Bad Hair Day? What’s your go-to routine or product to survive the hairy situation?
Including the ones that are best to use on your beautiful face!
There’s nothing better than a natural summer glow. Except when you can fake it without damaging your skin by laying in the sun or a tanning booth. Enter the top-tested self-tanning lotions, sprays, and mousses ahead.
“The active ingredient in most self-tanners is DHA or dihydroxyacetone, which has been allowed by the FDA for external use,” says Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute‘s Beauty Lab.
A FEW NOTES BEFORE YOU SELF-TAN:
- Always self-tan in a well-ventilated room, and protect your nose and mouth when you’re using a spray.
- Exfoliate your skin first, which beauty YouTuber Jaclyn Hill does by using a sugar scrub, then shaving.
- Avoid using moisturizers, as it could form a barrier on skin that prevents the tanner from developing evenly.
- You can put cream on your hands and feet, as Hill does, which she says helps with blending.
- Always read the packaging on your tanning solution to determine how long you should wait before showering.
Wondering what’s the best self-tanner for your face? Make sure the product you’re using mentions “face” or “face and body” on the bottle, advises Good Housekeeping Beauty Director April Franzino. See #4 ahead for the best facial self-tanner. From there, aftercare is the most important part of self-tanning.
How long will your self-tan last? The results should last about a week, and exfoliating first will help your tan last longer. Keep reading for top-tested picks from the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab and other online bestsellers to help you look sun-kissed for any occasion!
Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mousse
Xen-Tan’s product was the overall winner in our instant self-tanner test. This fave earned high marks for its non-messy, nearly foolproof formula, and splotch-free appearance. It’s easy to apply, and testers loved the clean, light grapefruit scent.
Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse
When we tested the hydrating foam version of the cult classic tanning moisturizer, it received high scores for going on quickly and giving skin a subtle warmth. “I’ve tried many, and this is my favorite,” one tester said. “I’d pay any price for results like these.”
Coola Sunless Tan Dry Oil Mist
While testers loved that this pick absorbed quickly and left skin feeling great, many thought the mist was harder to control than lotion and left some streaking. Keep bathroom floors clean by standing on an old towel or newspaper while applying.
Kate Somerville 360 Face and Body Self-Tanning Towelettes
Kate Somerville’s towelettes took second place in our tests. Great for on-the-go bronzing, the fast-absorbing formula was mess-free, and testers loved the natural-looking tan. A few people said the towelette ran dry toward the end of application.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water
“Clear” self-tanners are all the rage right now because they claim not to ruin your sheets and towels. This new formula from Isle of Paradise looks and feels just like water. And few hours after rubbing it in, you’ll be glowing.
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
St. Tropez is also getting on-board with the clear, no-mess trend. Its version doubles as a cooling face mist that won’t leave you looking streaky.
Beauty By Earth Self Tanner
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Body Lotion
Lab testers thought this tinted body lotion worked quickly (on average, three days) to deliver their perfect color. To avoid staining your clothes, make sure skin is completely dry before getting dressed — some people said the rich texture took longer to absorb.
Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil
Available in five fruity scents, testers rated Josie Maran’s oil best-smelling and liked the natural color but wished it were deeper. The formula is quick-drying and non-greasy.
Body Drench Quick Tan Self Tan Dry Oil
Self-tanners are infamously bad-smelling, but Lab testers enjoyed the scent of Body Drench’s product. Shake the bottle before use since it separates over time and put down a towel — some thought the dry oil’s thin consistency made it messy and hard to apply.
Ten Minute Tan for Face & Body
Testers liked that this had a pleasant scent during application, but it did fall short in performance. Many felt it didn’t produce their desired depth of color following the directions provided and the minimal color achieved faded quickly.
Sun Bum Self Tanning Towelettes
These individual towelettes are easy to pack for a vacation or take to-go. Our pros found they absorbed quickly into skin making application virtually mess-free. Though easy to use, many testers only noticed a faint color payoff.
Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Heavenly Bronzing Mist
After a few days, testers loved the natural color and depth of tan from Guerlain’s aerosol mist. Some found application messy, so stand on an old towel and apply in a well-ventilated area. For your face, mix with lotion in your hand and then apply.
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mist
Grab St. Tropez’s self-tanning mist (and mitt) for a natural-looking tan in just a few hours. Lab testers loved that they got their perfect level of color after one use. Since it’s an aerosol mist, apply in a well-ventilated area that you don’t mind getting messy.
Fake Bake 5 Minute Mousse
Great for people who always worry they’re going to miss a spot, Fake Bake’s formula is tinted, which acts as a guide for even application. Testers liked the natural-looking color they got, but many felt that the mousse application was a little messy.
Tarte Brazilliance PLUS+ Self-Tanner
Score Tarte’s product at Sephora and get a handy application mitt with it. The updated version of their best-selling tanner, it’s now packed with ingredients to exfoliate and moisturize (key for smooth, non-streaky tans) while adding color.
Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
A bestseller at both Ulta and Sephora, Tan-Luxe’s oil mixes into your facial moisturizer, serum or oil for a boost of color. It’s a little pricey, but one reviewer said, “It took using three drops for three days to get a base tan and now I only use it every other day or so.”
Tan-Luxe The Gradual Illuminating Tan Lotion
Testers loved the lotion’s scent during application and development, and that their tan looked natural and not blotchy. For best results, apply it with a tanning mitt since some people said its thin consistency “made application a little more difficult.”
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse
This easy-to-apply formula is the mousse version of one of our Beauty Lab’s top-tested picks. With hundreds of positive reviews, it’s a bestseller at Amazon, Sephora and Ulta. Apply and leave it on for one to three hours before rinsing to get your perfect bronze.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads
One of Sephora’s bestsellers, these facial pads are a two-in-one self-tanner and skin perfector. Swipe one on to up your glow while also exfoliating, tightening pores and helping to reduce sun spots, thanks to added alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids.
Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel
Testers liked this gel’s natural-looking and streak-free color, but the results were a tradeoff with the formula’s unpleasant smell during application. A few testers also said the gel left skin feeling tacky and sticky.
Get ready for the smoothest skin of your life.
You’ve probably heard that retinol is the Holy Grail for anti-aging — but do you actually know what it is, how it works, or if it’s right for you? The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab do. We’re here to give you the lowdown on this powerful over-the-counter vitamin A derivative that’s finding its way into more and more skin care products.
Check out their answers to some of your biggest questions about retinol:
What is retinol?
Retinol is powerful wrinkle-fighter, but it’s also so much more. The potent ingredient boosts skin’s collagen production (and decreases its breakdown) to both minimize and prevent fine lines. It also speeds up cell turnover to reduce dark spots and helps unclog pores, making them appear smaller.
When should I use retinol?
At night! The theory is that your skin repairs itself as you sleep, so any anti-aging ingredients will be more effective if you apply before bedtime. Sunlight and retinol are not BFFs, either: UV has been thought to degrade retinol, decreasing its effectiveness. But more and more daytime moisturizers now contain retinol and SPF (like one of our top picks, Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF 30).
Be sure you only use it once a day to start: Your skin needs to get used to the ingredient. If you don’t experience residual dryness, stinging, or redness, then you can try using it both A.M. and P.M. a few days a week. If you do have side effects, reduce use to every second or third day. In the interim, try other anti-aging ingredients like peptides or vitamin C.
Should I use prescription-strength retinol?
Not necessarily. Prescription-only retinoic acid is stronger and can give you better results than retinol, but it also can be more irritating. Some dermatologists recommend starting with retinol products (like our picks below) to let your skin acclimate to the ingredient before ramping up the potency. Plus, retinols are available at a fraction of the cost of prescription retinoic acid and you don’t need to schedule a doctor’s visit.
Will retinol make my skin more sensitive to the sun?
Yes, that one is true. Your skin will be more susceptible to burning and irritation from the sun for the whole time you’re using a retinol, and for several weeks after you stop. This is because speedier cell turnover pushes new, delicate skin to the surface. That means you must apply sunscreen every day when you’re using a product with retinol. (But you should already be doing that!) Check out our pros’ go-to moisturizers with SPF or facial sunscreens.
Now that you have a retinol primer, let’s get to the goods. Here are our Lab’s top-tested picks, plus some long-time GH Seal-holding favorites:
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum
An all-time Lab favorite and GH Seal star, No7’s serum consistently wows in our clinical studies. We found the retinol serum improved skin texture, blurred the look of pores, and boosted firmness by 21% after just four weeks. Powerful peptides, retinyl palmitate (a form of retinol), hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C antioxidant complex helped to regenerate skin with less irritation. The formula also impressively delivers in under two weeks: “In 10 days, my wrinkles were less visible!” a tester said.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF 30
Our Lab tests confirm that this Neutrogena day cream, a GH Seal star and test winner, firms skin and lessens lines over time. “It contains stable and fast-acting forms of retinol, which increased skin firmness by 9%,” explains Birnur Aral, PH.D., director of the GH Beauty Lab, “and it improved the look of some consumer testers’ nasolabial folds (aka laugh lines) after eight weeks of daily use.”
RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Crème
Perfect if you need a quick skin refresh before a wedding or birthday, this GH Seal star works fast. The RoC cream left skin looking 32% smoother and more radiant after just one week of use, and hydrated it for 24 hours. It only gets better — after four weeks, people saw a further reduction in fine lines and eye wrinkles and after eight weeks, they reported fewer deep wrinkles and dark spots.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil for Face
Another GH Seal star, Palmer’s facial oil is formulated with retinol and also boasts hydrating argan, almond, and coconut oils to deeply hydrate on contact. It rated highest among Beauty Lab testers for immediately moisturizing skin so it looked “plumper and smoother.”
La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night
Yes, this is a serious splurge, but if you’re in the market for a high-end retinol cream, it doesn’t get better than La Prairie. In Lab tests, it firmed well in both short- and long-term tests, and it improved skin tone. Testers agreed: “This retinol product is unlike any I’ve ever used. The smoothness and even tone of my skin lets me go without makeup, which I normally would never do,” said one. It also earned top scores for being gentle and non-irritating.
Skinceuticals has created the ultimate personalized skin care. Here’s how it works: head to the doctor for a 5-minute consultation (find a participating derm) and leave with a unique custom corrective formula, which doses retinol depending on your skin’s needs. Use the serum for three months, then head back to see if you’ll stick with the same blend or adjust the levels of active ingredients.
You’re going to want to plan a self-care Sunday (or any day) ASAP.
The elements can wreak havoc on your complexion. Until spring, cold winter air and dry heat indoors can leave skin parched, but in the summer, hot sun and wind off the water can result in irritated dry skin, too. A soothing face mask can work wonders on thirsty skin — and it’s a great excuse for taking some time for self care to chill and reset.
Traditional cream-based, rinse-off masks are great, but there are new kinds of masks on the market that are ideal for hydrating skin. Here’s the lowdown:
Overnight masks: As the name suggests, overnight masks are applied before bed. Instead of rinsing them off, you sleep in them and wake up with dewy, hydrated skin. Most formulations are thinner, lighter, and easily absorbed, so you don’t have to worry about them transferring to your pillowcases in the middle of the night. As far as moisturization, it’s serious: Our Beauty Lab tests found some overnight masks were even more hydrating than past night cream winners.
Sheet masks: Sheet masks might look silly, but they’re highly effective. They’re made of pieces of paper, cloth, or gel-like substrates that are saturated in single-use packets with serum-like active ingredients. Fit them over your face and just chill for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. For extra soothing power, pop one in the fridge for a few minutes before you use it.
We tested face masks in Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab for moisturization ability, and consulted experts and beauty editors for the best masks on the market. Below are our top-tested picks, as well as expert and editors picks for the best face masks for dry skin.
Amorepacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque
Amorepacific’s overnight mask won the Beauty Lab’s test, upping skin moisture level by a whopping 49%. The no-rinse mask is like a super-strength night cream. Swap it for your go-to product before bed whenever you need an extra hydration boost.
Skin Laundry Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask
A great fast-fix for moisturizing and plumping skin in minutes, Skin Laundry’s mask boosted hydration 25% — the best in our Lab’s sheet mask tests! We also like that it has just the right amount of serum in the package so it’s not too messy.
Bliss In The Honey Mega Moisturizing Lavender Honey Mask
GH beauty director, April Franzino, recommends this bargain pick if you’re looking for a mask with moisturizing honey. Also formulated with soothing lavender oil, this is a great before-bed mask. Use it up to three times a week!
Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask
Yes, it’s pricey, but this Fresh pick is one of the best face masks GH beauty director, April Franzino has ever tried. It’s super-rich and indulgent, made of real honey and shea butter, and full of botanical oils (meadowfoam, jojoba, sunflower seed). “I have super dry, flaky skin all year long, and always apply a face mask in the shower for extra nourishment,” she says. “This feels soothing and pampering, like a mini spa treatment, and never irritates my skin.”
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask
This is associate beauty editor, Pia Velasco’s go-to mask. No need to rinse it off: “It doubles as a primer in case your skin is really dry, so whenever I feel like I need an extra hydration boost I just apply a thin layer before putting on my makeup,” she says.
A richer version of night cream, this no-rinse night mask (formulated with a mix of shea butter and natural oils) raised skin’s hydration levels by a near-record 43% in Lab tests. Our experts liked it so much they gave it a 2018 GH Beauty Award!
Another GH beauty editor favorite is this one from Clark’s Botanicals. “On days when my skin feels extra dry, I leave it on overnight, and my skin is super-soft by morning,” says assistant beauty editor, Paige Stables.
This overnight mask from Paula’s Choice is a light, gel formula. It goes on silky smooth and leaves skin super-soft when you wake up. Great for all skin types, use it once a week or swap it for your night cream every day.
Can you get rid of wrinkles in a natural way? Let’s see what we can do about it.
Following an effective wrinkle free skin care routine is essential if you want to delay lines and other signs of aging skin as much as possible. Is equally important to understand the causes of facial wrinkles and what can be expected from the choices we make.
Fine lines and wrinkles are caused when the top layer of your skin thins out and loses its moisture and elasticity. When you age, you begin to lose elastin and collagen fibers in your skin which causes sagging skin.
Sun exposure is another culprit of aging skin but we need it to stay alive. Studies indicates that sun damage is responsible for around 80 or 90% of aging skin.
In moderation, the sun can be good for our bodies; however, when exposed to ultraviolet light for too long, the sun causes the release of damaging free radicals which damage cells and promotes wrinkles and aging.
3 Types of Facial Wrinkles
1. Static Wrinkles
We can see these wrinkles even when the muscle is at rest.
These wrinkles are due to the lack of elasticity in the skin caused from:
- Dynamic wrinkles
- Sun exposure
2. Dynamic Or Expression Wrinkles
These type of wrinkles are linked to the underlying muscles we use for facial expressions, and appear temporarily when a muscle contracts.
Every time we make a facial movement like:
Expression lines begin to appear in our faces because the repeated contractions of the facial muscles.
These facial movements are accumulative, and start to show at around thirty.
The expression lines get deeper as we age, and it will get worse with sun damage and loss of collagen and elastin.
3. Deep Wrinkles
Deep wrinkles are often due to the effects of gravity. Changes related to gravity become more pronounced as we get older.
The skin’s elasticity declines and the face tissues start to sag – sagging skin – causing:
- The tip of the nose to drop
- The eyelids to fall
- Jowls to form
- The thinning of the upper lip
- Loss of neckline
- Hollow look to the eyes
10 Natural Wrinkle Free Skin Care Tips to Age Better
You can start taking care of your skin by feeding your body exactly what it needs. This should include foods for a wrinkle free skin which are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Other tips for a wrinkle free skin include:
1. To give your skin the best chance of being healthy the first step is to find out your skin type. Once you are clear about the type of skin you have it will be easier to find the right skin care products to feed your skin.
- For oily skin buy skin care products with salicylic acid and make facial masks containing lemon, cucumber or green clay. Avoid skin care products with heavy formulations and go instead for those with light formulas. Lotions are a great choice.
- If your skin is dry go for skin care products with humectant (hydrating) agents. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides will keep the skin moisturized. Natural ingredients for dry skin include avocado, natural yogurt, honey and oils such as olive, almond or rose hip.
- If, like me, you have combination skin, the T zone will be shiny while the rest of the face is normal or dry. Dermatologist Leslie Baumann recommends using a light moisturizer only on the sides of the face. Using non-comedogenic products to avoid pore blocking is a must. I find that skin care products in the form of lotions and serums help to keep my skin free of shine. Good natural ingredients for combination skin include lemon, oatmeal, natural yogurt, tomato, cucumber and clay.
- Sensitive skin is tricky because there are many reasons as to why the skin reacts badly to some skin care products. If your skin is sensitive be good to your skin and avoid using harsh products. Go for products that are kind to the skin and alcohol/fragrance-free. When making DIY remedies use natural yogurt, grapes, oatmeal, melon, honey and cornflour.
2. Good skin cleansing is definitely necessary – Make use of warm water when you are cleansing the face in order to unblock skin pores and remove grime. Use just soap free solutions due to the fact that soap could dry your skin.
3. Skin circulation is important – Apply circular motions with a facial brush to remove dead skin cells and promote good circulation.
4. Exfoliation and hydration – Proper exfoliation will remove superficial cells in the skin, allowing new cells to take their place. Exfoliate once or twice a week.
Hydration is critical in the fight against aging because if your skin is dry it will be more prone to wrinkling. Keep the skin properly hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids such as herbal teas.
If your skin is aging, is very dry or you suffer from eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis check these moisturizers with ceramides. Effective top rated creams that will ease or erase these skin problems.
5. Defend from ultraviolet light – The ultra violet rays coming from sunlight will certainly harm your epidermis. Using sunscreen which incorporates high SPF will guarantee great protection from environmental factors and skin cancer.
6. Exercise – Working out is a great way to oxygenate the skin and release toxins.
7. Give up alcohol and smoking. Both clog up pores and make the skin look dull.
Great antioxidant food include blueberries, walnuts, prunes, dark grapes and green vegetables.
Externally, top antioxidants you can apply to the skin are pomegranate oil, jojoba oil and Shea butter.
9. Sleeping is also important for the skin. If something interrupts your sleep between those hours, the hormone cortisol is produced, which damages collagen fibbers and stresses out the body. Still the recommended hours for a good night sleep and for good skin are seven to eight.
If you want to avoid sleeping wrinkles try to sleep on your back. Using an anti wrinkle pillow and silk pillowcase can help too. These pillows are especially designed to take care of the face to avoid wrinkles while you sleep.
A great tip to reduce sleeping wrinkles is place surgical tape in the deeper wrinkles of your face, like between the eyebrows and the lines from the nose to the mouth every night. I have been doing this for years, and I really notice the difference the next morning.
10. Cut sugar and refined curbs to avoid glycation. Glycation is a process where sugar molecules attach to proteins (collagen) in the body and end up forming new molecules that are said to be harmful not only for the body but for the skin too.
Glycation is said to bring forward aging of the skin, damaging collagen and elastin and hence creating wrinkles and other signs of aging. Sugar can be found in many types of food and drinks so remember to check the labels for content sugar. Hidden sugar is normally found in wine, processed foods, sauces, bread, cereals, soups, juices & many drinks.
Using organic skin care products to avoid loading the skin with chemicals is a great choice.
Although these tips often help to prevent the initial indications of aging of the skin, it is very unlikely to totally avoid lines and wrinkles. So, make use of high-quality anti wrinkle skincare products which incorporate ingredients proven to work. Use retinols, alpha-hydroxy acids and vitamin c.