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I'll admit it – I feel my best when I have a sun-kissed glow. Even if I haven't just returned from a Caribbean vacation, I kind of feel like I have. Not to mention it conceals skin imperfections and instantly slims, which is an extra bonus during swimsuit season (which in Southern California, is basically year-round).
The bronzed skin is great; however, the sunless tanner odor is not so great. In fact, many women say they don't use sunless tanner because of the smell, which can be described as anything from burnt skin to pee and even BO.
Luckily, I have learned a few tricks of the trade and tried out some great new products to help you avoid the dreaded sunless tanner odor.
What causes the sunless tanner stink?
The tell-tale smell of sunless tanner is thanks to Dihydroxyacetone or DHA. This substance, which is derived from plant sources including sugar beets and sugar cane, has a reaction to the amino acids in our skin, resulting in the tan color — and the smell. The stink often stays on until you shower or wash it away.
New no-stink sunless tanners
Lucky for us, scientists have been hard at work to find a sunless tanner that also doesn't reek. Jergens is one brand that has a new "no-odor" self-tanner. How does it work? Their new formulas actually block our olfactory receptors (AKA our nose!) from smelling the odor — so it is still there, you just can't smell it. They have also added additional odor-absorbing ingredients. If you like a gradual, more subtle sun-kissed glow, the Jergens Natural Glow + Protect with SPF 20 is a great option. Not only is it budget friendly (around $9 at drugstores), but it contains SPF and is easy to apply.
If you want an instant bronze glow without the stink, St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse is a great option. This product features their "aromaguard" technology which is touted to reduce the stench by 70 percent. This product dries fast, produces a great natural color (no oompa loompa here!) and be purchased for $44 at Sephora. It also doesn't have chemicals like parabens, sulfates and phthalates that many other formulas have. Hint: Use a tanning mitt, like the St. Tropez Tanning Mitt (Sephora, $7) for an even application and to avoid tan palms.
Some self-tanners mask the scent with fragrances, such as Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracua Face and Body Self Tanner (Sephora, $37) which the brand claims that 97 percent reported no "tell-tale after scent." L'Oreal Sublime Bronze with Pro Perfect Self-Tanning Mist (Target, $10) is budget friendly, gives a great color and has a light citrus scent.
Tips for preventing the stink
Even if you use some of these new and improved "no-stink" formulas, you may still smell a little odor, depending on how sensitive your sniffer is. It's best to not bathe for several hours (or the next day) after applying the sunless tanner to let the product do its job.
Take a shower and exfoliate and apply the self-tanner. If using a spray tanner, throw on a shower cap to keep the spray and the odor from getting on your hair and scalp. You should also avoid getting it near your underarms, because it produces a particularly strong self-tan scent in that area. Allow it to dry completely before getting dressed.
Apply your favorite scented lotion to your arms, legs, chest and stomach. Wear clothes that will allow your skin to breathe, such as natural fabrics like cotton. Save your leather pants for another day and wear a sundress or casual shorts and a flowy tank top to help keep the stink from settling into your clothes. Finally, spray a couple of squirts of your favorite perfume to further mask the scent. You glow, girl!