Let’s face it, sundresses just look better atop bronzed legs. However, health-conscious and wrinkle-adverse women, know just how terrible UV exposure is for their skin. Even a golden tan isn’t worth increasing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
For years, I’ve been on a journey to find a natural-looking faux tan solution that I can also afford. I’ve tried it all—the automated misting machines that get the job done by method of fogging, high-end and hand-applied salon spray tans, and what feels like every version of gel, cream, aerosol, and mousse self-tanning product available on beauty shelves. Time after time, I struggled with one or more of the same problems with each attempt at finding my bronzing hero. Some treatments could cost upwards of $50 a pop, some affordable versions left me orange, others streaky, a few smelly for far too long and some simply didn’t seem to work at all. None of those scenarios were exactly what I was looking for. And then, it happened. I found the perfect formula.
It started like my most of my beauty ah-ha moments do, with a story I was writing for Southern Living. Last October, we launched our first-ever beauty awards, in which we featured all our can’t-live-without products (check out all our picks here!). Because a healthy glow is a Southern must-have, I went on a mission to once and for all find an undeniably “great” self-tanner. While my hopes were high, I didn’t know a product could be so good. Tens of products were called in and tested, but none even came close to St. Tropez’s Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($42; sephora.com). And for three very good reasons. First, it’s blue undertones deliver gorgeous, dark, olive-toned color that’s never anywhere close to orangey. Secondly, it’s completely streak-free, unlike so many other self-tanners that require impossibly precise application for a smooth finish. And finally, it’s intensity is just right, leaving you looking naturally sun-kissed, and never oven-baked. I’ve found my self-tanning soulmate and I’ll be sticking with it long-term!