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The summer of 2020 will probably go down as the one we spent the most time inside in recent history, thanks to the coronavirus. Your skin might be lacking its usual glow for the season, but it’s actually for the best because the only safe tan comes from a bottle. Even if you barely left the house, you can still get a gorgeous glow courtesy of the best self-tanners.
The first thing to know about self-tanners is they have come a long way. Back in the day, they earned a bad rep for being tricky to apply, streaky, stinky, splotchy, orange, time-consuming — you get the idea. But now, the best self-tanners are a cinch to apply evenly, don’t take nearly as much effort, won’t ruin your sheets and towels, and some even smell quite pleasant. Best of all, they’re actually quite convincing. The best self-tanners include skin-loving ingredients that also boost the health of your skin. The wide range available means you can find ones that give you a gradual, subtle glow all the way up to looking like you just stepped off a plane from the Caribbean. Spritz, slather and rub these best-self tanners on and you’ll have everyone wondering how you got so sun-kissed during quarantine.
1. St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez is practically synonymous with self-tanners at this point. They’ve nailed a range of formulas and this mousse lives up to its name as a true classic. One of the best self-tanners out there, it’s a cinch to apply. The lightweight mousse dries quickly and evenly, won’t transfer and will leave you with convincing color in just a single application. Instead of the dreaded faux-tanner smell, it has a nice subtle fragrance and moisturizes skin for up to 24 hours. Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates, it relies on 100 percent natural DHA to deliver color.
2. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body
A major multitasker, this glow pad delivers so much more than just a faux tan. Chock full of skin-friendly ingredients, it has vitamin D for antiaging and nourishment. The textured towel exfoliates as you use it, boosting cell turnover to ensure smooth skin and a more even tan. The soothing formula fends off irritation and blemishes, plus it’ll even reduce the need to shave as frequently by minimizing hair growth, length and texture. Micro-encapsulated DHA and soy proteins team up to bring great color that won’t fade.
3. L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Water Mousse
The fresh scent of coconut will make you feel like you’re on vacation — and so will the tan this super-lightweight mousse gives you. You won’t have to wait to see the results, since the color shows up instantly. The clear formula doesn’t streak or transfer and imparts buildable color, so you can apply it up to three times over the course of 12 to 24 hours for deeper color that will stick around longer. Infused with coconut water and vitamin E, the mousse leaves you with softer, smoother skin that’s beautifully hydrated.
4. Bliss Stay-Cay Glow Gradual Bronzing Overnight Mask
Faux-tanning your face can seem extra intimidating, but Bliss has your back. To ensure you get an even and subtle sun-kissed glow, this overnight mask works gradually to release a tiny bit of bronze before every morning. If you’re looking for more color faster, use it two or three nights in a row to pretend you just got back from vacation. The transfer-resistant formula means your pillow will be safe. The mask delivers much more than a tan. Coconut-scented, it’s infused with jojoba oil, squalane and acai fruit for deep hydration, free radial protection and a stronger moisture barrier.
5. TAN-LUXE The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Simply add a few drops into your favorite body butter or moisturizer and this will add color to your skin. Additionally, it tightens skin, tackles dullness and uneven texture, and increases elasticity. Another perk is it brings even more hydration to your moisturizer, thanks to raspberry seed oil, vitamin E and aloe vera. The brand’s Cellutone Complex minimizes cellulite and firms skin. It’s easy to customize your color — just add as many or as few drops as you’d like to get just the right golden glow.
6. Sol by Jergens Sunless Tanning Water Mousse
The airy foam works with your unique skin tone to give color that lasts for days. Coconut water brings on hydration and passionfruit essence will make you feel like you’re sunning under palm trees. The dye-free, colorless formula promises an easy application that develops within four to six hours, with peak color after 24 hours. For the smoothest and most seamless application, use the Sol by Jergens Sunless Tanning Applicator Mitt, which is sold separately.
7. COOLA Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist
Eco-certified cosmos organic, this is the best self-tanner for natural beauty lovers. Application doesn’t get any easier than simply spritzing it on. The color is buildable and lasts for as long as three days. Made with a 70 percent organic, antioxidant-packed formula, it boasts an ingredient list of argan oil, vitamin C, hibiscus and chamomile extract, so it also evens skin tone, moisturizes, firms and increases elasticity. Quick to dry, it won’t transfer or streak, plus the natural pina-coco aroma adds to the mini vacation experience.
8. Tarte Brazilliance 2HR Express Deep Foaming Self-Tanner
Need color in a hurry? Then this is the best self-tanner for you. You’ll be bronzed in just two hours with Tarte’s express formula, as well as deeply hydrated thanks to the potent ingredients. There’s aloe leaf juice to soothe and moisturize, coconut oil to soften and smooth, and plenty other goodies to nourish skin, including jojoba seed oil, coconut, avocado and vitamin C. Bring on deeper color by layering it.
9. Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream
Uneven color is a valid self-tanner fear, but this luxe pick from Clarins is a pretty caramel shade so you can see exactly where you’ve applied it. Living up to its name, its scent is delicious and so is its silky sensation on your skin. Infused with pure cocoa extracts, it has nourishing ingredients like aloe to hydrate, leaving you with younger and smoother looking skin that’s delicately bronzed.