There are so many fantastic products on the market today that help you get a fantastic bronze glow, without subjecting you to dangerous UV rays. On my blog, I talk mostly about self-tanning and sunless tanning products.
However, I often get asked what the difference is between a self-tanner and a bronzer. So in this article, I want to break down what each product is, so you can choose the right product for you.
Self-Tanner Vs Bronzer – Complete Guide
Below I will highlight the details of the differences between self-tanner and bronzer.
What Is Self-Tanner?
Loosely defined, self-tanners are products that utilize dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, (or occasionally non-DHA substitutes) to artificially darken the skin. DHA is actually a type of sugar, so it can be derived either synthetically, or naturally from things like sugar cane or sugar beets.
When DHA comes in contact with dead skin cells on your body, it chemically reacts with the amino acids and forms a type of pigment. This pigment gives your skin a beautiful tan color that looks very natural but doesn’t last as long as a tan from the sun.
The tan you receive from these products is a fantastic alternative to UV rays from the sun.
In general, self-tanners come in a few different forms:
Each of these serves a different purpose, and it mostly comes down to personal preference. As an example, a mousse self-tanner, like this one on Amazon, will have a higher alcohol content, allowing it to dry faster. However, you’ll want to be extra sure you moisturize after applying to keep your skin hydrated.
Overall, self-tanners provide the flexibility and simplicity to maintain a natural-looking tan year around and don’t require a daily application (unless you’re looking at a gradual self-tanner).
What Is Bronzer?
Bronzers are another option when it comes to getting a natural-looking tan without risking your skin to the sun. However, the primary difference between a bronzer and a self-tanner is that a bronzer will not last through a shower or for longer than about a day.
Bronzers are essentially cosmetic products, sort of like makeup or blush. They often come in a loose or pressed powder or liquid (I really like this bronzing liquid on Amazon). Applying them will darken your complexion and give you the appearance of a tan around three shades darker than what you currently have.
Bronzers often come in either matte, or shimmer, with matte being a bit more subtle and natural, and shimmer giving you a bit more pop and glow. All forms of bronzer are easy to apply and are a common part of many people’s daily makeup routine.
Which Is Better For My Face, Self-Tanner or Bronzer?
Although self-tanner and bronzer both provide a darker complexion, they are really for completely different purposes. Self-tanner is typically used over your entire body, to simulate a tan you would have received from the sun. Bronzer is more commonly used as a facial cosmetic product and is not often applied to the entire body.
Self-tanners also persist for a few days or a week, as they chemically react with the skin to give you a lasting tan. A bronzer is a form of makeup, that can easily be washed away and is not intended to last for more than about 24 hours.
You need to think about how long you want to have your tan for, and where you want your tan. If you’re looking for an all-over-body tan, go with a self-tanner. If it’s the middle of winter, and you’re headed to a party, a bronzer on your face might give you all the tan that really matters.
Do Some Self-Tanning Products Contain Bronzer?
Yes! Many self-tanning products have what is often referred to as a “guide color” or bronzer in them. This is so that the person applying the product can more easily see where the tanning product has been applied, and in what thickness.
After you’re done tanning, you can shower off the bronzer and the sunless tanning product with DHA will still react and produce a long-lasting self-tan.
Just about all spray-tanning products also contain a bronzer so that the employee applying it can ensure they are getting complete and even spread.
Bronzers and self-tanners are both really great products, and honestly can absolutely be used together. If you’re looking for a safe and easy way to get a beautiful tan, go with a sunless tanning product. If you want a few shades darker skin for your skin, and want it to be temporary, go with a bronzer product.
I hope you found this article helpful, if you did, please consider sharing!