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Instant Vs. Gradual Self Tanner

instant vs gradual self tanner

Would you rather have an instant tan, or a gradual one?

Some people like the idea of having an immediate result, but other people prefer to build up color gradually.

These are two different methods for self tanners and it’s important to know which is best for you.

In this blog post we will discuss the pros and cons of each type so that you can make a more informed decision!

There are two different types of self tanners, instant and gradual.

The main difference between these two is that gradual tanners are applied over a number of days which builds up color gradually, while instant tanners give you an immediate result.

There are more differences we can talk about, so make sure to read more below.

What is an Instant Tanner?

Instant tanners are easy to apply and provide an immediate result.

They usually dry quickly so you can get dressed soon after application, but it is recommended that you wait a few hours for the maximum color development before getting wet or exercising.

There are many different types of instant tanning products available on the market today. You can use them in different ways depending on which kind you get.

Some are applied with a mitt while others come in the form of sprays, lotions or gels that can be rubbed into your skin.

What is a Gradual Tanner?

Gradual tanners build up color over several days for an overall darker look without having to worry about streaking or patchy areas.

Many people like gradual tanners because they can get a tan without having to expose their skin to UV rays.

Gradual self-tanners usually contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which reacts with the upper layer of your skin cells and causes them to darken or become more pigmented over time.

You can purchase gradual tanners as lotions, mousses or gels.

Common Difference Between Instant and Gradual Tanners

There are many different types of self tanner products available on the market today so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.

It’s important to think about the differences between instant and gradual tanners so that you can make an informed decision.

  • Time for the tanner to develop – the initial difference is how long it takes for your tan to develop.
    • For example, if you want a quick result then an instant product might be right for you but if patience isn’t one of your strengths then maybe a gradual self tanner would be better.
  • Color – the second difference is how dark you want your tan to look.
    • If you are looking for a light result then an instant product might work well but if you want something with more color pay off, then gradual self tanners are usually best because they provide darker results over time.
    • This is especially true if you use a gradual tanner with DHA.
  • How to Apply – the third difference is how you apply your product.
    • Many instant self tanners come in spray form so they are easy and quick to use, but some people hate the feeling of spraying their skin.
    • Gradual products don’t have this issue because they can be applied in more ways such as with a mitt, lotion or gel.
  • When to Apply – the last difference is when you choose to apply your tanner.
    • Many people like instant tanners because they can get dressed right away but if want more time before getting in your clothes then gradual self-tanners are usually better for this reason.

How To Apply Instant Tanner

Instant self-tanners are easy to apply and provide an immediate result.

They usually dry quickly so you can get dressed soon after application, but it is recommended that you wait a few hours for the maximum color development before getting wet or exercising.

Many instant tanners come in spray form which makes them quick and easy to use on your skin. You simply spray the product on your skin and wait for it to dry.

Some instant tanners come in mousse form which you apply with a mitt, massage into your skin then wash off after about three hours.

It is recommended that you leave this type of self-tanner on overnight so that the color develops fully before getting wet or exercising.

How To Apply Gradual Tanner

Gradual self-tanners are applied in much the same way as instant tanners except they require more time for your skin to absorb the product before getting wet or exercising.

This is especially true if you’re using a gradual tanner with DHA which can take several hours to develop full color.

To apply a gradual tanner you simply work it into your skin and let it absorb for about three hours before getting in the shower.

Then, just wash as normal to reveal beautifully bronzed skin!

In order to get the maximum color from any type of self-tanner product always remember to exfoliate first so that dead cells are removed from your skin.

This will allow the product to work better and create a more even result on your skin.

Benefits of Instant Self Tanners

Instant self-tanners provide a quick and easy solution to getting tan skin.

They are great for achieving a base tan before going on vacation or wearing a revealing outfit, but they don’t last very long so you’ll need to apply them frequently if you want darker color.

Instant tanners also come with a guide color which helps you see where the product is going but it can be messy and staining.

This is very helpful especially if you are new to applying sunless tanning products. 

It also contains more bronzer than gradual self tanners which might not be the best option for your skin type.

Benefits of Gradual Self Tanners

Gradual self-tanners provide a natural looking bronzed appearance that lasts longer than an instant tanner, so they are great for people who don’t want to have to apply their tanner often or worry about it rubbing off on their clothes.

Gradual tanners don’t come with a guide color so you won’t have to worry about any messy staining or transferring onto your clothing, and they are much less likely to irritate sensitive skin types because the DHA is what gives them brown color instead of bronzer.

In addition, gradual tanners are usually much easier to apply because they don’t dry as quickly and you can use the time it takes for them to absorb into your skin to do other things like make dinner or work on a hobby.

This is especially true if you choose a gradual tanner with DHA so that even after washing it off no guide color will be left behind.

This is the safest option for sensitive skin and will allow you to avoid any orange streaks or patches that can happen with other self-tanners.

Instant Vs. Gradual Self Tanner

Final Notes on Instant Vs. Gradual Self Tanner

Instant tanners give a quick result but don’t last long, while gradual tanners provide a longer lasting bronzed appearance and are much kinder to your skin.

No matter which type of self-tanner you choose it is important that you exfoliate before applying so that dead cells are removed from the surface of your skin and a smooth result can be achieved.

When looking for a gradual tanner look for one with DHA as this will give an even brown color which will be much kinder to your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin types.

Gradual tanners are also usually easier to apply but remember that both instant and gradual self-tanners should only be used on areas where the sun would normally hit, like arms, legs or chest so as not to look unnatural.