6 Self-Tanners That Really Work

You know that getting a faux glow with self-tanner is much safer than basking in the sun or a bed. But self-tanners are notorious for being messy and stinky. Here, six formulas that will leave your skin looking sun-kissed—minus those telltale streaks. 


Nivea Sun Kissed Radiance Gradual Tanner & Body Lotion


Replace your usual moisturizer with this self-tanning one for a subtle glow over time. The gingko extract and grapeseed oil are so moisturizing, you’ll forget it’s a self-tanner until you see the golden results five days later.

To buy: $6.50, amazon.com.

Photo by ulta.com

Sally Hansen Salon Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup


If you’re in a pinch and need color ASAP, this body makeup works instantly. The lightweight spray (it also comes in a foam or lotion) contains hydrating palmaria extract and offers a veil of coverage to hide pigmentation, veins, and other imperfections. It’s water- and transfer-resistant, so it won’t come off until you scrub it with soap and a washcloth. Apply a generous amount to your hands and rub it in where needed (wash your hands afterwards and wait until it’s dry before getting dressed).

To buy: $12, walmart.com.

Photo by ulta.com

Sun Bum Self Tanning Towelette


Perfect for traveling, these mess-free wipes get you golden on-the-go. Each towelette does triple duty to exfoliate, moisturize, and tan in one swipe. Apply it wherever you choose, then toss the wipe and watch as the tan fully produces within two to four hours. Want more color? Wait for the first application to dry and then use another towelette.

To buy: $16 for five, ulta.com.

Photo by ulta.com


L’Oréal Paris Sublime ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist


This mist allows you to get the perfect tan without ever having to get your hands dirty. The wide-angle jet applicator distributes the formula in a superfine mist to evenly coat skin without leaving streaks. The best part? It dries whithin seconds and requires no rubbing in.

To buy: $8, amazon.com.

Photo by drugstore.com

St. Tropez Tanning Essentials In Shower Gradual Tan


If you don’t like the feel or smell of self-tanner (who does?), this wash-off version will be your ticket to a more pleasant experience. Apply it to wet skin while in the shower, and let it sit for three minutes (stand away from the showerhead) before rinsing off with warm water. Pat dry before getting dressed. You’ll notice a golden glow within three to five uses.

To buy: $25, sephora.com.

Photo by sephora.com

Vita Liberata Trystal Self Tanning Bronzing And Kabuki Brush Duo


This powder works instantly, but builds over time. A dusting gives skin an immediate glow that gradually increases to create a lasting tan, thanks to dihydroxyacetone (the ingredient that tans skin). After your moisturizer is dry, buff it all over your face, neck, and chest with the included kabuki brush.

To buy: $55, sephora.com.

Photo by sephora.com