It’s perfectly natural to be wary of self-tanner – especially if you’re pale. One false move and you could transform from porcelain goddess to uncomfortably Oompa-Loompa. Even worse, faux tans last for days, so once you’re orange, you’re stuck that way.
Luckily, bronzing products have seriously evolved in the past few years. Today’s instant self-tanners are much more natural-looking on the skin, and gradual formulas (which you apply daily for up to a week to build up your sun-kissed appearance) are better than ever before.
Personally, my only gripe with self-tanners is that they can be something of a hassle to use. Many require you to shower, apply, then shower it off. Lotions are less time-consuming, but are often streaky and challenging to put on evenly. Now, James Read, founder of his eponymous bronzing line, has created a genius, gradual facial tanner that is impossibly easy to use with no risk of tiger stripes or staining clothing. But my favorite part is that it’s something I think a model would use – and considering that Read has tanned Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, it’s entirely possible that models do use it.
James Read H2O Tan Mist ($31) is the first rosewater facial spray that is actually infused with DHA, the active bronzing ingredient in self-tanners. The liquid in the bottle is completely clear and is loaded with powerful ingredients like acne-fighting zinc, nourishing coconut oil, and (of course) refreshing, hydrating rosewater.
When testing it, I found that it had a clean floral scent, but I couldn’t smell any trace of DHA (which can often give off a “sweaty” aroma). It was designed to be used over or under makeup, so I spritzed it on my made-up face. The superfine mist felt supersoothing, and I could feel a bit of the coconut oil after touching my skin.
It’s very gradual, so you don’t have to fear overusing it. I’ve been keeping my bottle on my desk and applying it intermittently throughout the day to give my complexion a boost, as I would any facial mist. All I see is a light, subtle hint of color that looks perfectly realistic on my pale skin.
According to Read, it can be used as a makeup primer and setter, too, making this product a true multitasker. And as I’m always interested in adding some life to my tired face without the risk of looking dirty, this is essential for my makeup bag. If you’re a fellow pale girl, you’ll want to try this one out!