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It’s the dead of winter and your legs haven’t seen the light of day in ages, I’m sure. But if you’re putting on a dress or just need little pick-me-up, here is my favorite full body tanner and my favorite drops to put on my face for a little extra glow.

outfit details:
similar robe HERE

Need a little color for your legs, or a little glow for your face? Here are my favorite self tanner products.

I share this exact blog post every single year, but it’s one of my most frequently asked questions, and when you find a self tanner that works, you have to share!

For full body: 

For full body application:

For my face:

This is what I love about St. Tropez self tanner

This dis my original favorite. It goes on beautifully, it lasts really well, and the color is perfect. I use the shade Dark and one coat gives me exactly the color I want.

  • Instant color, no waiting for it to activate
  • Natural color (not orange at all)
  • Goes on very evenly (I use THIS APPLICATOR MITT)
  • Doesn’t have a harsh, weird smell like a lot of self tanners
  • Lasts for days
  • The Dark color gives me the color I want with one application
  • One large bottle lasts me months.

This is what I love about Bondi Sands self tanner

I discovered this self tanner last year and it’s VERY similar to St. Tropez. The color is almost identical (I use the shade Dark too), and I think it smells even better than St. Tropez. More like a lotion smell than a self tanner smell.

  • Instant color, no waiting for it to activate
  • Beautiful, natural color
  • Totally streak free (I use THIS APPLICATOR MITT)
  • Smells better than all other self tanners I’ve used
  • The Dark shade gives me the color I want with one application
  • Way more affordable than St. Tropez

One downside…the color doesn’t last as long for me as St. Tropez lasts.

This is what I love about Tan Luxe self tanner drops for face

I’ve been using these self tanner drops for about a year and they’re a great way to get a little glow on your face without using the other self tanners (I never use those on my face…they don’t go on very naturally). Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly  after applying, or you’ll wake up with bright orange palms that stay that way for days. I wish I didn’t know from experience…

  • You mix with your moisturizer at night and wake up to a glowy face
  • 2-4 drops in your moisturizer is all you need, so the bottle lasts for months
  • Easy to apply and it’s streak free
  • The smell is good! It has a bit of a “tanner” smell, but not bad at all.
  • The color “Dark” gives me a perfect amount of glow using 2-4 drops.

To get the best long-lasting results with self tanner, here’s what I do.

  • Take a shower in the morning and exfoliate your entire body.
  • Get out, dry off, and apply lotion to your entire body (any kind will do).
  • Once your lotion is settled in, apply 2-3 pumps of the foam to your mitt and rub in a circular motion as you apply evenly to your body.
  • For the dark color, I do just one of color on my entire body, letting the first coat dry for a minute or two before applying the second coat.
  • Toss on a lightweight robe or some loose fitting clothing you don’t mind getting color on (although it does come off in the wash without a problem!) and let it dry for a couple of hours.
  • You do not want your body to get wet for the next few hours — I try to not even wash my hands for as long as possible.
  • Go to bed that night without showering, then shower in the morning when you’ve hit the 24 hour mark. You’ll see some color come off, but don’t worry, that’s just the instant color. The rest of the color is activating.
  • If you want a bit of a darker color, get out of the shower and repeat the application again (without the exfoliation and lotion part).

I usually do this for 2 days in a row to get a nice base color, and then I can apply about once a week for touchups and to keep the color.

If you need a quick dose of color for your legs…

During the winter, I RARELY do this full body routine.

I just do one quick layer on my lower arms and my lower legs and my neck/chest area when I’m putting on something that shows my legs and some of my arms.

It gives you a quick, instant tan that dries almost instantly and doesn’t rub off on things. It’s a game changer for Sundays when I’m putting on a dress and have the pastiest legs in the land.

If you don’t like mousse, try this gradual tan lotion

Two years ago, I discovered this Banana Boat gradual tan lotion. If you’re nervous about the mousse, this is a good alternative.

You can apply this every day as your normal lotion and build up a nice color.

My only complaint about this lotion is that it doesn’t do as well on your hands and feet. If it gets in between your fingers and toes and the lotion just sits there, it can turn dark orange. So whenever I put it on, I go back with a washcloth and wipe between all my fingers and toes to avoid build up.

Also it has a pretty “self tanner” kind of smell! But overall, it’s a good one.

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, YOU NIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE POSTS:

My Favorite Self Tanners for an Instant Glow

I've tried a ton of self tanners and this is by far my favorite

We’re coming out of winter and your legs haven’t seen the light of day in ages, I’m sure. If you’re putting on a dress or just need little pick-me-up, here are my favorite full body self tanners and my favorite drops to put on my face for a little extra glow.

 

outfit details:
similar robe HERE

 

Need a little color for your legs, or a little glow for your face? Here are my favorite self tanner products.

I share this exact blog post every single year, but it’s one of my most frequently asked questions, and when you find a self tanner that works, you have to share!

For full body: 

For full body application:

For my face:

 

This is what I love about St. Tropez self tanner

This one goes on beautifully, it lasts really well, and the color is perfect. I use the shade Dark and one coat gives me exactly the color I want. I used to use the lighter color, but it took two coats to get the color I wanted and used twice the amount of product, so I switched to dark and one coat does the trick.

  • Instant color, no waiting for it to activate
  • Natural color (not orange at all)
  • Goes on very evenly (I use THIS APPLICATOR MITT)
  • Doesn’t have a harsh, weird smell like a lot of self tanners
  • Lasts for days
  • The Dark color gives me the color I want with one application
  • One large bottle lasts me months, applying twice a week.

This is what I love about Bondi Sands self tanner

I discovered this self tanner a couple years ago after using only St. Tropez for years and it’s VERY similar to St. Tropez. The color is almost identical (I use the shade Dark too), and I think it smells even better than St. Tropez. More like a lotion smell than a self tanner smell.

  • Instant color, no waiting for it to activate
  • Beautiful, natural color
  • Totally streak free (I use THIS APPLICATOR MITT)
  • Smells better than all other self tanners I’ve used
  • The Dark shade gives me the color I want with one application
  • Way more affordable than St. Tropez

One downside…the color doesn’t last quite as long for me as St. Tropez. It still stays on for a few days, but I can’t get it to last the whole week.

 

This is what I love about Loving Tan self tanner

I picked up this tanner after my friend Leanne talked about it and thought I’d give it a try. She recommended the 2-hour express in dark, and I love that I don’t have to wait a full day for the color to set. I can apply, get instant color, shower two hours later, and the color is there to stay. The other two above need to sit for a full day (or overnight)…if you shower this fast, it mostly washes away.

  • Quick application and setting
  • Natural color (not orange at all), but it is more burgundy, so a little goes a long way. I applied my regular amount the first time I tried and my legs were dark purple!!
  • Goes on very evenly (I use THIS APPLICATOR MITT)
  • Has almost no smell! The others have a smell, although it’s not bad, but this one has very little smell at all. You don’t smell like self tanner all day!
  • Lasts for days
  • Has a remover gel to take off color that gets stuck on your ankles and feet. 
  • The Dark color gives me the color I want with one application, but be aware this is VERY DARK. Start with a smaller amount than normal.
  • One large bottle lasts me months, applying twice a week.

One downside, this is the most expensive of the three!

 

This is what I love about Tan Luxe self tanner drops for face

I’ve been using these self tanner drops for about a year and they’re a great way to get a little glow on your face without using the other self tanners (I never use those on my face…they don’t go on very naturally). Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly  after applying, or you’ll wake up with bright orange palms that stay that way for days. I wish I didn’t know from experience…

  • You mix with your moisturizer at night and wake up to a glowy face
  • 2-4 drops in your moisturizer is all you need, so the bottle lasts for months
  • Easy to apply and it’s streak free
  • The smell is good! It has a bit of a “tanner” smell, but not bad at all.
  • The color “Dark” gives me a perfect amount of glow using 2-4 drops.

 

the best self tanner for a natural summer tan
the very best self tanner for a perfect, natural looking summer tan!

To get the best long-lasting results with self tanner, here’s what I do.

  • Take a shower in the morning and exfoliate your entire body.
  • Get out, dry off, and apply lotion to your entire body (any kind will do).
  • Once your lotion is settled in, apply 2-3 pumps of the foam to your mitt and rub in a circular motion as you apply evenly to your body.
  • For the dark color, I do just one of color on my entire body, letting the first coat dry for a minute or two before applying the second coat.
  • Toss on a lightweight robe or some loose fitting clothing you don’t mind getting color on (although it does come off in the wash without a problem!) and let it dry for a couple of hours.
  • You do not want your body to get wet for the next few hours — I try to not even wash my hands for as long as possible.
  • Go to bed that night without showering, then shower in the morning when you’ve hit the 24 hour mark. You’ll see some color come off, but don’t worry, that’s just the instant color. The rest of the color is activating.
  • If you want a bit of a darker color, get out of the shower and repeat the application again (without the exfoliation and lotion part).

I usually do this for 2 days in a row to get a nice base color, and then I can apply about once a week for touchups and to keep the color.

 

If you need a quick dose of color for your legs…

During the winter, I RARELY do this full body routine.

I just do one quick layer on my lower arms and my lower legs and my neck/chest area when I’m putting on something that shows my legs and some of my arms.

It gives you a quick, instant tan that dries almost instantly and doesn’t rub off on things. It’s a game changer for Sundays when I’m putting on a dress and have the pastiest legs in the land.

 

If you don’t like mousse, try this gradual tan lotion

A few years ago, I used this Banana Boat gradual tan lotion for the whole summer. If you’re nervous about the mousse, this is a good alternative.

You can apply this every day as your normal lotion and build up a nice color.

My only complaint about this lotion is that it doesn’t do as well on your hands and feet. If it gets in between your fingers and toes and the lotion just sits there, it can turn dark orange. So whenever I put it on, I go back with a washcloth and wipe between all my fingers and toes to avoid build up.

Also it has a pretty “self tanner” kind of smell! But overall, it’s a good one.

 

I’m sharing a real time application on my instagram this morning if you want to check it out!

 

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, YOU NIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE POSTS:

24 Comments

  1. Michelle Butters says:

    How do you get your back with the self tanner so that it doesn’t look wierd if you are wearing a swimsuit? Also, Do you exfoliate with anything special? Thanks

  2. Abby says:

    Do you have any tricks for how to get a smooth application on your hands and feet? That is the part that trips me up the most. Thank you!

  3. Cheyenne says:

    Hello! I use this stuff too and i love it! But i noticed some of it coming off when i get in the pool. Does this happen to you too? Or am i maybe doIng something wrong?

  4. Colleen says:

    THanks for this post, i JUST STARTING USING THIS TANNER AND THESE TIPS ARE GREAT! i WANT A GOOD EXFOLIATOR THOUGH, THE ONES i’VE TRIED DON’T SEEM TO SCRUB WELL. aDVICE ON ONES YOU REALLY LIKE?

    • Alicia Arkell says:

      I love the Exfoliating gloves you can get at the Drugstore, that way you can just use your regular soap. They work amazing.

  5. Hannah Bowlds says:

    Do you have a preference between the regular mousse and the express st. tropez? Would you follow the same routine with both?

  6. Marta says:

    I’ve heard so many good things about St. Tropez tanning products and I’ve always been eager to try self-tanning as I’m pretty pale. I think I’m gonna do it this spring while I don’t get a bit of natural colour from being in the sun more often. And I’m definitely gonna follow your tips but I have a question, do I really have to leave it on for 24 hours? If I take a shower and exfoliate and do all the things you mentioned at night before going to bed and then shower it off in the morning will that still work or won’t it work at all?

  7. Britt says:

    I HAVE BEEN looking for a good applicator mitt! Thanks so much for SHARING. Do you run the mitt THROUGH the wash after use or wash by hand?

  8. Alisa says:

    HOW LONG DOES AN 8OZ BOTTLE OF ST. TROPEZ USUALLY LAST (as in, how many applications)?

  9. Patsy says:

    You have such cute style, love it! Thanks for the inspo 🙂

  10. gomovies says:

    Your article inspires great, thank you very much.

  11. […] If you’ve been here for a while, you know I absolutely love this ST. TROPEZ SELF TANNER. If you need an instant tanner in the morning when you go to put on a dress, this is your stuff. It’s a perfect color, goes on super streak free, and lasts a couple of days. I have a whole post about THIS SELF TANNER. […]

  12. Laurie says:

    I love that robe! Can you please share where it is from? Thank you!

  13. Roshni Mudapa says:

    I would love to know where your Robe is From Too, please? 🙂

  14. Ann says:

    It sounds as though one a day a week you are pretty much home bound?

  15. Robin Webb says:

    i’ve been following you for years merrick, and when i saw your pic on this post in front of the arch i said “no way!” I’ve lived in st. louis my whole life and am now raising my own family here. it’s a great place to live and raise kids, lots of great public and privat schools. we love it and i hope you will love it here too! best of luck with your move!

  16. free games says:

    There is a staggering quantity of information on your website.

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