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Sunless Spring Break? 4 Self-Tanning Products to Try

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

Not all of us were lucky enough to jet set to an island in the sun this spring break, but who’s to say we can’t fake it? Avoiding the temptation to sign up for UV tanning beds can be hard, since it seems like a simple enough way to get some solid color. And, those Collegiettes lucky enough to get some natural rays might feel like they have the upper hand in the bronze category. However, dangers of tanning beds are known to all of us, and overexposure to even the real sun can have some serious consequences. Self-tanning products have come a long way since the days of looking orange or an extra on MTV’s Jersey Shore. There are some very effective lotions, sprays, and wipes that can give you a natural looking tan without any of the major health risks that come along with sunbathing and bed tanning. Here are some great options for getting that spring break color without the sunburnt pain:

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($8.00-$11.00)

The most traditional of the options here, Jergens’ Natural Glow line has been around forever, and they basically have self-tanning down to a science. You can apply it every day just as you would any other body lotion, as the formula is designed to appear gradually over several days. But, if you don’t feel like you’re getting a dark enough color, you can apply the lotion more frequently too. Lotions like Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer are great because the process is so gradual, you can stop streaks before they become too crazy looking. And, this line comes in both Fair to Medium skin tone and Medium to Dark skin tone, so it’s easy to match to your natural color.

L’Oreal Bronze Towelettes ($10.99)

L’Oreal’s Sublime Tan line gets rave reviews across the board. Relevantly inexpensive (products range from $9.99-$10.99), L’Oreal Sublime comes in gels, mousses, and lotions, but by far my favorite of the options is the towelettes. Like a spray tan, the tan from the towelettes fades in gradually, and the beauty of the towelette is that unlike some lotions, you can apply much more evenly. The best part? Generally you won’t need the whole wipe to cover your body completely, so if you apply before bed, throw the towelette in a sealable plastic bag. If you wake up in the morning and notice strange streaks on your sides, hands, or feet, you can touch it up! The only downside is it only comes in Medium Natural Tan, so for girls with super-duper pale skin might want to opt for another self tanner, or test out a wipe on a small patch of skin to gauge how it might look in the long run.

Neutrogena MicroMist Airbrush Sunless Tan $10.99

This self-tanner is essentially an at-home spray tan. It comes in Medium or Dark tints and is very easy to use. Think of it as applying sunscreen from a spray can; holding it around 6 inches away from your skin and keeping the can constantly moving while you’re applying it, the MicroMist is a great option for getting tough-to-reach places that you can’t get at with wipes and it dries quickly, too!

Mystic Tan: Instant Tan

While the most risky of the options, I’ve had great experiences with Mystic Tan UV-Free tanning booths. Each tanning salon varies the types of spray tans they offer, but generally you can choose the type of “glow” you want. Offered at BC local salons such as Hollywood Tan and Darque Tan, you generally have options as to what kind of color you want. From my experience, spray tans last anywhere from 2-4 days, depending on the shade you decide on. And, one trick I learned was if you do get streaky or just really hate the way it looks, lemon juice can take it right off!

There’s no reason that your skin should have to suffer from UV light or dangerous sun rays in order for you to get that fresh-from-the-beach glow every collegiette loves! Just remember when using these products to 1., exfoliate before, 2., wash your hands after, and 3., avoid overdoing it on your knees and elbows. Happy (self) tanning!


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Meghan Gibbons is a double major in Communications and Political Science in her senior year at Boston College. Although originally from New Jersey, she is a huge fan of all Boston sports! Along with her at Boston College is her identical twin, who she always enjoys playing twin pranks with. Meghan is a huge foodie, book worm and beach bum