Product Junkie: 4 Self-Tanners That Will Save Your Summer

In California, the land of sun and fun where I am lucky/cursed to live, the legs are toned, the hair is sleek and the teeth are gleaming. But most importantly: the skin is bronzed. Unless you’re Nicole Kidman, the Casper-white, “But I don’t want to get skin cancer!” look fair-skinned gals like me sport is considered so unsexy that it’s practically offensive.

No amount of time spent lying in the sun will ever give me a tan: at best, I’ll get freckles, redness, and a higher chance of skin cancer; at worst, I’ll be out of commission for 2 days and could open up a Red Lobster franchise. As a result, I know my way around a great bottle of self-tanner. Here, some worthy favorites guaranteed to please even the palest:

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Gel, $9.49: With a light consistency, this gel seeps into skin easily and quickly, and gives a truly (almost) streak-free tan. (I say “almost” because I have found ways to coax streaks out of any and every tanning product under the sun. Streak-free means “Streak-free unless you’re a moron” — which is good enough for me.) Out of all the tanners in self-tanner-land, this genuinely might be my favorite.

Sevin Nyne Tanning Mist, $35: Sprays can be a little confusing, but the advantage of Sevin Nyne is that it smells divine. You know how most self-tanners have that awful, rotting stink to them? Even the ones that smell good when applying them tend to turn rancid after a few hours. Not the case here—the scent is coconut-y and delicious. The only problem is that the application is insanely messy, so use outside or in your tub.

Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, $8.49: When the moisturizer-with-a-hint-of-self-tanner category took off several years ago, the world of fake-tan suddenly exploded. So many new possibilities! The problem with these hybrids is that they tend to smell gross, don’t really moisturize, and barely even give you any color. I like the Jergens offerings because they don’t smell terrible (I mean, we’re not talking sophisticated fragrance here, but at least they’re inoffensive), actually do moisturize a little, and—when you get the darker versions for medium-skin-tones—will give you color that’s both natural and noticeable. Love.

Clarins Delectable Self-Tanning Mousse SPF 15, $42: Clarins is reknown for their sophisticated sun-care offerings. This is their latest product: a self-tanner, moisturizer and SPF rolled into one. It’s a mousse, so is light-as-air, won’t clog pores, and gives a gorgeous, not-too-dark, not-too-light color that epitomizes the word “glow.”

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