We Tried It: Self Tanner That Won't Cause a Mess

Never ruin your white sheets again

What It Is: NKD Skin Pre-Shower Gradual Tan Lotion

Who Tried It: Jillian Ruffo, Associate Beauty Editor

Why I Tried It: Whether you’ve gone to sleep with self tanner, or you’ve simply seen the disaster that Chrissy Teigen‘s faux glow caused on her sheets, you’re well aware of the mess that comes with the territory. And as someone who religiously avoids the sun (but still loves to look tan), this is a problem that I face every time summer creeps up on my pale skin. So when I discovered NKD SKN’s wash-off formula, I had to give it a try.

Level of difficulty: 3, depending on your level of self-tanning experience

Lauren Perlstein

Top arm: With NKD SKN, Bottom Arm: Without NKD SKN (Photo by Lauren Perlstein)

So here’s the deal: NKD SKN’s 10-minute self tanner is meant to be foolproof — and it pretty much is. It comes in a whitish-clear formula, much like your typical body lotion or sunscreen. And you apply it the same way — squeeze a quarter-size amount in your palm and slather it on in circular motions, as just as you would with SPF, making sure to cover all of the bases. Which is where you have to be careful: Because the formula dries clear instead of with a tint like some self-tanners do, you can’t necessarily see where you’ve applied it, or if you’ve missed a spot. So pay close attention to creating an even coat.

After the application, the hard part is over. I let the formula dry for a minute or two and threw on a robe to avoid staining my couch while I waited for the suggested 10 minutes to be over. Then, I jumped in the shower, washed off the formula with my usual body wash (but I skipped scrubbing with a loofah), and patted my skin dry upon getting out.

NKD SKNSelf Tanner

Lauren Perlstein

But I wasn’t tan yet. The DHA in the formula was left behind to develop my tan over the next 4-8 hours. So I went to sleep in peace on my white sheets, knowing that there was no sticky brown formula in sight.

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By the morning, my skin had a healthy glow. For the sake of testing, I left one arm un-tanned, and there was a visible difference between my tanned arm and my bare arm, as you can see above. Was it a deep, spray tan quality shade? Not quite, which I consider a bonus — it was light enough to prevent any streaks, and natural-looking enough for me to feel confident in going for another round. NKD even recommends using the product daily to achieve the level that suits you. The other thing I was met with in the morning? The smell — which I wasn’t shocked by, as it was equally as strong as any other self-tanner I’ve used in the past, but it did linger until my next shower.

The Verdict: As someone who tends to wake up with brown sheets and streaky legs, this formula solved all my problems, and even allows me to customize my tan to the shade I want, instead of jumping to an instant deep bronze. Will I be using it weekly from now on? Absolutely.

Have you tried NKD SKN’s products? Tell us below.

— Jillian Ruffo

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