Imagine Every Single Thing You Hate About Self-Tanner—This One Does the Opposite


Welcome to Deep Reviewsyour one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. Every month, the Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations. To put it simply, stick with us, and buyer's remorse will be a thing of the past.


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors quite literally can't shut up about. This time around, I'm highlighting one of the buzziest (clean!) self-tanning brands on the market, +Lux Unfiltered, and the new N°36 Supernatural Tanning Mousse ($48), in particular.

As someone who's extremely fair and who's regularly self-tanned since middle school (cough, I'm now 29), I like to think of myself as a little bit of a savant when it comes to self-tanner. While the early days of my self-tanning career were filled with the too-orange, too-sparkly, and way-too-smelly lotions that shall go nameless, there has been a lot of innovation over the years, and it's rare that I encounter a product that's downright foul or even remotely close to the bronze elixirs I'd slather all over myself back in the day whilst listening to "My Humps" or "1, 2 Step." (I love setting a scene.) 

But because self-tanning formulas have improved so drastically and since there are now so many different brands and types of self-tanning formulas on the market, the competition has become infinitely more stiff. Do I have a full cabinet full of self-tanning products that I like and use regularly? Yes. Have I met the one formula that I love so much it makes me want to apply for a marriage license? No. At least, not until I discovered +Lux Unfiltered


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Even though I've always been a mousse kind of gal, when I tried the brand's IG-famous self-tanning lotions a couple of years back, my head, as they say on Love Island, was immediately turned. They smelled dreamy (to the point where I would get complimented on my scent and have to admit to strangers it wasn't an expensive perfume but my gradual tan); the results were even and streak-free; and the ingredients were clean, recognizable, and super nourishing and hydrating. (You're left with not only a believable glow but also the best-looking and -feeling skin of your life.) I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but as I tried other products from the line (like the Face Bronzing Dropsobsessed) and had more and more of my friends and family get on board, I realized there was no impending shoe droppage to be had. (Except for, perhaps, the price points, but the results are so great, I am fully on board with the investment.) Plus, I really appreciate that the formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, silicone-free, paraffin-free, and sulfate-free.

The one and only hitch? As great as the lotions were, I still craved a mousse. So when the brand finally dropped its own version last December, I was more excited than any person has any right to be over a self-tanner. (Hey, I like what I like, okay?) I was hoping for the same gorgeously scented, perfectly tinted, naturally formulated sister scenario of my beloved lotions in mousse form, and that's exactly what the brand delivered.


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Typically, I like to tan at night (apply, wait about 10 minutes, and then put on some loose clothing—easy peasy), but for the purposes of this review, I chose to begin my self-tanning ritual on a Monday morning. Freshly exfoliated, shaved, and with the brand's Conditioning Body Cream lightly applied to my knees, hands, feet, and elbows, I was ready to transform from my natural, Casper-like state to a sun-kissed bronze right before your eyes. 

Here's my process: Using a mitt (the brand will be launching its own soon), I do a couple of pumps per body part, and sweep it in long strokes over my skin to distribute the foam before getting into a tighter, more circular motion to blend everything in. One of the things I love about the mousse is that it's fast-drying (no post-application stickiness!), but that does mean you have to move pretty swiftly to make sure you're covered and even. Then, I like to mix a few drops of the Face Bronzing Drops—one of the only face tanners I've tried that doesn't spawn massive breakouts—with my moisturizer so I get dose of glow on my face, too. Then, it's time to wait. 


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

The brand recommends waiting a full eight hours to shower or get wet in any capacity for both the mousse and the Face Bronzing Drops. That, said you can rinse off whenever you feel like depending on how deep you want your tan to be. I abide by the full eight! The mousse is tinted, so you get payoff right away—you can see in my pics—but the tone will continue to darken as it works its magic over the course of the day or night. (To clarify, what you see initially is the color guide, and the actual tan will start to develop within two hours.) Since I tanned in the morning, I showered in the evening and then went to bed. As you can see, I woke up significantly tanner (but not orange) the next morning and was good to go!


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

One eight-hour application really does it for me and gets me to the shade of tan I want—not too deep, not too light, just right—but as the week wears on, you can definitely do another application. If I want a little more intensity, I typically reach for the self-tanning lotions because they smell insanely great ("Santal" is ridiculous—I love it), they're as high-quality and hydrating as my other non-tanning body lotions, and they don't streak or transfer. I once applied the lotion a couple of hours before falling asleep (not, ahem, wearing much clothing) on pristinely white sheets, and they were just as pristinely white the next morning. Better yet, there were no sheet-induced streaks to be scene on my freshly bronzed body. These are unicorn self-tanning products I tell you!


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

If you do one application of the mousse (and perhaps a re-up with the lotion), your results will last about a week depending on how often you're sweating, taking showers, exfoliating, etc. Being extra diligent about moisturizing especially will really help extend the longevity of your tan. Just be sure to steer clear of body oils or oil-infused creams, which can actually strip your tan. I love the brand's fragrance-free N°14 Conditioning Body Cream even when I'm not tanning. It's just so dreamy!

One of the best things about the N°36 Supernatural Tanning Mousse Foam (and really all of the line's products) is there's no big to-do as your tan fades. It fades evenly and undetectably so you don't feel like a scaly and patchy extra on the set of some kind of extraterrestrial Steven Spielberg epic. By the end of the week (and sometimes more around day 10—the tan really does last!), I simply use some type of physical exfoliator—be it a bar, mitt, or polish—and massage away any residual tan.

Keep scrolling to peruse the brand's pro tanning tips and to shop all of my tanning routine nonnegotiables. 


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Additional questions or concerns? +Lux Unfiltered's co-founder Sivan Ayla answers FAQs on the brand's website here

Shop My +Lux Unfiltered Routine

The Self-Tanning Mousse

The Bronzing Face Drops

The Gradual Self-Tanning Creams

The Everyday (Non-Tanning) Body Moisturizer

The Exfoliating Body Polish

Up next, We Tried the New Launch That Activates Incandescent Skin Now (and Long-Term)

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.