Have you heard the saying, “the only safe tan is a fake tan?” Well it’s true! Sad as hell, but true.
Trust me-I don’t want it to be. I remember taking the best power naps of my life in tanning beds in high school. I also remember a bee getting in a tanning bed I was in and having to get out, fully nude mind you, and swat it away. Ahh, memories.
Anyways, onto the subject at hand. I’ll try to make it as entertaining as the risk of skin cancer can be.
I have recently become more concerned with sun safety. My dear mom just had basal cell carcinoma removed from her nose. It freaked me out because although my mom lived through the era of baby oiling yourself on a tin roof, I’ve been no sun saint. I have run since 8th grade, outside 99% of the time. On really hot summer days, I’d put sunscreen on my shoulders and chest, but not always, and not always my face. I ran a marathon last fall and I shudder to think about the hours and hours of time I spent running outside training and without sunscreen…
Now that I work at Sephora, I have learned a fascinating amount about skincare. Fascinating…but horrifying at the same time. On a recent visit from our beauty educator, I learned this scary fact: UVB rays can penetrate to the bone. UVA rays can penetrate up to a half a mile into the earth’s surface. UH WHAT. So I’m turning over a new skincare leaf. I have to start wearing sunscreen on the daily. There are numerous great options in self tanners and bronzers now so you can be as tan as you want without the skin cancer scariness.
I’ve tried many, many, many sunless tanners! I am a dork so I even did an “informative” speech on sunless tanners in college. Haha, I am so cool. The upside to sunless/self tanners is that they are 100% safe, can be done in the privacy of your own home and work quickly. The downside is mainly that they stink. And not the worst smell in the world, but just a peculiar starchy smell. It results from the interaction between the top layer of your skin and the dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active chemical in all sunless tanners. Without it, it wouldn’t work so it’s a necessary evil. My husband said our cats once smelled like self tanner because of me, haha.
Here are some sun protection and sunless products worth using, and often!
DAILY SUN PROTECTION
• Shiseido Urban Environment Protection Cream
• Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral in SPF 30 or 45
This is a powder sunscreen. I love it because there is no stickiness, it’s quick to apply and it’s a physical sunscreen (as opposed to chemical) so it is effective immediately. If you exercise outdoors, and often skip the step of applying suncreen, this could get you out the door protected in no time!
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE PROTECTION
• Ocean Potion
These sunscreens smell like creamsicle! Mmm! I can haz eat them?
• Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion
Shieseido is the oldest skincare company in the world and one of the best to boot!
• Benefit Hoola
Not too orange, not too brown. Winner, winner, be bronzed by dinner.
• NYC Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny
The reigning drugstore bronzer champion!
• NARS Body Glow
The monoi oil in this smells heavenly! This gives a nice, subtle glow and hydration. I like to rub it on my arms and legs, especially for night.
• bareminerals Faux Tan Body and Faux Tan Gradual Glow Face
Ok, this is it. The clear winner for me. Here is what makes bareminerals Faux Tan the best I’ve tried:
Most importantly-doesn’t smell like starchy sweaty stink! The body formula has a very pleasant cherry almond scent at first and even as the tan develops, it is a minimal to non-existent self tanner smell. This is the only self tanner I could apply and go to work or out and about not worrying I stink. Also, this is not sticky, like at ALL. You can apply to your body and get dressed shortly thereafter. I also feel that the tan that this produces is very realistic and mimics my natural tan almost perfectly. The formula is tinted, allowing you to see exactly where you’re applying and identify streaks early on. You also get some instant color which is nice. I also love that this is a paraben-free product. I recommend applying this with a mitt as it is prone to staining hands easily and the mitt makes for quick and even application. The only downfall, if any, is that you may need to do 2 applications before you get a really good tan going.
• Sonia Kashuk Golden Tanning Towelettes
Not sticky, not messy, easy to do! Definitely my favorite affordable option. FYI-you will likely need 2 towelettes to do your whole body.
• Jergens Natural Glow Face
No breakout issues with this, minimal stickiness, absorbs quickly. I’ve used this face self tanner for years without any issues.
• Jergens Natural Glow Express
I really like this because the smell is fairly minimal and it really does give good color payoff quickly. It isn’t a gradual self tanner like most in the Jergens line.
Gradual?! Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
• LORAC SelfTANtalizer
Very minimal self-tanner smell with this and good color payoff too!
Important warning: If you are using a retinol product or skincare product containing hydroquinone, please, please, please only use your retinol products at night and wear a very high SPF sunscreen daily!
These make your skin vastly more susceptible to sun damage and skin cancers!
Go on and be a little sun bunny! Just make sure it’s a tan from a tube or a compact and protect the skin you’re in!