Glow Hard — Body Bronzers, Shimmering Lotions, And Self-Tanners That Rock
Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your radiant, sun-kissed skin and check into a drab, alabaster asylum. With this selection of self-tanner sprays and towelettes, bronzing moisturizers, and shimmer-packed lotions and cream sticks, you can maintain your golden girl status through the rest of the season and beyond.
Here’s to an endless summer!
1. KATE SOMERVILLE SOMER360 TANNING TOWELETTES
Kate Somerville Somer360 Tanning Towelettes, $48. Available at KateSomerville.com
I love towelettes — to the point where, when I was a little girl and we’d go to KFC (or a similarly laid-back establishment) to eat, I’d look forward to tearing up the miniature packet holding the wetnap with which I could clean my greasy mitts. My fascination with moisture-packed towelettes has clearly carried into adulthood: I frequently tuck a packet of baby wipes into my handbag for any unexpected messes (they’re unbelievably handy), I’m a sucker for makeup removing wipes and refreshing towelettes, and Ted Gibson’s Hair Sheets make me swoon. So, of course, I was beyond curious to try the Kate Somerville Somer360 Tanning Towelettes, which feature a liquid formula that can be smoothed onto skin for a natural-looking tan.
I’m happy to say these did not disappoint. Aside from being incredibly handy, they minimize the mess associated with self-tanning routines, which means no worrying about deep bronze drops staining furniture, carpeting or floors. The paraben-free formula used to develop the Kate Somerville Somer360 Tanning Towelettes is incredibly fluid so that, when you run the cocktail napkin-sized fabric over your skin, it will feel like you’re using a refreshing, toning wet wipe. Smoothing a towelette over your skin allows for a more uniform application, so that there’s less of a streaking risk. Do keep in mind, however, that the formula goes on clear and that the light golden tan tint doesn’t begin to surface for an additional two to four hours; if you do miss any spots, then, you won’t realize it until much later so make sure to apply a solid 4-5 hours before heading out into public view. That being said, any tiny spots missed can quickly be covered with a single towelette swipe, and you really can’t beat that in terms of handiness!
Not only are these impressive on a cosmetic level, but they also feature soothing ingredients like tea tree oil and cucumber extract, as well as antioxidant-rich, brightening vitamin C.
2. ARCONA BRONZE TINTED SELF TANNER
Arcona Bronze Tinted Self Tanner, $32. Available at Arcona.com
If Arcona had its own squad of Cheerios (a Glee reference, in case that one went over your head), I’d be front-and-center like Santana and Brittany. From their Kiwi Cream Bar to their Magic White Ice Hydrator, Booster Defense Serum, and For Your Eyes Only kit, I have yet to be disappointed by one of their products — in fact, I have yet to have anything but A+ grades to bestow on them. With the Arcona Bronze Tinted Self Tanner, the Los Angeles-based skincare company manages to maintain a spotless, Dean’s List-worthy record. The tinted moisturizer has a coppery bronze color, with more reddish undertones than traditional self-tanners — a welcome relief from the typical carrot orange undertones.
The syrupy, slightly milky yet creamy texture is rather delectable: it feels like a mix between a fluffy chocolate mousse and a dense milkshake. Once you’ve applied it onto your skin, you’ll benefit from the antioxidants in the formula, such as vitamin E and grape seed extract, as well as from skin softening, moisturizing ingredients like shea butter. Just one caveat: make sure to exfoliate before applying if you want to achieve truly even color.
3. ST. TROPEZ WASH OFF INSTANT SHIMMER STICK
This stubby, silver-colored stick, with its sleek, reflective label, holds the golden ticket to resplendent skin. When you unscrew the cap from the St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Shimmer Stick, you’ll notice that the product’s surface is a reddish brown color, similar to that of a scoop of chocolate frozen yogurt or gelato. Though the sepia brown can seem intimidating for those with pink or rosy skin tones, the pigment won’t look anywhere near as intense when properly blended. Instead, it gives a subtle, slightly coppery sheen that almost boosts the golden tones in your skin as opposed to covering them. But aside from the sheer color, the best part is the all-over luminosity it delivers. Rather than a glitter-packed shimmer, the St. Tropez Wash Off Shimmer Stick yields a uniform, almost icy sheen, as if your body had been coated in a delicious glaze.
While the tubular stick simplifies the application process, it doesn’t make it a hands-free feat: in order, to blend the color in, you’ll have to put in some work, massaging the areas until that chocolate-y color starts to fade and the bronze sheen emerges. The formula’s natural waxes are extremely emollient, practically melting onto the skin upon contact. Once you start working the product into the skin, however, you’ll notice there is a slightly coarse graininess to it, which does detract from the experience a bit but by no means takes it into deal-breaker category.
Interestingly, this product’s main quality — its wash-ability — is both a positive and a negative (which just proves the importance of perspective and point-of-view). The fact that it’s a washable tint is appealing in that there’s no long-term commitment involved (and I think we’ve all suffered through at least one botched tanning job, a la Bride Wars, where we simply had to grin and bear it until the unflattering color faded away). On the other hand, if you get caught in the rain (as I did one time), the tint will come tumbling right on down. Bottom line: double-check the weather.
4. RODIAL BRAZILIAN TAN DAILY
Rodial Brazilian Tan Daily, $49. Available at Dermstore.com
Let’s say you haven’t had much time to hit the beach this summer and, whenever you take your stems out for a night in the town, you feel a bit self-conscious flaunting your two ivory towers. Still, you can’t very well slather on a hardcore self-tanner, emerge with deep bronze legs, and try to play it off like it’s a natural tan. So how do you work your way there? Well, try Rodial’s Brazilian Tan Daily, which helps you build up that bronzed bombshell look over the course of 7-10 days.
Packed with shea butter and vitamin E, this tinted lotion hydrates and softens the skin, leaving it feeling supple and smooth, while helping you build your tan in a slow and steady manner. Plus, the lotion features antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract which provides free radical protection and stimulates collagen production for younger-looking, firmer skin.
5. URBAN DECAY MIDNIGHT COWBOY BODY SHIMMER LOTION
Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy Body Shimmer Lotion, $28. Available at UrbanDecay.com
Not only does this paraben-free, skin softening lotion leave me feeling like Mariah Carey in her “Honey” video (remember how MC’s skin looked as if a beam of light was perpetually shining upon her), but it leaves me smelling like a honeydrop too — well, more like a glass of coconut milk with a pinch of sticky sweet honey. Every time I wear this lotion, I compulsively smell my skin because the fragrance is so cheery and beachy (I do try to refrain from sniffing myself in public though! Ha!).
But the tropical scent is merely an added bonus. The Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy Body Shimmer Lotion‘s true genius lies in its ability to coat the skin in a veil of luminous micro-particles that make the skin dazzle without venturing into over-the-top, rave-ready, glitter-packed territory. Finding a shimmering body lotion that strikes that tricky balance between bland and blingy is quite a challenge, and this one hits the bull’s eye.
In addition to the fairy dust it sprinkles on your skin, the Midnight Cowboy Body Shimmer Lotion provides free radical protection thanks to antioxidant-rich green tea extract and vitamin E, soothes skin with aloe and chamomile extracts, and infuses moisture with avocado and jojoba oils. To quote MC, it’s like honey washing over me — minus the stickiness and the swarm of bees, that is!
6. LAVERA SUN GLOW & GO SPRAY SELF TANNER
Lavera Glow & Go Spray Self Tanner, $30. Available at Lavera.com
An organic self-tanner? Yes indeed! For summer 2010, Lavera introduced this 100% natural self-tanner, which relies on organic soy extracts to make skin appear more radiant, as well as scattered light-reflecting mica particles to add a hint of shimmer. The spray-on formula also features hydrating and nourishing botanicals like: soothing and healing aloe vera; moisturizing sunflower seed oil and macadamia seed extract; organic jojoba oil, which provides long-term hydration and helps regulate oil production; and pH balancing rose water.
To use, you just have to spritz onto dry skin. Each spritz will deliver a pea-sized amount of liquid in a light tangerine color. Though it feels rather watery when initially sprayed on skin, once you start working the self tanner in, you’ll notice it develops more of a gel-like consistency. In fact, it’s very reminiscent of aloe vera gel (which, as mentioned, is one of the key ingredients). In terms of pigment concentration, don’t expect to go from Anne Hathaway pale to Pamela Anderson tan. The Glow & Go is all about subtlety and a natural-looking radiance, so it delivers just a hint of color and sheen — even the mica shimmering particles in the formula are used sparingly, so that you don’t look like you rolled around on a glitter-covered tarp. Drying time is minimal, so this one is perfect for those constantly on the run (because, really, how often do you have the time to wait a full hour for a self-tanner to dry before putting on any clothing?).
7. LUSH COLOUR SUPPLEMENTS (AND PARADISE REGAINED FACIAL MOISTURIZER)
LUSH Colour Supplements, $13.95 each, and LUSH Paradise Regained Facial Moisturizer. Available at LUSHUSA.com
Part of the charm of LUSH’s vegan Colour Supplements is that you get to play mad scientist, mixing them with different moisturizers to find the exact shade to suit your skin tone. The Colour Supplements feel like a whipped, lightweight foundation (minus the greasy, basted turkey feel typically associated with foundation) and feature skin nourishing ingredients like: moisturizing rice bran, which itself has circulation-boosting vitamin B and antioxidant-rich vitamin E; a toning rose infusion made by adding a tad of rose oil and fresh rose petals to boiled water; and omega acid-rich soy oil, which boasts both antioxidant and moisturizing properties.
Available in handy 0.7 oz. jars, the LUSH Colour Supplements come in four shades: Light Pink, Dark Pink, Light Yellow, and Dark Yellow. These blendable tints can be used individually as concealers or foundations or they can be mixed with your moisturizer of choice for the perfect tinted lotion.
I’d suggest trying the Colour Supplements with the Paradise Regained Moisturizer, an emollient, brightening moisturizer packed with: antioxidant-rich green tea, softening organic almond oil; toning rose water; moisture replenishing jojoba oil; hydrating cocoa butter; cedarwood and sandalwood oils; and more. If you’re looking for a butter pecan-esque, rosy but still golden tan color, I’d suggest mixing the Dark Pink and Dark Yellow Colour Supplements until the right balance has been struck — the key is to develop a shade that’s just one or two notches above your natural skin color so as to give your skin a sunnier, beachier look. You can, of course, apply this mix to your face, but I also enjoy using these products on my legs since they give them a nice and even color, functioning like a seamless body suit of sorts.