When the weather gets colder, it’s not exactly feasible to spend the weekend working on our tans. Thus, when we’re heading out for the evening, the absence of a bronze glow is ever obvious. The good news is we’ve discovered some incredible sunless tanners that deliver immediate color (since who really has “three to five days” for a gradual tan to develop, anyway?).
Before we get to the products, it’s important to be aware of the prepping process for a perfect faux glow. Always remember to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate—rough, dry skin will absorb the tanning lotion in patches, making for a less-than-desirable look. Additionally, apply regular lotion on rough areas of skin, like knees, elbows, heels, etc., to provide a thin film so the self-tanner won’t absorb too deep and leave dark patches. Lastly, always remember to shave your legs first! Having stubble could make the application a bit tricky (as you can imagine).
Now, onto the products! Scroll through to see some of our favorite picks for yourself.
It’s a cult classic for a reason. This mousse absorbs super fast, meaning quicker drying time and less color transfer onto clothing (the worst!).
If the “gel” aspect of this sunless tanner is giving you pause, rest assured that it’s oil free and fast drying with gorgeous back-from-the-beach results.
The mitt isn’t even the most brilliant part of this product. It’s enriched with maracuja and vitamin C for firm, bright, and smooth skin, so not only are you getting an instant tan, but you’re getting essential skin benefits, too!
Maybe you're new to self-tanner and afraid of the harsh chemicals the big brands make their products out of, so you're looking for something with as many natural & organic ingredients as possible. Maybe you just want a cruelty free and vegan option. Maybe these things don't matter to you but you like to support small brands with great packaging. If any of these things sound like they apply to you, la beach's Tanning Water Mist might be the way to go.
Reviewers love this 100% natural, good-smelling (really) formula from Coco & Eve, which takes at maximum two hours to develop. It truly delivers on the depth of tan it promises—medium, dark, or ultra dark—and you can get it on its own or in a cute bundle.
St. Tropez, possibly one of the most famous self-tan brands around, recently came out with this nifty gel, which develops based on the length of time you leave it on. For a slight tan, leave it on for an hour. For a very deep tan, leave it on for three. The formula includes a lot of hyaluronic acid, too, so it hydrates your skin while getting you tan.
Antioxidants and nourishing oils make this mousse the perfect self-tanner for anyone who wants a luxe experience (and to be as tan as possible.) Like the St. Tropez gel, it's time-dependent, so if you want an incredibly dark tan you can leave it on for up to 8 hours. However, if you just want a nice and healthy streak-free glow, go with one hour.