Like many East Coasters who got wind of the good life on the West Coast, I recently made the move from New York to California. And it’s been surprisingly easy to blend into La La Land except for one thing: I’m paler than Casper the Friendly Ghost.
But since my commitment to sunscreen (as a beauty editor I practice what I preach!) would never allow the sun to touch my naked skin, I had to think more inside the box for a faux tan worthy of a true Cali beach babe. The sprays and lotions I’ve tried over the years are just fine for weddings and events, but weren’t the long-lasting glow I was looking for. As for the professional spray-tan route, nothing beats the even look an expert can deliver, but the cost makes my bank account fade faster than the actual color. So when a friend handed me Kate Somerville’s Somerville360 Self Tanning Towelettes for body ($48), I decided to give them a try and boy did I have a Goldilocks moment.
The towelettes, which are made with paraben-free DHA, tea tree extract, cucumber, and vitamin E, are soaked with color so I’m able to use just one wipe on my 5'11 frame, and the tanner dries almost instantly. But because I’ve been burned one too many times by sunless tanner that has stained my white sheets, I waited about 20 minutes to hop into bed after applying the color for the first time. When I woke up, not a drop of color could be detected on my sheets (victory!). And if that wasn’t enough to add a little sunshine to my day, the formula does not smell like French fries. I repeat, the formula does not smell like French fries!
Now because it is a DIY version, of course I’ve missed a spot or two (that’s how I was able to see the perfect color against my pale skin) that I just went over the next day without issue. Once my body was covered evenly, I clocked the tan time and over a week later the color was still fairly intact. It also doesn’t bead in certain spots (chest, elbows, skin creases), like other products tend to do.
So since an eight-pack sets me back $48 dollars (that’s roughly $288 for a year-long tan), I figure it’s a small price to pay for keeping my skin healthy and ensuring a sun-kissed look so good, even native Angelenos can’t tell I’m a transplant.