For the last few months I have been experimenting around with a bunch of different tanners trying to find the best one for me. By doing this I have found some absolute gems and some that I absolutely hate (these might surprise you). I have even made some YouTube reviews on some of these self-tanners which you can check out HERE!
I for one have extremely fair skin which I don’t mind during the winter months. However during spring and summer when I’m trying to wear more shorts and dresses I don’t want to blind anyone who might look at my stark white legs. Not to mention being so pale I get flushed easily during these hot summer days and having a little self-tanner on helps make it less noticeable. So it’s really a win-win for me.
I have only used self-tanner 2 others times before I started experimenting with new ones these last few months. I can actually tell you the 2 times I tried self-tanner, once on my honeymoon in 2014 and once for a friend’s wedding in 2014, and that’s it! I know that seems really crazy, but I have never been into beauty supplies before and had no idea what I was looking for or how to use self-tanner. BTW, I used to YouTube videos on how to apply self-tanner and different reviews for weeks to figure out how to not look like an orange traffic cone.
I highly suggest researching reviews and tutorials first because some of the reviews online can be misleading about a product consistency or color, but videos don’t lie. Well, I guess they can, but you get the idea.
Anyways, so after many trials and errors with different brands I have come up with a breakdown of all the self-tanners for you.
I will tell you which one is my favorite and the ones I will be reordering. However, I think everyone is different and wants different outcomes from their self-tanner, so I will just give you a basic breakdown of my experience with each so that you can make a better informed decision on which would be best for you.
Ok, so let’s dive right in!
Self-Tanner Head to Head Review
So this little guy is something I heard a BUNCH of blogger rave about so I decided to give it a try myself. The reviews online were pretty good and the YouTube tutorials I viewed look pretty straight forward. However, this stuff is just not the one for me. I will be blunt here, I HATE this stuff! lol, I seriously do not understand the hype around it, but to each their own. So, here’s the breakdown of it:
Formula: green tint foam (must use mitt)
Color: goes on a nice deep tan color, which looks beautiful! However, after shower the stuff color guard off ALL the color came off with it! lol I thought this was seriously a joke as my whole shower got stained this terrible greenish-tan color. Not a fan.
Develop time: Takes 4-8 hours to develop. I tried both 4 hours did nothing for me and 8 hours gave a very light tan.
End color/tan: This barely tanned me. I had to lay on 2 thick layers (which did not dry and was sticky).
Consistency/Color transfer: It was uncomfortable to let it develop. It rubbed off on everything I touched and my clothes while developing. I had to seriously lay on a towel in my living room and touch nothing for 6 hours. Obviously, you cannot sleep in it since it stains every. All in all this was a total bust and I will never be repurchasing.
Price: $18-42 at Ulta
Moving on to:
Isle of paradise self-tanning drops
I love this little bottle. My favorite part is it is cruelty free, vegan friendly and non-toxic. That right there is a rare find in self-tanner. If you want to hear me rave all about it more in depth then check out my YouTube tutorial HERE but for now I’ll keep it brief with this breakdown:
Formula: liquid with dropper included
Color: There is no color guard. This liquid is clear and you simply apply 1-12 drops of this to your favorite lotion and then let it develop.
Develop time: this can take anywhere from 3-6 hours for a full developed tan. I sleep in this is it has been fine to leave on longer.
End Color/tan: this is a gorgeous light bronzed color when it is done developing. The best part is you can pick the shade of tan you would like to be. This comes in light, medium and dark. I personally use the medium shade with 3-4 drops for my face and body to get a next medium tan. If you want to tan to be darker than just use more drops (Aka closer to the max 12 drop range).
Transfer: This did not stain any of my clothes or sheets. I can put this one and just go about me day.
Smell: The smell is the usual self-tanner developing smell but nothing over powering. You can still go out in public without feeling smelly.
Consistency: this was not stick or greasy. The consistency will be whatever lotion you put it into. I use Lubriderm or everyone’s lotion and they both work perfect for this.
Price: the cost was $34 on beauty bay
And the last one is:
Million Dollar Tan
This is the original tanner that I used back in 2014 the first time I tried tanning. And I remembered it being really easy to use and loving my tan for a whole week long vacation. So I decided to reorder it and give it another go and I’m so glad I did!
Formula: for body- white lotion (I use the cabana bay formula). For the face- tan lotion (these come in separate bottles and I highly suggest getting both)
Color: The Body lotion is white so it will go on clear/white and you just rub it into your skin like regular lotion. There is no color guard (which I like) so you just need to make sure you are aware of where you are placing it. The face lotion is tan color but still rubs on like a regular lotion and does not tint you face tan or anything. The color of the tan after developing is a medium bronzed color. I prefer a medium tan on my skin color but they do make darker formulas if you prefer that.
Develop time: this take 6-8 hours to develop and I find it’s best to sleep in it.
Transfer: The color did not transfer to me clothes or sheets (I have a white comforter).
Smell: this is the usual self-tanner smell when developing. I sleep in it so I don’t really notice it and can barely smell it in the morning.
Consistency: This is a thick lotion and so I little will go a long way. Just apply to skin and then rub in. It takes a little bit of time to fully rub the lotion in but you will know it is fully rubbed in once the white color is gone and you skin feels dry to the touch. This dries quickly so you can put clothes on right after applying. I kid you not this took me 5 minutes to apply the other night and I immediately put on my pajamas and jumped in bed. It’s amazing convenient.
Price: this is by far one of the more expensive ones out there at $79 for 1, 8oz bottle but it’s worth the money so how easy it is to use and the amazing color it gives.
And that’s all folks!
So, as you can see there is a big range in price and formulas across all these options. I personally will be reordering Million Dollar Tan and Isle of Paradise again since I loved both of these so much. As you can tell from above St. Tropez is a no-go for me and will not be using the rest of my bottle since it was such a hassle.
I plan to actually try more of Isle of Paradise self-tanning line in the future since they have so many different options. Plus, I love that it is a healthier self-tanner option for all you vegan and wellness lovers out there.
As for my current self-tanner routine I am using Million Dollar Tan at bedtime once a week. I apply 3 drops of Isle of paradise on my face and neck every 3 days. In my experience the tan fades quicker from my face and neck because I exfoliate and wash my face more, so the tan will tan faster there.
I hope you found this self-tanner head to head review helpful for your own self-tanning journey. But just remember everyone is different and what works for one might be different for someone else so just try a couple out till you find the perfect one for your needs!