Prior to this year, if you told me that I would eventually purchase an entire box of self-tanner, I would have scoffed. This is a product, I thought, that requires practiced, calculated application. It needs to come with the additional purchase of an exfoliating mitt. It will stain every set of sheets and towels I own. Then, spring came, I realized my legs hadn’t seen the sun in almost four months, and I was looking especially washed out. So, despite my reservations, I made a detour to Sephora in the middle of a springtime snowstorm.
“I think I need self tanner,” I said plaintively, wrapped in my scarf and beanie. The sales associate gave me a look that said, “Say no more,” and walked me over to a wall of bronze bottles. But instead of handing me one, she reached over and in one fluid movement, presented me with a bright yellow box of Kate Somerville 360° Tanning Towelettes. “This is what you want,” she said emphatically. “Taylor Swift came into the 5th Avenue location once…” she added, suddenly lowering her voice. “And she bought out our entire stock.”
Wondering if it was too good to be true, I looked her straight in the eye. “All of it?” I asked. “Honest,” she said, so seriously I thought she might pinky swear on it.
It should come as no surprise that I bought the towelettes. Whether or not they’re actually Swift-approved, I can confirm that they are indeed worthy of stockpiling after using them extensively. Each pre-soaked towelette comes individually wrapped, making it ideal for travel. They are truly foolproof and create a natural bronze effect, as though you’ve just spent the past two days leisurely drinking CBD-infused seltzer water on the beach. Best of all, even novices can’t mess up the application.
Having never gone near a bottle of faux tan before, I simply did what Google instructed. After showering and exfoliating, I hopped out, dried off, and rubbed the towelette all over my face and body (yes, it can be used on both). I washed my hands after application to prevent overly bronzed palms, put on an old T-shirt, and went to bed. The entire post-shower process took no more than five minutes.
The next morning I woke up, quite literally aglow. There wasn’t a single orange streak or patch in sight, and I smelled only faintly of lemon-tinged DHA (the ingredient in self-tanner that makes you tan but also has that distinct self-tanner smell). My T-shirt and white sheets were pristine. Perhaps the best way to describe the final effect is that it doesn’t look like you’re wearing any self-tanner, which is kind of the whole point. “You look tan,” my roommate said to me that day. (To my great disappointment, she did not say, “You look like Taylor Swift!”)
One box of eight pre-wrapped towelettes will run you $48, which means that each tan comes out to a reasonable $6. The convenience and long-lasting color (I get about two weeks of wear time out of each sachet) keep me coming back. To maximize usage, I’ll sometimes cut off tiny towelette pieces for touch-ups on the areas that fade faster—like around my ears or on my face. I should also add that these don’t make me break out, which is more than I can say about 95% of the beauty products that I have tried. I have yet to witness Taylor Swift buying these at my local Sephora, but I’m already on my second box—and I’ll be back for more the second I run out.