We Tested Drugstore Self-Tanner Against The Pricey Stuff — & This Is What Happened

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Is there any beauty product as polarizing as self-tanner? You either love it or hate it — and the results can be just as varied. Plus, it gets even more complicated when you think about why some of us turn to the foams and creams.
I've faced my own personal struggle between embracing my pale skin and wanting it to look like the airbrushed bronze I see on models on Instagram. But in the years since high school — back when I was obsessed with being the “perfect” shade for prom or spring break — I've learned to accept my complexion.
That means I still opt for a bronze boost on occasion, but don't feel that I need it — and that's a great place to be, in my opinion. It also made me the perfect lab rat for testing a popular formula from UK brand James Read against cheaper options. For help, I enlisted friend and colleague David to test a drugstore formula — and this video was born.
So what exactly happened? Press play above to see exactly what kind of results we got, then grab the formula that appeals to you (and your budget) more. But, of course, don't forget that no one needs self-tanner — but it's fun to fake it on occasion.
James Read Bronzing Mousse, $38, available at Net-A-Porter; Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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