecting the layers of skin further down, allowing for the fade to be as natural as possible. Combining a more intense product, like this one, with a daily gradual product can be the perfect way to maintain the color with as little hassle as possible.
Why this one: These guys are easy to pack in a gym bag (yes, in a gym bag) or to travel with (say, you’re heading to a wedding or on vacation and want to keep the golden glow going while you’re gone). These Alpha Beta Glow Pads for Body from Dr. Dennis Gross have quite the added benefit: AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) for anti-aging.
Why this one: Unlike any other tanning medium seen on the market, this St. Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan takes a lot of the guess work out of the tanning process. (“Did I get too much on my elbows?” “Did I wash my hands well enough?” “Did I forget to scrub my knees?”) Since this is gradual, AND activated right after the shower, it is really a great way to achieve subtle results on the fly, without having to wait 20 minutes or two hours to allow to set and dry. St. Tropez is one of the big names in the tanning industry, which should put this product on top of your “try” list.
Why this one: Sometimes all you need is just a little color so as to not look dead (think back to those winter months when a simple glow would be a game-changer). This Tom Ford Bronzing Gel is one of the best when it comes to getting you that bronze glow. No shimmer, non-greasy, just a little color—that’s all. Remember this: just like most tanning products, this does NOT contain an SPF, so it should be paired with the one you use daily. And since this does not have the DHA to dye your skin, this can be paired with your other self tanning products. Dab a little just where the sun would hit (forehead, nose, cheeks, chin and base of neck) and it will provide just enough depth, with or without self-tanner, to achieve a near perfect complexion.
Why this one: Providing just a hint of universally-flattering color using special, slow release microcapsules, this oil-free moisturizer with SPF 30 also delivers powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to fight visible signs of aging. That’s always a plus.