Narragansett, Rhode Island
Best Sunless Tanners
Summer isn't summer without a beach vacation...
But beach time shouldn’t equal sunburns!
There are far healthier ways to get your tan on rather than laying on the beach for hours. Read on for highlights of my beach trip to the coast of Rhode Island as well as my favorite self-tanning products.
Narragansett, RI (or "Gansett" as it’s known by locals) is a beach town located in Washington County, RI. It's one of those cute, relaxed beach towns who's population nearly doubles during the summer months, thanks to tourists like me. The classic landmark of Narragansett is called The Towers, which spans Ocean Drive:
The Towers, now just a fraction of the size of the original structure, was built in 1883 as the Narragansett Pier Casino. Sadly, most of the Casino was destroyed by a fire in 1900, though what's left of the building is now a popular venue for social events and weddings.
There's an array of beaches in and near Narragansett - something for everyone.
Narragansett Town Beach
This beach is right smack in the middle of town, making it very accessible. The beach is 19 acres in total, and according to the official Narragansett CivicPlus website, up to 10,000 people visit this beach every day (so if crowds aren't your thing, skip this one). There are parking lots right on the beach you can park at for $10, but on-street parking is ample, and if you're persistent enough, you'll find a spot. Narragansett Town Beach charges $10 per person (until Labor Day) for beach access - steep, but it does have clean restrooms, changing rooms, and concession stands.
Charlestown, RI (~13mi from Narragansett)
In contrast to Narragansett Town Beach, this beach is spread out over three miles of sandy coastline, and is one of the least developed of the Rhode Island state beaches. Parking is rough, at $20/day ... but totally worth it!
This beach won't disappoint - white sandy beaches, warm turquoise water, and amazing sunsets. A bit off the beaten path, making for less crowds and a more relaxed vibe.
Yes, I work in dermatology, and yes, I like being tan. Especially in the summer.
But “being tan” now doesn’t mean having to lay out in the sun for hours at the beach. I can get into how bad the sun’s radiation is for your skin - in terms of both skin cancer risks as well as premature aging - but I’ll spare you. Just take my word for it, I take off NUMEROUS skin cancers on a daily basis. There’s absolutely no reason to be baking in the sun in today’s day and age, as there are more options than ever before for faking a flawless tan.
I’ve used an array of self-tanners throughout the years, including lotions, mousse, oils, spray-ons…you name it, I’ve probably used it. Below are my tried-and-true self-tanners, the ones I can’t live without:
#1: St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, Advanced 1-Hour Tan
This mousse formulation will give you a seriously dark tan seriously quickly. I use once weekly as my “base" in the summer months.
Keep on one hour for a “light” tan, two hours for a “medium” tan, and three hours for a “dark” tan (or just keep it on until your next shower, which is what I do - it won’t get any darker than it is at the 3rd hour)
Apply with applicator mitt
Streak-free with color guard & green-tinted base to prevent an orange-looking tan
Paraben / sulfate / phthalate free
Mild DHA smell, but goes away after showering
Tans quickly - great for us girls-on-the-go
Fades evenly, and can last upwards of one week
#2: Loving Tan™ Bronze Shimmer Luminous Cream
One of my favorite lotions for an instant, soft-focused tan. I use this pretty much every morning on my arms, neck, and décolletage. Many beauty bloggers and YouTubers have given this positive reviews, and I’d have to agree, it’s worth the money.
Available in three shades- Medium, Dark, and Ultra Dark (I use Dark currently, and will probably re-purchase in Ultra Dark)
Satin finish; absorbs quickly
Aloe vera, coffe, and pomegranate extracts make for silky smooth skin post-application and throughout the day
Luminous, air-brushed finish (NOT sparkly, NOT shiny, just luminous)
Easy-to-apply with hands (just make sure to use a wipe to get product off your palms post-application)
Can use on natural skin, or easily applies on top of your other longer-lasting self-tanners
Washes off in the shower
#3: BaliBody Bronzing Lotion
Instagram made me buy this.
Kudos on your marketing, BaliBody, kudos. But I have to say, your products are just as good as your marketing - this stuff is seriously dark for those of us that like it deep (so if you’ve got lighter skin, this may not be the stuff for you). I use this on areas that always need extra color - my torso & legs. This is a beach must-have … you’ll feel like a bronzed goddess after applying, I promise.
Instant dark tan, “bronzed glow,” that washes off in the shower
Formulated to be moisturizing - contains aloe, vitamin E, organic caramel extract, shea butter, & oils of almond, coconut, soybean, & jojoba
Smells pretty darn good
Applies nicely with hands
100% vegan & Australian made
#4: L’Oreal® Sublime Bronze™ Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion
my pick for a drug store dupe that I believe is most comparable to higher-end self-tanners.
Does it have comparable ingredients? Is it vegan? Is it organic? Does it have the same coverage as a higher-end tanner?
The simple answer is no, not really. But it’s definitely one of the better drug store brands out there, and it’s SUPER cheap.
Comes in different shades - Medium and Deep (I have Deep -I would only recommend Medium for very fair-skinned individuals)
Streak-free and green-tinted base for orange-free tan
Lovely shimmer (a bit more than the Loving Tan™ lotion, but still not anything sparkly)
Can’t beat that price
Applies nicely with hands and rinses off in the shower
Contains titanium dioxide - so you’ll get a minimal amount of photoprotection while wearing this!
Tips on how to properly prep your skin Prior to self-tanning
Exfoliate and shave // wax at least 24 hours prior to application (and for those of us that regularly apply tanning lotions, full-body exfoliation every 2-3 days is necessary to prevent build-up of tanning product, which can result in unevenness)
Moisturize the night before application, as well as immediately before application - making sure to get your driest spots (elbows, knees, ankles, knuckles, feet). This will help prevent a “patchy” tan. And keep moisturizing daily!
Use a wipe rather than soap & water to get excess product off of your palms
Wear loose-fitting clothes while your tan is developing, and try not to wash your hands during this time
Hands and face will fade the quickest - may need to reapply to these areas more often for an even look
To increase the longevity of your self-tan, stay away from bar soaps and soaps that foam // froth up quickly (this is the ONLY time I recommend staying away from Dove soap) - and opt for a low-foaming, gentle gel cleanser that doesn’t leave any residue- i.e. Cetaphil