Which are the best self-tanners under the sun?

Don't Waste Your Money

Craving a gorgeous summer tan but want to stay out of the sun?

Maybe you’ve thought about using a self-tanner but didn’t want to wind up orange or splotchy. And with so many brands out there, where do you start?

Our partners at Consumer Reports are here to help, and checked out six popular self-tanning sprays and lotions ranging from about $8 to $35 to see whether they offer a golden glow.

The results: All of the self-tanners gave testers some color, which took about four hours to kick in and lasted several days. (Reapplying the next day intensified the results.)

The best product tested: L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush in Medium Natural Tan. It gave the most natural-looking results for around $10 per bottle.

And the worst: Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion. At $7.80 for 6 ounces, it gave a slightly lighter tan than the others – and it gave some testers an orange color that was sometimes streaky or blotchy.

Even though sunless tanners can give you a glow, Consumer Reports warned they don’t provide sun protection, so you’ll want to wear a sunscreen.

If you’re wondering if these products are safe for your skin, a self-tanner’s “tan” comes from a color-producing chemical called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It reacts with amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin to create a darker pigment.

It’s considered safe for home use by the Food and Drug Administration, but Consumer Reports safety experts say some people can experience an allergic reaction.

So be sure to test the product on a small patch of skin first (try the underside of your arm), and wait a few hours to see how you tolerate it.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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