I Gave Up on Self-Tanner Until I Tried This Brand-New Drugstore Launch

Updated 05/29/19
Product Disclosure
Best Self Tanner
 Kaitlyn McLintock

Last weekend I attended Coachella for the first time. Even though I had never been, I was well-versed in the dos and don'ts of festival beauty, just as everyone should be who attends a music festival. Do bring lots of glitter and brightly colored makeup products. Don't engage in any form of cultural appropriation. Do come with a radiant and sun-kissed complexion. Don't forget to hydrate and apply SPF throughout the weekend. I had packed everything I needed, checked the line-up, and planned for each after-party and event; I was ready.

My skin, however, was not ready. I wanted to look golden and glowy and radiant, with the kind of sun-kissed vivacity that makes me look like I live in a quaint desert bungalow where I brew my own tea and read classic novels all day. Instead, my skin looked rather dull and dim, like I live in the middle of smoggy Los Angeles where I spend 90% of my time in front of a computer screen (which I do).

I needed the right self tanning product—one that was natural-looking and low-maintenance and easy to use. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, I've had trouble finding adequate self tanning products in the past. They either developed too light, too dark, or they faded unevenly, causing me to invest in self tan erasers and exfoliators in order to remove them early. That's exactly what I didn't want to happen during Coachella. I wanted to be focused on music and friends, not a bad self tan.

As it so happened, I was attending Coachella with Bondi Sands, an Australian sunless tanner brand that was set to launch a brand-new self tanner. What better brand or product to turn to for testing? The new product is called the Aero Aerated Self-Tanning Foam. Because it's an foam formula, it promises to feel incredibly lightweight and absorb quickly with little to no transfer onto white sheet and towels. It's also supposed to offer a dark and long-lasting tan—outlasting the 5 tp 7 day time period offered by most other products. As if that's not enough, it's supposed to hydrate your skin too, thanks to jojoba oil and vitamin E.

All of these claims made me intrigued to say the least, and seeing as I was in desperate need of a healthy, skin-preserving tan, I was determined to apply it as soon as I could get it in my dull, pale hands.

Bondi Sands Aero Tanning Foam $29
Shop

I applied it on Saturday morning of weekend one, just before a big day of outdoor parties, live music, and eventually, the Neon Carnival, a celebration that's known for lasting long into the wee hours of the morning. I would be running around, dancing, and standing beneath the hot sun all day long (and staying out into the night). If I was really going to test the longevity of this tan, now was the time to do it.

I set off to apply the new tanning product it with the brand's Self Tanning Application Mitt ($6), which feels like an extra plush version of a microfiber towel. The product deposits onto the mitt much like a mousse, but with the frothiness of a shaving cream, instead of a traditional light mousse—it swells up into a large whipped dollop, before absorbing back into the mitt. Once it hits the skin, it leaves behind a faint trace of color that feels vaguely damp for a couple of seconds before it dries into nothingness. Seriously—it all but melts into the skin, absorbing within seconds. Save for the slight coconut scent that alerted me to the fact that it was on my skin, I felt like I had nothing on. There was absolutely no weight or slick residue left behind.

Bondi Sands Reusable Self Tan Mitt $6
Shop

In the spirit of putting this product to the ultimate test, I swiped my arm across a fluffy white towel only two minutes after I applied it. Some bronze color did deposit onto the towel, but it was nothing compared to the residue I've seen on my white towels and sheets after using other self-tanners. Plus, it was easy to rinse away in the sink (still, if you just bought fancy new sheets or a set of fresh towels, I would wait to use them until a couple of hours post-application).

The directions recommend you wait up to six hours before showering, in order for the DHA (the active tanning ingredient) to fully develop. I didn't have the luxury of six hours. After all, I was at Coachella for the first time, and I had people and places I wanted to see. As such, I only ended up waiting about three hours before showering (I know, I know; that's only half of the recommended time). Still, after I showered and dried off, I was impressed to see that the product had transformed my dull and pale skin into something smoother, glowier, and more desert music festival-ready... It wasn't the kind of tell-tale orange tan that I hate, nor was it too light to make a real difference; it hit that golden, radiant sweet spot that I was after.

 Kaitlyn McLintock

Fast forward through hours of desert heat, sweat, and dirt, and the tan subsisted. In fact, it's almost a week later, and I still have extra color on my face, chest, and arms (which is significant, because remember, I only let it develop for half the recommended amount of time). The places where the tan has worn off a bit, namely my legs and stomach, are still smooth and even-looking. There's no patchiness or ragged edges.

It's definitely a product that makes tanning easy for people who are self-tanner shy (like me). I'm happy to report it's a product that I'll be using from here on out in a bid to avoid the sun, and its subsequent damage, yet keep my skin looking radiant and sun-kissed nonetheless.

The Aero Foam is available for purchase now. Next, read everything you ever wanted to know (or didn't know you did) about spray tans.

Related Stories