Self-Tanners That Actually Work

image of Megan Deem
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Self-Tanners That Actually Work

Our requirements for self-tanner may be minimal (make me look like a bronzed goddess!), but enough of us have had enough mishaps (streaky, blotchy results, errant tanner stains everywhere) that the process might almost seem not worth the trouble. However, if you want a healthy glow that's not going to age your skin in the process, faux is the only way to go. We've found eight of the best options for creating an even, perfect-every-time tan that will have you saying peace out to laying out. 

01

Best Mousse

Best Mousse

There's a reason this velvety foam keeps winning awards. The lightweight formula is practically goof-proof. Leave it on for one hour before showering to get a hint of color. Or wait three hours, and end up with a deep bronze.

02

Best Towelettes

Best Towelettes

Made with antioxidant vitamin E and exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acid, these portable packets each contain enough self-tanner to coat your body from clavicle to toe. Perfect for touch-ups while traveling, the formula develops into a natural-looking tan two to four hours after application.

03

Drugstore Deal

Drugstore Deal

This airy mousse is tinted, so you can see where you've applied it, ensuring even, streak-free results. Plus, it dries completely in 60 seconds, meaning no waiting around to get dressed and get on with your day.

04

Natural Pick

Natural Pick

This organic self-tanner is also vegan and 100 percent clean. Translation: It doesn't contain harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients such as sulfates or silicones. And since the mousse formula is clear, you have absolutely no risk of it rubbing off on your sheets or clothing.

05

Best Mist

Best Mist

Get hard-to-reach places (we're talking to you, back) with this easy-to-use spray that works at any angle. The super-light mist is oil-free and has a gorgeous floral aroma—not the usual telltale self-tanner smell.

06

Best for Face

Best for Face

This overnight gel is more like a skincare treatment than a self-tanner, since it's full of anti-aging, moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Apply before bed, and you'll wake up with a healthy, glowing complexion.

07

Has SPF

Has SPF

You know that a tan is no substitute for sun protection. This mist will guard you from the sun's aging, burning rays, thanks to an SPF of 50. But it will also help ensure you still end your day at the beach looking sun-kissed.

08

Best Dry Oil

Best Dry Oil

If you prefer the moisturizing benefits of an oil, you'll love this spray. Not only is it incredibly hydrating, it's packed with potent antioxidants, such as vitamin C. An added bonus: The 70 percent organic formula has the Eco Cert seal of approval.

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The Guide Team