6 self-tanners that won’t leave fair skin streaky or orange
When it comes to self-tanning, there’s a fine line between getting that perfectly golden, just-stepped-off-the-beach bronze and potentially turning out straight-up Snooki orange. Fair-skinned ladies can probably relate to this fact best, especially since self-tanner formulas are not one-size-fits-all.
The way self-tanners work is through an active ingredient called DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which, as Harold Lancer, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist explained to HelloGiggles, when applied, comes into contact with the amino acids in the surface layer of the skin and creates a pigment or melanoidin. Different products contain different percentages of DHA, which determines the darkness of the tan.
“A lower percentage of DHA creates a more fair glow type tan,” explains Hannah Hatcher, a makeup artist and the global educator for Jane Iredale, “A higher percentage will create a deep, dark tan. However, for those with a more fair or pale skin tones, a lower percentage is usually recommended.”
Tanning products usually distinguish how pronounced the tanning action will be through the labels light, medium, and dark. These labels can help you pick the right product based on your skin color and the type of tan you want to achieve. When it comes to selecting the best self-tanner for fair skin, you ideally want to opt for a product labeled “light” or one that contains a lower percentage of DHA for a more natural, buildable color payoff.
If you’re looking for a safe, easy way to boost your natural color—especially since so many of us are staying inside right now to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)—here are the best self-tanners for fair skin.
Shop the best self-tanners for fair skin:
1. Coola Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist
Made with a blend of argan oil, vitamin C, hibiscus, and camomile extract, this nourishing oil is antioxidant-rich and ultra buildable. The micro-mist is fast-drying (so you won’t be left with pesky streaks) transfer-resistant, and lasts up to three days without washing off. Start with one thin layer and let it develop to see how your skin reacts, then build more for a deeper tan.
2. St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
This hydrating, lightweight formula is great for building a tan that’s natural and subtle, without overdoing it. The clear, transparent formula goes on best when applied with a tanning mitt and once it’s dry, won’t transfer or stain your clothes. Like most self-tanners, it develops over time, so you’ll see a golden bronze in four to eight hours after application. It’s so good that we gave it a Beauty Crush Award.
3. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Fair to Medium Skin Tones
An oldie but goodie, this emollient-rich Jergen’s moisturizer is formulated specifically for people with light to medium skin tones. It’s meant to be used daily—so the maximum depth of color can be achieved gradually, over about a week.
4. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water in Light
Isle of Paradise uses color-corrective technology to target each skin tone with the perfect faux glow—it’s the company behind everybody on TikTok’s effortless tan. The peachy tones in their “light” formula work to reduce redness and calm the skin while creating a natural tan that’s never orange. It’s also created with avocado, chia seed, and coconut oils for happy, hydrated skin that will extend the life of your tan.
5. Tan-Luxe The Gradual Illuminating Gradual Tan Lotion
A hybrid between a tanning oil and a lotion, this ultra-light, quick-drying formula practically melts into skin, and be used daily for a natural, radiant bronze. Expert self-tanners can even add a few drops of tanning water for a little deeper color.
6. m-61 Hydraboost Body Butter Gradual Tan
This tinted body butter builds an effortless, streak-free tan while also firming skin with nourishing peptides. The results are subtle, but you can build on the color by using it daily. Bonus points for the aloe, coconut oil, and shea butter that help soothe, soften, and hydrate.
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