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Style > Beauty

The Best Self-Tanner  

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Self-tanner doesn’t have to be a patchy, smelly and orange mess. It doesn’t have to transfer everywhere and be a nightmare to apply. And you certainly shouldn’t have to scrub your skin raw to remove it because it looks scaly and orange after one day. 

If you’ve experienced any of these self-tanner struggles and just can’t seem to get the right product, look no further. I found a self-tanner that doesn’t require a team of astrophysicists to figure out how to make it look decent.

It’s called (drumroll please) Tanologist’s One Hour Express Self-Tan Mousse in the shade Extra Dark.

Lengthy name, I know. But this self-tanner is truly a feat of science. Let me tell you why I love it:


Hence the name, this is an express tan that will develop color even if left on for only one hour. However, it’s also versatile; the longer you leave it on, the deeper the tan will appear.

If you only have couple hours or don’t like the feeling of sleeping in self-tanner, this is a great option. After you wash it off, your skin will develop the color over the next day or two, leaving you bronzed. 

Personally, one to two hours isn’t a dark enough color for my liking. But that’s what is great about the product, it works fast if you want a subtle tan, but keeps developing to darker shades with more time. It’s forgiving and hard to mess up.

Be warned though, this is an express tan, not an instant tan. Meaning the tanning process is fast but it doesn’t necessarily give instant results. After you wash it off, you’ll be confused as to why all the color seemingly went down the drain. This isn’t the case, wait for the color to develop over a few hours.

It’s an express process with gradual results. You can tailor your usage of the product to yield the results you want, whereas other tanners have to be left on for a certain amount of time or require multiple layers of product for a deeper color.

perfect Color

This product has a violet undertone, which is widely regarded as the most universally flattering self-tan color. You won’t look green or orange, just naturally bronzed. The color genuinely looks so sunkissed, I can’t recommend it enough.

Easy application 

Grab yourself a tanning mitt and an old makeup buffing brush (for your hands) and you’re set. 

The formula is smooth and hydrating, it glides on easily and when I wash it off my skin feels so soft! The dark color makes it super easy to see where you’ve applied the product and avoid missing any spots. 

Minimal Prep required 

For this tanner, I like to exfoliate, shave and moisturize in the shower the day before I plan to use it. Then I moisturize the day of, let it absorb for a few hours and get to tanning.

Tip: moisturize your hands, knees, elbows, ankles etc. right before tanning, as tanners often cling to dry skin, disrupting a natural look.

Fades nicely 

Say goodbye to crackled, orange skin and stubborn fading. Many tans cling to dry spots for weeks and need to be scrubbed off eventually, however with this one, I notice the fade is very gradual. I make sure to use lotion after my daily showers, which helps maintain the color. 

Now, no product is perfect, and I will never lie about a product, especially when they aren’t even reimbursing me (Tanologist please hit me up). Here are the product’s drawbacks.

Smell (subjective)

Personally, I don’t notice a bad smell with this product, but I’ve heard others mention it. Everyone’s nose is different, but if you’re very sensitive to smell you may want to use caution. 

I honestly think it smells good, but that may just be me. It kind of smells like burnt coconuts and it’s a very faint scent.

Sticky upon application 

Beauty is pain sweetheart, and seeing as this is a wash-off tan, it is sticky upon application. It will rub off on clothes that sit close to the skin, and it will probably get on your sheets. 

I find it dries well and doesn’t get all over the place. Personally, I remedy this occurrence by having a set “self-tanner outfit.” For me, an old oversized sleep shirt and some baggy plaid pajama pants.

If I’m sleeping in the tan, I’ll sleep sandwiched between two old fuzzy blankets to protect my sheets from staining. 

If you’re not sleeping in the tan, just get yourself a self-tanner outfit and avoid any white sheets for a bit. 

Now that you know all my secrets, enjoy looking like a bronzed goddess!

Alicia is a first-year student who is so excited to be joining Her Campus @ PSU! She is majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in digital media & analytics. Other than writing, Alicia loves all things fashion & beauty, painting, journaling, swimming, hanging out with her cats, and of course socializing. She thanks you for taking the time to read her articles!