Finally, Two Self-Tanners That Won't Leave You Reeking of That Dreaded Smell
Next to baking in the Sun's harmful UV rays, the gorgeous, natural-looking glow a self-tanner imparts goes unparalleled. That dreaded post-tan smell, on the other hand, we could do without. You know the one---it's that slightly-burnt aroma with faint notes of coconut or vanilla (depending on your formula) that hangs in the air immediately after going bronze, and seems to permeate every piece of fabric that comes in contact with your skin.
DHA, a tinting ingredient derived from plants like sugar cane, is the culprit behind both your faux tan and its signature smell, but thanks to innovations by brands like Xen-Tan and NKD SKN, you'll never lose another set of clean bed sheets to the scent of the afterglow. Xen-Tan's Fresh Tanning Mousse ($48; xen-tan.com in late April) includes a patented blend called Optimum Complex-30, which blends DHA with melanin to work with your natural coloring for a tan that looks like your own, rather than an obvious orange tint. The formula takes three to four hours to completely develop, but since the after-tan scent has been replaced with a piquant grapefruit note, its wardrobe-safe blend can be worn during the day.
Those who prefer a completely unscented sunless tanner should pick up NKD SKN's Tinted Tan Mousse ($20; ulta.com). Instead of swapping the trademark aroma for something more pleasing, NKD SKN's formula is without even the faintest hint of DHA, or any other note for that matter. The DHA is still in the formula---the rich brown hue that develops after four to eight hours serves as proof---but you'll never catch a whiff of it, and your glow will go on strong for up to a week. We're not completely sure how the
wizards scientists behind the product did it, but we're so glad they did.