Five Favorite Sunless Tanners

tanner_sun at home

Hear ye, hear ye, oh summer goddesses: wedding season is upon us.

Not to mention tank-top season, skirt season, and tiny bathing-suit season—in other words, it’s bare-your-skin season. Forget bangles and summer-scarves: radiant bronzed skin is the must-have accessory every single summer. And now that I’m an almost-thirty, literally baking myself next to a pool or in a tanning bed is not only dangerous, but a total inconvenience: tanning is stinky and sweaty and hot and miserable. This is why I've spent the past couple of summer seasons experimenting with sunless tanners, many of which left my skin looking more like that of an Oompa Loompa than of the Olympic beach volleyballer I was channeling.

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Below you’ll find a nice concise list of my five favorite sunless tanners. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the article for tips on achieving a killer tan at home without any streaks or messes.

1) Made in the Shade self-tanner by Arbonne

tanner_arbonne I know, I know: Arbonne is fancy-shmancy. But this particular self-tanning spray is completely worth its price. MITS is made of botanical oils, so it smells much better than other at-home tanning lotions. The results are almost immediate, meaning you can apply the spray after your shower in the morning and notice a bronze glow within the next two or three hours. Bonus: It even boasts a broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen! Deets: Spray-on tanner, results within hours, SPF 15, ~$30, avail. online

2) Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Mosturizer

tanner_jergens This product is an old favorite. Because this lotion offers a “gradual” tanning effect, you never have to worry about leaving streaks or looking dirty after application. Natural Glow wears more like a proper lotion, leaving your skin feeling super smooth and moisturized all day. It admittedly smells a bit like what you’d expect a self-tanner to smell like, but overall the scent isn’t too offensive. Deets: Rub-on lotion, gradual effect, ~$3, avail. at drugstores

3) ULTA Self-Tanning Continuous Spray

tanner_ulta This lightweight, spray-on mist provides an even glow without any rubbing or smoothing. It dries quickly and is buildable, meaning you can use the spray every day until you’ve achieved the tan you’re after. From there you can maintain your tan by spraying down once or twice a week. The downside: this one has some stank on it. Regardless of the smell, this product delivers quick results. Thanks to my dear friend Megan who discovered this lovely product. Deets: Continuous spray-on mist, immediate bronzing, ~$10, avail. at ULTA

4) Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion

tanner_sublime bronze If you need an immediate tan, (as in, the party/wedding/date is tonight), this is the product for you. Because it’s tinted, Sublime Bronze gives you an instantaneous glow; this also makes application a breeze because you can see exactly where you’re smearing the product. Like the ULTA spray, this one is a little stinky. But as the product dries, the smell fades considerably. Deets: Tinted lotion, immediate bronzing, ~$11, avail. at drugstores

5) TanTowel

tanner_tan towel I felt that this list would be incomplete without the inclusion of a tanning towel or wipe. The TanTowel is a unique product in that it reacts differently with each user’s skin proteins and amino acids. Just use a new TanTowel on clean skin with a circular application. The results appear within hours and can last up to a week. This product is also buildable and, when used correctly, can give you an even tan without the fuss of a cream, lotion or spray. Deets: Wipe-on towel, results within hours, ~$12, avail. online

Tips for top-notch tanning at home:

1) Exfoliate: Scrub your skin down in the shower to ensure an even application.

2) Use a lotion first. If you’re particularly pale and don’t want a dramatic shade change, soften the effects of your self-tanner by applying your favorite body lotion before you use your tanner.

3) Wipe down elbows, knees, and eyebrows, and ankles (after applying the self-tanner, that is). These areas can conceal concentrated product, leaving you looking dirty.

4) Danger areas: in-between fingers and toes, wrists, and the backs of your arms. Double-check these parts of your body post-application.

5) Let your self-tanner dry before you put your clothes on. No one like orange collars or cuffs.

Good luck and stay golden, luvvies.


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