A Guide to Picking Your PERFECT Self Tan

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% our own.

Summer is just around the corner (or practically here if you live in the south), and you know what that means – it’s time to get our tan on!  And by that, I mean fake tan because I’m not about that sun damage and those premature wrinkles from laying outside for hours on end.  

Fake tan has improved so much from what used to only be bright orange, horrendously fake options or an expensive spray tan.  Now, there are some great drugstore/mid-range options that’ll give you that glow you want without the time commitment or risk of melanoma.

Her Campus Clemson recently got to partner with the amazing self-tanner company, Bondi Sands, to give you a comprehensive look into what fake tan is right for YOU.  I’m going to cover light/medium, dark, and ultra-dark options as well as a dry oil and their fake tan eraser (for when you rushed application just a littletoo much).  So, keep reading if you want to know how to get that Australian glow!

1. Light/Medium Self-Tanning Foam

This self-tanner is perfect for you lightest of the light girls out there.  This product will warm up your skin without making it look like you just fake tanned.  As somebody who naturally tans super easily, I still wanted to try this one out to make sure I didn’t start off too intense.  It’s been a while since I’ve fake tanned, but I definitely remember how easy it can be to mess up.  Good news is that this foam went on super smoothly and streak free!  The bad news is that my skin tone turned out to already be the color of light/medium, so there wasn’t much of a difference.  So, if you want to try your hand at fake tanning this summer but are afraid to go in too dark or that you don’t have your application technique down pat, pick up the Light/Medium Self-Tanning Foam, and you’re set.

2. Dark Self-Tanning Foam

This one is for those girls who already have a bit of a base tan (fake or not) but want to intensify a little bit. I absolutely love the tone of this tan as it almost has a bit of a green tint with initial application to cancel out any orange tones that might develop!  I know that saying green tint sounds scary, but I promise you that you still end up with that golden, healthy glow.

3. Ultra Dark Self-Tanning Foam 

If you’ve got your application technique down pat, are a streak-free queen, and are super dark already, Ultra Dark is the shade for you!  Again, there’s a bit of a green tint to cancel out any orange that develops over the processing period, so you’ll still end up with a natural tan.  My only word of warning for this product is that the darker your tan is, the easier it is to get that muddy look around your elbows, knees, ears, and neck.  To avoid going too dark in those areas, apply to the main parts of your body first (thighs, stomach, arms) and then use the residue leftover on your mitt to apply to those drier, less smooth areas.

4. Liquid Gold Dry Oil

This is completely my favorite product out of the whole line that I got to try! Liquid Gold is a dry oil that tans you. So, you don’t have to use a mitt to apply this one, and you can put on clothes immediately after application! As someone who’s super impatient and whose whole room is white (the natural enemy of self-tanner), I adore how quickly I apply and get on with my life.  This product does develop less rapidly than the foams, but you also don’t have to wash it off (it smells like super yummy coconut so you won’t even want to).  It lasts around a week and is the perfect level of tan for what I feel looks good on me.  

Bonus: Self-Tan Eraser

So, this is a miracle in a bottle.  When I swatched all the shades of tan I received, I didn’t use a mitt and ended up staining my fingers SUPER badly.  This stuff took it off in about three minutes.  It’s a foam, just like the tanner, and it smells kind of like clean laundry.  Odd description, I know, but it’s the closest one I can think of.  You just let it sit on your skin for about 5 minutes wherever you messed up, wash it off with some water and a towel, and it’s like the mistake never happened!


So, in summary, the foams give you more range in what shade you can choose to be, but they’re higher commitment.  You have to let them develop for between 1 and 6 hours before washing them off, and they change color a lot quicker than the dry oil. They’ll also transfer to clothing/blankets/people if you haven’t washed it off, which means I get the lovely time of sitting naked in the room while trying to not touch ANYTHING until my tan develops.  They will also 100% stain your hands if you don’t use a mitt, so please, please, please, use a mitt.

The dry oil is less commitment as you don’t have to wait for it to develop and you can go ahead and put on clothes right after. It is a bit harder to see if you missed spots compared to the foam, but if you’re thorough and make sure to rub every part of your body, you should be good.

All of the products smell like delicious coconut, though they do have a slight tanner smell after a few hours.  If you use a mitt (especially the Bondi Sands mitt), you’ll have a flawless application with none of those dreaded muddy bits.  You should also exfoliate your body before applying self-tanner no matter what.  I tend to just use a dry towel and do a rough exfoliation, and I feel like that works pretty well for me.  Body scrubs also work, but you need to make sure there’s no residual oil leftover from the scrub when you apply the tan.