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You’ll already be glowing on your wedding day, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra oomph! Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, beachside ceremony, or you just want a sun-kissed look, applying self-tanner can give you that boost of confidence and help you feel your best on the big day (self-tanner can also be great for creating an even, smooth skin tone on darker skin).
That being said, it’s essential to find a high-quality self-tanner that won’t leave you looking orange or streaky. You also want to avoid any self-tanners that will stain your precious white dress–if you’ve never applied self-tanner, follow our self-tanner dos and don’ts for tanning tips and best practices! When looking for the best self-tanner to use for your wedding day, first start by considering the shade that best suits you. Many tanners come in a range of shades (such as light, medium, and dark), which will affect the final result. Once you decide how tan you want to look, search for options made with skin-friendly ingredients and non-sticky, hydrating formulas.
To help you find the best self-tanners, we’ve researched the various options with these key features in mind. For an instant overnight bronze, Tanologist Express Tan Mousse and St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse are our top picks. Want more of a gradual glow to get you prepped for your walk down the aisle? Opt for the TAN-LUXE The Gradual Illuminating Tanning Lotion.
Test out your self-tanning products a few times in the months leading up to your wedding day to practice the proper application techniques and ensure a finished result you’ll love.
Read on for the best self tanners for a gorgeous wedding day glow.
What to Look For in Self-Tanner
The first thing to consider when shopping for a self-tanner is how bronzed you want to be. Many brands offer various shades that will deliver different levels of tan, from deep shades to understated tints. Do you want a subtle glow that’s only one shade darker than your natural skin tone? Or do you want to look like you just came home from a month-long sabbatical in Mexico?
Once you determine your desired shade, take a closer look at the ingredients. The last thing you want on your wedding day is dry or irritated skin, so opt for formulas made with natural, vegan ingredients that will leave your skin hydrated and nourished. Lastly, consider which kind of self-tanning formula is best for you. Self-tanner comes in many forms, including oil, foam, lotion, and spray. Choose whichever option is best suited to your needs. For beginners, gradual moisturizers are the best way to go, while those who self-tan regularly can experiment with foams and sprays.
Every self-tanning product is different, so be sure to follow the directions provided and get any additional accessories needed for a smooth application–such as an applicator mitt. The key to a successful self-tanning experience is preparation. Before applying any self-tanning product, shower, exfoliate, shave, and dry the skin. Only apply moisturizer to thinner, dryer areas like your elbows, knees, hands, feet, or any severely dry spots before application. When putting on the self-tanning product, be sure to apply it evenly all over the body for a smooth, even skin tone.
Aftercare is equally as important as preparation when it comes to self-tanning. Rinse your hands immediately after application to avoid orange palms, but otherwise, avoid any wetness to avoid streaks or patches. Most instant or overnight self-tanners will require you to rinse only after you’ve waited for the allotted amount of time (typically around four hours). Until it’s time to rinse, it’s a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t smudge or stick to the product. Avoid body washes and moisturizers with active ingredients to help the tan last longer and keep it from getting patchy.
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Chloe Caldwell is a Commerce Writer at Brides who specializes in shopping and lifestyle topics. She has more than five years of journalism experience writing about all things fashion, beauty, travel, and wellness.