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I Tried Out Self-Tanners And Became Orange So That You Don't Have To

I became orange so that you (hopefully) don't have to.

Hi, it's me, Lara. Like many people, I like having a nice ~summer glow~ to my skin. But I don't like skin damage, wrinkles, and sunburn.

So I chose four of the most popular self-tanners on the market to see which one worked the best.

Jergens, L'Oreal, St. Tropez, Kardashian

Come on this journey with me, and rest assured that I became orange so that you (hopefully) won't have to.

I rated each self-tanner on overall product, usability, durability, and of course how the tan actually looked! And to ensure accuracy, I waited at least a week in between to let my skin recover and become its natural color again. I also used lemon juice to remove prior color when necessary. #Hack.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($8.21)

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

When I think about using this product, I am filled with one overwhelming thought and memory, which is that this stuff SMELLS. I hate the smell of this. It lingers, and never truly goes away. If I had to describe the smell, I would say it smells like a plastic bottle full of chemicals that you left sitting in the sun for six hours. Hot, melted, gooey chemical smell. This formula also leaves you feeling sticky and residue-y. I found that I preferred putting it on at night because then it didn't feel as sticky all day, but the downside is that my sheets and blankets reeked and felt sticky.

As far as overall color? Not so great for an instant tan, but decent for a gradual color. It takes several days to show up, and when it does, it's so subtle you honestly don't even know it's there. It takes effort to get the color! Which could be a good thing, depending on what you're looking for in a self-tanner. But beware of putting this anywhere near your armpits. You'll never recover from the smell. I'm not sure why, probably some sort of technical term, but armpit sweat mixed with this self-tanner = death. TL;DR: The color doesn't last or show up to the party until late, it smells, and it's sticky. But it's affordable. So if you're looking for a very subtle color with little hassle, this one is for you. It's not for me, ever again.

Overall rating: 4/10

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Towelettes ($8.16)

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

OK, to start, this product gets a lot of points for coming in towelette form because it is so much easier to apply. It also doesn't have too potent of a smell, which made me happy, considering my experience with Jergens. However, you cannot tell AT ALL that color is coming off the towelette when applying to your skin, so be careful to make sure you don't end up streaky. (I did, lol.)

I did appreciate the fact that they encourage you to use this on your face, and I did so, with no breakouts to report, but I definitely wouldn't suggest using it on your face more than one day in a row. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. I had an orange mustache. Otherwise, for the price, this product is pretty dang good. The color wasn't super noticeable, but I definitely felt like I glowed a little bit more with it on. And I never felt overly sticky or residue-y. I would use this again simply because it was so easy to use and I am lazy.

Overall Rating: 6/10

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($27.95) + Application Mitt ($6.50)

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

St. Tropez is the real MVP here. I was excited to try this because it seemed fancy and I had heard good things from friends in the past. Plus the Amazon reviews were promising. And I was not disappointed! But first things first, MAKE SURE YOU ORDER A MITT TO APPLY. It saves your hands and makes the product go on much smoother. You basically just squirt a golf-ball sized amount onto the mitt and rub it onto your skin in a circular motion.

Overall, I loved the color of this product. In my opinion, it looked like I had just spent some time in the sun on vacation as opposed to slathered my skin in my bathroom. But, with that being said, a little goes a long way, and it's certainly easy to overdo with this color. In case you were wondering, I didn't notice any sort of weird smell. Though, I gotta say, the night that I applied it I didn't sleep at all, because I was worried it would be all over my sheets. (It wasn't.) The best part about this stuff, though, is that it stays on forever. I had some color to my skin for at least two weeks. Pretty impressive. Would I use this again? Yes. I already have.

Overall Rating: 10/10

This is what my mitt looked like after I had finished. Save your hands.

Lara Parker

Kardashian Instant Sunless Spray ($17.10)

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

The Kardashian family have some of the best spray tans in the history of spray tans. So naturally, I was optimistic about their product. And overall, I wasn't too disappointed. This product comes in a continuous spray bottle, just like spray-on sunscreen, and if you have a white bathroom, please be careful. The spray is strong and I ended up just spraying some into my hands and rubbing it all over my body. But my hands were hella orange the next day.

It also turned my white bathroom very orange because the spray is quite hard to control. But overall, it was a decent color, and it lasted a while... probably at least a week... which was unfortunate for my hands, but okay everywhere else.If you're looking for a spray tan without having to go to a salon, this might be the best option for you.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Like I said, the color might get all over your bathroom, but just clean it up with a bathroom cleaner and you'll be G2G.

Lara Parker

The winner:


St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse... by far. It was relatively easy to apply, didn't look streaky or orange (in my opinion), and lasted a long time. Your tan might only look better if you actually go to Saint-Tropez.