Raise your hand if you think that your skin could use a serious boost of color. As the colder months settle in, it can be hard to remember your tanned skin of seasons past. That's where a self-tanner comes in: It makes you look like you've just come back from a tropical vacation, even if you haven't left your apartment. The tricky part is finding a self-tanner that won't leave behind streaks. Nothing gives an at-home tan away more than uneven color.
Below you'll find a few of the best self-tanners that, as long as you follow the basic instructions, won't leave you looking like an orange, streaky mess—which means you'll be free to spend your time doing something other than Googling "how to remove self-tanner." And, hey, even if you hate the results (but trust us; you won't), self-tanners fade after a week anyway, so the commitment level here is pretty low. Best of all, brands are releasing high-tech, advanced formulas that are specifically made to give you a gorgeous glow that people won't be able to tell is fake. Get ready for the bronzed skin of your dreams.
Bondi Sands PURE Self Tanning Sleep Mask
No time to tan during the day? Slather on this Sleep Mask from Bondi Sands. It gives you a subtle glow and has tons of skincare-like benefits like vitamins C and E for hydration and glow.
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
With this hydrating gel, you can alternate your glow to suit your mood: subtle for brunch, extra for the beach. The gel formula is easy to apply and spread. Plus, it’s tinted, so you know exactly what real estate you’ve already covered, for a consistent end result.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water
This user-friendly spray pump makes applying this feel like a breeze. Expect a glowy tan to appear four to six hours afterwards. Even better? Brighter skin. This organic blend is formulated with color-correcting actives that are clinically proven to even your skin tone. Nothing's worse than a spotty tan—you'll never have to worry about missing a spot with this.
Bali Body Self-Tanning Mousse
Streaks are a dead giveaway, and a mousse makes application that much easier. And it dries quickly, so you won't be staining your couch or favorite sweatpants.
L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Water Mousse
For experienced self-tanners, this bronzing mousse offers quick, impactful results like no other. The lightweight formula spreads easily, doesn’t streak, and leaves skin nicely hydrated. Also, the coconut scent transports you right to the beach.
SOL by Jergens Deeper by the Drop Serum
This moisturizing, serum-like formula is made with Vitamin E and coconut water to keep your skin looking (and feeling!) smooth and soft. Color develops in 4-6 hours, so it's best to do in the morning before a big event at night!
St. Moriz Miracle Tanning Serum
Hyaluronic acid gives this tanning serum a boost of hydration. A clinical study even found that the skin's collagen was increased after just two weeks of use.
Loving Tan 2 HR Express Self Tanning Mousse Dark
While you can leave this easy-to-apply mouse for two hours for maximum color, just having it on for one will still do the trick.
Tan Towel Total Body Tan Dark, 0.25 fl. oz.
If you're new to self tanning and you don't want to rush in with a foam, try one of these self-tanning towelettes. The tanner goes on clear and dries down over the course of a few hours. It also dries in seconds, so you won't be left feeling sticky.
CLINIQUE Sun-Kissed Face Gelee Complexion Multitasker Bronzer
Give your skin a healthy-looking glow courtesy of this bronzer-self-tanner-hybrid from Clinique. Wear it alone or mix it in with your foundation to get the most of your glow.
Il Makiage 85/66 Magic Moisturizing Sun Foam
If you don't want to buy a mitt and a brush separately from your self-tanner, this set from Il Makiage has it all in one handy bundle. The small, dense kabuki brush makes hard-to-reach places a breeze.
NORMALIFE Glow Color Enhancer
Give your tan a pick-me-up with this Glow Color Enhancer. Or, apply it on its own to give your skin an instant boost.
Tanologist Gradual Tan Lotion
This lightweight lotion works for both your face and your body for an even, sunless glow. The formulation is also cruelty-free and vegan.
b.tan Fake It Don't Bake It Tinted Sunless Tanning Lotion
Shea butter, jojoba oil, and coconut oil give this highly-adjustable liquid its hydrating kick to the effects last even longer. Hop in the shower after just an hour for a more subtle shade, or leave it on for the afternoon for maximum results.
Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan SPF 40
Vow to avoid that fake tan look that took over the early 2000s at all costs. Opt for more subtle self-tanners that bring out your skin's inner-glow. On those especially sluggish days when you look like you'd rather stay in bed and you need a boost, lean on this tanning mist. It will enhance your skin's natural glow while protecting it from harmful UV rays with a hefty dose of SPF 40. Think of it as a mist that will give your face and body an extra pep in its step in the glow department.
COOLA Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer
Ok, you hit the beach, and you've got a *flawless* base tan. To maintain that flawless hue on your face, a subtle daily-use cream is the ideal solution. The sugar beet-derived DHA helps gradually guild and maintain that glow while it hydrates and softens skin.
Vita Liberata Heavenly Tanning Elixir
Encapsulated technology helps this hydrating formula penetrate deeper and slowly release DHA (the magic ingredient in most tanning products) so your color lasts longer and develops more evenly. This provides a medium tan that lasts up to ten whole days.
Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow
Maybe you don't need an instant, vacation-level tan and you just want to add a little warmth as the summer goes on. Dior's formula adapts to your skin's pH to give you an even, gradual bronzing you can build on.
Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self Tanning Body Oil
Dry, rough skin around the elbows and knees can be a dead give away when it comes to your faux glow, as pigment will get stuck on creases and flakes. This hydrating formula contains Argan oil and vitamin E to condition skin, and the mitt will buff away the dry patches.
Tane-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum
If your go-to self tanner tends to get stuck on those dry flakes by your nose (any everywhere else) this hydrating option kills two birds with one stone. Its gradual color tans the face little by little so you can capture the perfect shade, while hyaluronic acid gives skin an extra moisturizing boost for a bouncier complexion.
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish
Need a boost of warmth for an event tonight, but don't want it to stick around? This rinse-off formula crates a flawless, 'just got back from an island' glow that only comes off when you shower.
St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Gradual Tan Watermelon Infusion Body Lotion
Sometimes, a slow and steady tan leading up to vacation is your best bet for longevity. A subtle bronzed finish is exactly what this light-as-air lotion will do, which is the best fake it 'til you make it to the beach approach. Plus, the delightful watermelon scent screams sun is coming.
Omorovicza Glam Glow
This citrus-scented lotion treats skin while it gives it a gradual glow. Plum almond oil improves elasticity while apple pectin makes skin more supple.
Temptu Air Device
Meet the handheld version of your typical tanning salon, minus the possibility of catastrophe. Simply insert the pods into the lightweight, cordless machine for an even airbrushed tan on-the-go.
James Read Tan Click & Glow
Whatever your destination, this click-and-go pen is easy to use and transport. Layer it with your favorite all-over tanner of choice. It’s perfect for fixing up awkward tan lines, correcting missed spots, or just dabbing here and there as your summer color fades.
Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam
This weightless, easy-to-spread formula actually treats the skin while it absorbs. It helps hydrate and plump the skin so your bikini looks that much cuter.
Sisley Paris Self Tanning Hydrating Body Skin Care
This supremely hydrating body treatment imparts believable sun-kissed color that makes it look like you spent an afternoon lying by the pool (with appropriate sunblock; the shade payoff is extremely natural). Because it’s so nourishing, it can also soothe your parched skin after you’ve actually been at the beach.
TAN-LUXE Super Glow Body Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum
This self-tanning serum does for your body what skincare does for your face. Hyaluronic acid traps in moisture so you don't get any of those dry, patchy tanned areas. Caffeine in this serum helps firm your skin, so you can leave your house feeling toned and tan.
Trish McEvoy Instant Solutions Tanning Drops
For the girl who already has her perfect lotion picked out, these tanning drops can be added to transform any product into a tanning lotion. Whether you have a cream, an oil, or a serum that you like best, this product lets you keep your faves in rotation but adds a natural-looking glow.
Tom Ford Bronzing Gel
This bronzing gel was formulated for men, but can be enjoyed by anyone. It leaves an incredibly natural glow, making it look like you just sat by the pool for a few minutes without SPF. You can use it all over for a full-body and face tan, or just in a few areas for a tailored look.
Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.
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