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The Best Self-Tanner To Use If You Love Spray Tans, But Can't Afford Them

The Best Self-Tanner To Use If You Love Spray Tans, But Can't Afford Them

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The very wise Snooki once said, “when you’re tan, you feel better about yourself.” You know what? I couldn't agree more. But instead of "fake-baking" in the beds down at the Jersey Shore, I prefer a sun-kissed glow minus the skin damage. (Side note: Please, please, please never go in a tanning bed! Thanks!)

It wasn’t until last year that I had my first spray tan experience. I instantly felt a boost of confidence—and it was MAGICAL. The tan perfectly contoured my body (the Kim Kardashian impact is too real) and gave me abs, defined collar bones, and muscle lines on my arms and legs. I can’t count the number of pictures I took with my “new” body or how often I thought about never working out again and continue to draw those babies on forever.

The bad news? If I kept up a spray tan habit, I’d probably go broke. At that point, I was in desperate need for a budget-friendly alternative that gave similar results. But it wasn’t until after Coachella (an occasion deemed worthy of another spray tan) that I made the decision to try self-tanner.

After careful research, I went with the St. Tropez Self Express Bronzing Mousse ($44). The word "express" seemed the least intimidating. I also bought the Applicator Mitt ($7) to go with it. 

To apply the mousse, I began at my ankles and worked my up in a long, sweeping motion. The color is buildable and absorbs quickly, so you don't have to worry about streaks. The longer you leave it on before a shower, the deeper the shade. I left mine on for two hours, and it gave me a sun-kissed glow that lasted for a few days. 

Let's talk about the scent. It smells more like a perfume, and not your typical bottle of self-tanner. Talk about a relief! It's also super hydrating, so if I do it often it's not going to dry out my skin. 

Am I done with spray tans? No way! I'll still treat myself. They definitely last longer. Plus, there's nothing better than standing there while a professional sculpts contour lines on your body. But in the meantime, I've learned that a good self-tanner has it's own set of benefits to enjoy: 

Price

With the number of tans you get from one product, even the most expensive option will be a fraction of the price of a spray tan. 

Convenience

You don't have to make an appointment, drive to the salon, etc. It can be a production. 

Application:

Maybe you won't get those “I’m going to cancel my gym membership” contour lines. But with an Applicator Mitt or sculpting brush, I can reach every part of my back. Doesn't that count as something?! 

Either way, I love that I can achieve a natural-looking tan without the harmful UV rays, whether it’s from my bottle of St. Tropez Self Express Bronzing Mousse or at the salon.

Do you use a self-tanner? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover photo by Adam Kontor

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