I Put This Buzzy New Self-Tanner to the Test: 3 Days of Sweating at Coachella

Throughout my career as a beauty editor, I've been super transparent about my love and dedication to self-tanner. I've talked about getting spray tanned by the tanning goddess who's seen the majority of Hollywood naked, and I've also opened up about my self-professed addiction to self-tanner (which stemmed from being bullied growing up and is a separate story you can read all about here.) Suffice to say, self-tanning formulas have been a staple in my beauty routine since I was a wee 14-year-old in eighth grade, and I've tried my fair share of products—the good, the bad, and the downright streaky. By now I pretty much consider myself a self-tanning whisperer, but I won't boast.

However, it wasn't until about one year ago on the dot that I was introduced to Bondi Sands—Australia's number one bronze manufacturer, the top-selling brand globally, and a relatively new arrival here in the United States (if you've ever wanted to glow like an Aussie supermodel, now you can!). The brand already offers virtually every kind of tanning product you can dream of—lotions, mists, oils, foams, and the necessary accessories like application mitts—but what's more, it continues to grow its collection of Aussie-approved cult favorites with innovative and ever-improving formulas.

I'd already been duly impressed with the handful of self-tanners I'd tried from Bondi, (the Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk $19 and the Ultra Dark Self Tanning Foam $26 are two of my faves), so you can imagine my excitement when I heard the brand was launching a brand-new best-ever tanning product said to surpass all of its other formulas in virtually every way. Seriously, I might have been frothing at the mouth in anticipation when I first heard the news. To celebrate the new product (and the brand's first-ever U.S. launch!), Bondi Sands invited me and a host of other editors, influencers, and brand ambassadors to put the product to the ultimate sun- and sweat-drenched test. Coachella, meet Bondi Sands Aero Tanning Foam ($29), and Aero, meet Coachella. 

What makes the new tanning elixir vibrate with buzz? For starters, it boasts a featherweight aerosol foam, which, according to the initial press release I received from the brand, absorbs into the skin faster and deeper than other foam and mousse formulas on the market. It smells like coconut (no off-putting stink factor!), it won't transfer onto your clothing or sheets, it's intensely hydrating, and it yields a darker, longer-lasting tan through and through. Aero basically appeared to be the self-tanner of all self-tanners, but would it live up to the hype? 

Although the product officially launched on April 13, I was lucky enough to get my limbs on Aero a tad bit early so I could put it to the test the full time I was sweating, singing, and dancing at Coachella. Not to be a spoilsport (definitely keep reading!), but it honestly exceeded my super-nit-picky expectations and high standards. Ahead, I'm breaking down Aero perk by perk and explaining why it's pretty much superior to almost every other self-tanning product I've tried. Oh, and if you feel so inclined to try it out yourself, it's officially available online at Walgreens and will land in stores May 1. Keep scrolling!

1. It Dries Insanely Fast

As I mentioned, I've sported a consistent lacquer of self-tan for basically years on end; I've probably spent 70% of my life covered in the stuff. I used to be super diligent about applying, scrubbing off, and re-applying my favorite formulas like clockwork every week, but I've slowly become increasingly lazy and apprehensive about the process. The main reason? I hate the icky, sticky, smelly side effects of the ritual. Sure, I love and appreciate my fresh tan after the hours it takes to develop, but there's nothing more cringe-worthy than sticking to your sheets or feeling claustrophobic in the product as you wait. 

I'd have to say that one of the top reasons I truly, truly stan Aero is how insanely fast it dries. Not only that, you literally can't feel it on your skin after it's been applied, and it doesn't transfer onto your sheets or clothing. It's a dream to sweep over your skin and has basically taken all my pre-tan scaries out of the application process. That said, I will warn you that due to how fast it dries and absorbs into the skin, you have to work fast with your mitt. And yes, please use a mitt! 

2. It Smells Heavenly

In addition to the signature stick and grease factors of so many other self-tanning formulas I've tried, comes the trademark chicken teriyaki smell that grows stronger (and more gag-worthy) as the tan develops on the skin. Sometimes the self-tan smell will even linger post-shower or make your natural body odor smell worse when you're at the gym or out for a run. Eek—not optimal.

Aero? Not so much. The entire time I wore the new-tanning foam, I never detected the signature self-tan smell, and my skin, clothes, and sheets were only left with the brand's super-fresh coconut scent. It's light, and it makes me feel like I'm on vacation.

3. It's Intensely Hydrating 

One of my biggest pet peeves about so many self-tanners I try is that they completely parch my skin, and as soon as the very next day leave me flaky, dry, and scaly looking. Not cute.

However, even as I applied Aero, I knew that wouldn't be the case. As I carefully slathered it all over my body, I could tell how smooth and moisturized it made my skin look (very, very glowy), and after I rinsed off with warm water six hours later, my skin maintained its halo of hydration thanks to the foam's concoction of vitamin E and jojoba

4. The Color is On Point

Tint and color are tricky with self-tanners, and to be honest, the color and finish you like really comes down to personal preference. Over the years, I've noticed some formulas are redder, some are more green, some are browner, some are orange—you get the picture. All in all, I've come to determine that all of the lotions and mousses I typically prefer usually have more of a brown/green tint, which ultimately results in an olive/golden glow rather than a red or burnt orange vibe.

Again, this is just what I personally prefer and think looks most natural, so I was relieved to see that Aero's color was a tame and natural-looking shade of brownish green, which roughly six hours later developed into a rich, deep, tan that looked like it came courtesy of hours under the Australian sun and not from a bottle. 

5. It Actually Lasts

Thanks to the impressive absorbancy of this quick-dry aerated formula, the tan itself is meant to be more durable than other options on the market, and even though I found myself in a frequent cycle of sweating, sunning, and showering while at Coachella, my tan from Aero persevered and barely budged. Even by Saturday night and Sunday morning, my tan looked like it had only just been applied, and it hadn't taken on any scales, splotches, or bizarre color undertones.

Of course, the formula is meant to be layered, and I could have added another coat a night or two into my stay, but I honestly didn't feel the need. Another reason I love this self-tanner is it's super customizable depending on how dark and deep of a tan you want, and I worked something of a middle ground the whole weekend.

6. It Fades Evenly and Unnoticeably

That said, it is a fake tan and eventually, it will fade. My one application looked really effing good for a full five days and it honestly wasn't until day six or seven after I got back from Palm Springs that I felt I could use another dose of color. However, what truly, truly struck me was that I never not once noticed a scale or splotch—the tan just seemed to magically evaporate off my skin. And, truth be told, I didn't even feel like I needed to use the brand's heaven-sent self-tan eraser before my next application.

Quite honestly, I've tried some fake tan products that have faded pretty flawlessly, but this one from Bondi definitely takes the cake and, in my opinion, is the most natural and best within its current tanning collection.

Keep scrolling to shop more of my favorite self-tanning products from Bondi Sands.