Summer. Ohh, summer. While it is one of my favourite seasons, I certainly am no sun goddess. In fact, it might be accurate to say that I am one of the least qualified people to speak on anything with regard to bronzing in the sun... I avoid it as much as possible - SPF, hats and shade are my summertime saviours. However, if there is one thing I've learned a thing or two about over the years, it is natural self-tanning products. Gone are the days of streaky tiger stripes and too far gone orange hues, I've got the answer for flawless golden skin, naturally.
With that being said, I want to preface this post by saying anytime you're changing your skin colour, it is not going to be completely pure, natural and/or organic (unless of course you roll around in the mud). I wanted to write this post to give more natural alternatives to summer bronzing so that you can make the right choice for you. While I usually embrace my pale skin, I tried a few different products for LPN, and came out with two favourites as well as a fantastic new bronzer. Below, I'll share the results.
When it comes to self tanner, I always dry brush, and exfoliate first. This ensures that the product will not become concentrated in drier areas (think knees and elbows). Also, I ensure that on areas such as my eye and mouth contour, I combine the self-tanner with my normal daily moisturizer to prevent racoon eyes and a moustache (pigment sinks in easily around your eyes, hairline and mouth). Also, be sure to wash your hands after application. I used these products as my daily moisturizer for 3 days to achieve my desired look, but you can certainly use it longer to emulate the look of weeks of beach bathing. Now that you know how I used the product, let's getting chatting about the results.
Melvita ProSun - Gradual Self-Tanning Face & Body Gel-Cream
Being that I am a fair skinned gal, I'm always cautious about the intensity of self tanning lotions. It is with good reason - I've had some bad self-tanning experiences in the past (the orange and tiger stripe comments are from past experience). When I picked up Melvita's natural self tanning lotion, I was glad to see the world "gradual" on the label. To me this reads: does not turn orange and facilitates buildable colour that does not make you look like an oompa loompa.
I was extremely happy with Melvita's self tanner - first and foremost is the first application I wasn't sure it even made a difference, but the second day application I could absolutely tell I had a bronzed glow. It was even, natural looking, it was easily applied and it didn't reek like a lot of the other self-tanning products out there (it smelt slightly like a combination of play-dough and vanilla to me - haha). Further, Melvita's ProSun lasted as long as any conventional self-tanner, but instead of being chock-a-block full of chemicals, it was free from most of the awful ingredients that make up self-tanning lotions. The tan developed in approximately 8 hours.
While no self tanning lotion will be completely pure, I wanted to give alternatives for those beauties who are looking for a safer way to achieve that summer glow, so with that being said bare in mind that there are still unnatural ingredients in the product, despite it being 99% plant derived and 23% organic. On the bright side, Melvita uses an alternative to DHA to achieve a bronzing effect, that is erythrulose (a plant-based bronzing agent, derived from cane sugar), which is used to give you a gradual and even tan.
Of the ingredients I am particularly wary of are the fragrance and the benzyl benzoate - two quite toxic ingredients. That being said, when I compare the ingredient list on Melvita's Prosun to other brands of sunless tanner, it is certainly worth making the switch to a more natural brand if you do like to use sunless tanners.
Where to Shop
Green People did a fantastic job when they made their natural certified organic self tanning lotion (89% organic ingredients). It went one beautifully, was a natural and buildable tan (although Green People's Self Tanner had more pigment on the first go-around compared to the Melvita ProSun) and the smell was very light (all the scent from this product came from from natural oils).
I admittedly appreciated the overnight glow, so I didn't need to use this for more than a day every week to maintain the colour I wanted. Like Melvita, it went on like a moisturizer and was quick to absorb. The tan developed in approximately 6 hours and was a great colour for my fair skin.
While on the gentle side (Green People's self tan scores a Medium 4 on the EWG Database) I am warry of a couple ingredients: geraniol (which is known for high ecotoxicity) and citral (which is an irritant for sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose and mouth). With that said, the overall ingredient list is fairly acceptable in my books (again, especially given the alternatives).
Where to Shop
You can find Green People both in shops and online in their online boutique and Amazon for about $19 USD. For international shoppers, find their distributors here. Please note, US and Canadian readers, this one is a bit tough to get a hold of and may require some international travels ;-)
While the self tanners are fabulous, I rarely see a day go by without applying bronzer. My favourite natural bronzer is from a fantastic company based in New Zealand called Living Nature. Living Nature has created the perfect bronze pigment for summertime glow anytime, anywhere for any skintone. I have had this lovely number in my makeup bag religiously this summer. The powder was silky and natural looking - it was easily blended too.