Let me start off by saying that I’ve never felt particularly compelled to channel my inner sun goddess. (I blame my traditional Chinese grandmother, who gasped in horror the one time I suggested going to the park without a parasol.) That being said, I have dabbled in the bronze arts. There was my first foray into self-tanning during high school, with a drugstore lotion that made me smell distinctly of DHA for three months, and my more recent experimentation with St. Tropez’s Bronzing Mousse ($42) (my top pick for anyone looking for a non-smelly, natural-looking tan).
Over the years, however, my desire to reach bronze goddess status has significantly decreased—perhaps because I’ve relocated from Seattle to sunny LA, where the ever-cheery weather has given my pasty legs a natural touch of color. Either way, I’m not sure what compelled me to try Olay’s Total Effects Gradual Sunless Tanner ($21)—but I’m so glad I did. This light, everyday face lotion has given my complexion a natural-looking glow that’s a far cry from the Oompa Loompa look that haunts my nightmares. Plus, it’s full of anti-aging ingredients that promise to fight wrinkles, smooth skintone, and brighten dullness. (My oily skin is happy that salicylic acid made it into the ingredient list, too.) And finally—are you ready for this kicker?—it doesn’t smell. Somehow, Olay managed to create a gradual sunless tanner that gives a bronzy glow without the faintest whiff of that annoying DHA scent.
Suffice to say, my AM moisturizer has officially been kicked to the curb by this magical, fresh-smelling, glow giver—sorry, Grandma.