Bondi Sands Came Out With a Self-Tan Back Applicator — Here's How Well It Works

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In recent years, self-tanning products have stepped up their game, with the inventions of clear tanning solutions that don't stain clothes, streak-free formulas that ensure a picture-perfect glow, and handy mitts that evenly distribute the lotion all over your body. While these are helpful tools for the self-tanning enthusiasts out there, there's still been something missing from the market: applicators that help you cover those hard-to-reach areas. That is, until the Australian skin-care company Bondi Sands dropped its newest product — the Back Applicator ($12). This game-changing launch makes applying self-tan at home alone much easier.

Coming from a veteran self-tanner, I was excited when I learned about the product, but I was also a bit skeptical. How much does a back applicator cost? How does it work? And more importantly, how well does it work? I decided to put it to the test to find out. Read ahead for a step-by-step guide on how to use this self-tanning tool, as well as my final thoughts on it. Can getting a flawless tan from front to back really be that easy?

Overview: Bondi Sands Back Applicator
POPSUGAR Photography | Lauren Harano

Overview: Bondi Sands Back Applicator

The self-tanning back applicator comes in a compact package that has three replacement application pads. The back tanner can fold together, making it easy to fit inside a bathroom drawer or makeup bag, and when the handle is extended, it locks into place. You can use either side of the product (black or blue) to apply self-tanner.

Step 1: Prep Back
POPSUGAR Photography | Lauren Harano

Step 1: Prep Back

Before applying the tan, I took a quick shower and exfoliated my whole body, with emphasis on rough places like my knees and elbows, to prep my skin for the application of the fake-tanning solution. (Exfoliating removes dead skin and helps even out dry patches, which allows self-tanner to blend into your skin evenly and be absorbed better. If you don't exfoliate first, the self-tanning solution will sit on the skin's surface instead of blending in and it will stick to any dry or rough patches and make them look darker than the rest of your skin.)

Just a note, the sides of my back were tanner than the middle of my back, because despite wearing sunscreen, I've gotten some natural color from wearing tank tops and workout clothes. Due to this, I knew I needed to focus on evening out my tan by adding more tanner to the middle of my back.

Step 2: Apply the Tanner to the Applicator
POPSUGAR Photography | Lauren Harano

Step 2: Apply the Tanner to the Applicator

I decided to apply Bali Body's Self Tanning Mousse to the biggest part of the applicator to ensure I could cover my whole back. The applicator is made of the same material as the tanning mitt, so I felt comfort in knowing the tan on my back would resemble the tan on the rest of my body.

Step 3: Use the Applicator on the Back
POPSUGAR Photography | Lauren Harano

Step 3: Use the Applicator on the Back

Bondi Sands states that the best way to use the back applicator is by starting at the center of your back and slowly moving outward using long vertical strokes. This ensures an even, streak-free tan. I had a bit of trouble executing that flawlessly, since it was hard to make perfectly vertical strokes, so I tried some different techniques. I applied more tanner to the applicator and rubbed it around in circular motions to try and get all the hard-to-reach places covered. Being by a mirror was really helpful as I was able to see every angle of my back.

Pro tip: Using a self-tanner that's colored (not clear) is super helpful. You can see exactly where the tan is and where you might have missed a spot.

Final Thoughts
POPSUGAR Photography | Lauren Harano

Final Thoughts

While I did think the product worked better than using my own hand with a mitt, there were some difficulties I had with it. First of all, it was hard to evenly distribute the tan with the applicator. I noticed that my shoulder blades were sticking out at certain angles when I reached for different areas. This was definitely just a user problem, as the product was not defective in any way.

I also noticed that even with the applicator, I missed a couple spots, so I did a final layer with the help of a mitt. While this might seem like it defeats the purpose of using the applicator, there were some spots I wasn't able to reach with just the mitt alone.

In the end, I would give this product an eight out of 10. It was very helpful, but there were still some things I had trouble with. I believe practice makes perfect and I'll need to spend more time perfecting my ability to use this tool, but I would definitely recommend this product to someone who's applying self-tanner to themselves.

Buy: Bondi Sands Self Tan Back Applicator
asos.com

Buy: Bondi Sands Self Tan Back Applicator

You can pick up the Bondi Sands Back Applicator ($12) at Asos, or on the brand's website.