Battle of the bronze: Lavera Glow & Go vs. Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Cream

the best self-tanner

(Photo: Sheknows)


It’s tough getting tan these days.

Slathering your body in baby oil and baking on a beach chaise has been verboten for a couple decades now. And recently, we reported on the hidden chemicals that may be lurking in your salon spray tan.

One safer option? An all-natural, organic self-tanner. Because you apply it yourself, you’re way less likely to inhale DHA, the active tanning ingredient that’s meant for your skin, not your lungs. And since a self-tanner lists ingredients on the bottle, you’ll know exactly what your pores are soaking up.

We tested two pure and popular products, Lavera Glow & Go Spray Self Tanner, a natural brand from Germany that’s sold in drugstores for $29.50, and Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Cream, an indie luxe brand that sells for $40, to see which tanner would come out on top. Here’s how they fared:

Lavera spray tanINGREDIENTS
Lavera: A mix of organic plant oils, minerals, and aloe, along with the active ingredient (DHA), which is sugar-based. Though “fragrance” is listed, Lavera tells you what’s in it. All’s quiet on the dangerous chemical front.

Chocolate Sun: Uses a blend of oils like sunflower and almond, and the DHA is extracted from sugar beets (astoundingly enough). Vanilla extract and coconut oil give it a delicious tropical scent. I was catching glorious whiffs of cocoa for hours after.

Lavera: It comes in a spray bottle, making it super easy to apply and to avoid brown palms. Although, my shower curtain did get a bit of an unintentional glow in the spray-on process.

Chocolate Sun: It feels like a luxurious lotion, but I felt compelled to smooth it on evenly to avoid streaks (which wasn’t as necessary with the spray). The Sunless Tanning Gel (another tanner for the face) has a strange, goopy consistency, and it left some grainy residue that I had to brush off later in the day.

self-tanner chocolate sunAPPEARANCE
Lavera: It imparts an immediate shimmer—my skin was literally sparkling for a couple of hours—then deepens into a sunny glow, which lasted 3 days.  It comes in one shade, so you apply extra coats to build a deeper bronze, which for me never really came. Though there were no streaks at all.

Chocolate Sun: It definitely created a deeper tan. And aside from two tiny spots where I must have been a little hasty, it was streak-free. I still didn’t look as bronzed as if I’d spent a day at the beach, but Chocolate Sun comes in lite, medium, and dark, so you can choose your shade (I chose lite since I’m generally pasty white).

Neither will turn you a Jersey-Shore-qualifying shade (phew!), and both have rest-easy clean ingredient lists. I’d recommend Lavera if you just want to casually and quickly up your glow factor for a couple of days. But Chocolate Sun is definitely the higher-end product (it feels more cosmetically elegant, too), and is your best bet if you’re looking for a substantial faux tan. —Lisa Elaine Held

Lavera, $29.50 for body, $21 for face, Lavera.com

Chocolate Sun, $40 for body, $34 for face, SpiritBeautyLounge.com


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  1. August 2nd, 2011 at 10:50 am

    […] • Face-Off: The best natural sunless tanners. (Well + Good) […]

  2. August 2nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    […] • Face-Off: The best natural sunless tanners. (Well + Good) […]

  3. August 4th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    […] To find out how they fared, click here. […]

  4. August 5th, 2011 at 10:42 am


    Does anyone know if the Emulium Delta has been removed from the Chocolate Sun range? I use Lavera as it is certified and does not contain any PEG or synthetic ingredients. Emulium Delta is listed as a vegetable Emulsifier, but it contains several synthetic ingredients ( including PEG’s) So…has is been reformulated?

    Thanks for posting if anyone knows!

  5. August 8th, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Comparing Lavera Glow and Go Spray Self Tanner to Chocolate Sun Cocoa Glow Sunless Tanning Cream is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Both will give you a tan, but a more accurate battle would be to compare Chocolate Sun against the Lavera Self Tanner, Sunless Tanning Lotion. http://bit.ly/otK5Tb This is our award winning, time tested, BDIH certified natural product that is an international hit. It is also lotion, so will provide a stronger tan then a spray-tan and be a more accurate battle. We’d love to provide you with some samples. please contact info@ lavera.com.

  6. May 25th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    The Lavera Glow & Go Self Tanner is a great Tan Extender – its very quick drying so application is a breeze. However for a dark tan, the Lavera Self Tanning Lotion (seen on Dr Oz!) and the True Natural Self Tanner both give a nice, streak-free medium tan in 3-4 hrs and smell great while doing it. These tans last 5 days or more and longer with re-application. True Natural will have a dark Tropical Tan product launching in three weeks. Check out the Self Tanning section on our site for these tanners and more or email us at [email protected].

  7. March 29th, 2013 at 9:37 am

    In response to NaturalSkincareLover, I want to clarify that the ingredient, Emilium Delta has not been in the Chocolate Sun formula for many,many years. The ingredients in the Chocolate Sun Sunless tanning collection are: DHA (derived from sugar beets), sunflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, aloe vera gel, coconut oil, jojoba oil, cetearyl and sorbitan olivate (derived from olive oil), shea butter, glucono delta-lactone, calcium gluconante, sodium PCA (the 3 previous ingredients are food derived salts and sugars used as natural preservatives), theobromo cacao, vanilla extract, and green tea leaf extract.
    The Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Collection was featured in the book “No More Dirty Looks” as a safe and clean product. Our family has been especially careful to use products that are clean and safe ever since we read “No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products ad the Ultimate Guide to Clean and Safe Cosmetics” by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt. We’ve been using Chocolate Sun Cocoa Glow for years and absolutely LOVE Chocolate Sun!

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