Just because a beauty product is expensive doesn't mean that it will actually work. That's one of the truths I've learned from working in the beauty industry, and it thrills me. Sometimes the steals sitting on the drugstore shelves end up being ten times better than the pricey alternative. When it comes to self-tanner, I think this is definitely true. The best self-tanning product I've ever tried only costs $9.
If that's not enough to persuade you to continue reading, know it's the one product that completely changed my mind about self-tanners in general. To be blatantly honest, I think most produce a really unnatural-looking result, but Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer ($9; target.com) is a different story. The self-tanning-infused moisturizer leaves behind a subtle, bronzy glow that builds the more you use it. It's very, very subtle and not orange at all, so it actually looks believable. It took me about a week and a half of daily use to get the type of healthy glow that mimics what I'd get on a weekend vacation somewhere warm.
This product is different than Jergens' classic Natural Glow Moisturizer, though. This particular edition is a wet-skin moisturizer, and is meant to be applied right after you shower, when your skin is still dripping wet. After you rub it on your arms, legs, and body, all you have to do is gently pat yourself dry with a towel, and you're set. It's your self-tanner and your moisturizer all in one.
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The benefit of using a wet-skin moisturizer is that you don't have to wait for the cream to absorb before putting on clothes, and keeping the product in the shower makes it easier to remember to hydrate your limbs. You also don't have to dry off before rubbing in your moisturizer, saving yourself a few precious minutes in the morning.
Besides looking real, another thing I absolutely love about this self-tanner is that you don't have to worry about transfer on your clothes or your sheets. Because while I want a glow, I don't really think my white linen sheets do.