The 14 Best Self Tanners to Boost Your Warm-Weather Glow

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best self tanner
Courtesy of Vita Liberata

Spending lots of time indoors gives you plenty of opportunities to indulge in self-care -- but it can also leave you slightly paler than you'd like to be -- especially ahead of Memorial Day Weekend! And now that more opportunities lay ahead to go out and socialize, there couldn't be a better time to invest in your usual summery faux glow with the help of a quality self tanner. 

While self tanner has a reputation for being tricky to apply -- it can end up developing unevenly, in streaks or outrageously orange -- certain products make it easier than others.

These days, sunless tanner comes in tons of formulas: spray mist, mousse, serum, lotion, towelettes and even double-duty tinted moisturizer. Just choose the one that you're already most comfortable applying (we love a good airbrush-like mist), give yourself a thorough body scrub to slough off dead skin cells, dry your skin completely and then follow the instructions on your chosen bottle.

A few tips: If you have any dry spots from head to toe, dab a bit of moisturizer on them before you apply self tanner. No matter what sunless tanning product you use, wash your hands immediately after applying. (Trust.) Be sure to give yourself extra time to let it all dry -- and don't rush to do this an hour before you head to the park.

Below, the best self-tanner products to embrace the warm-weather season with open arms -- and after that, keep you glowing all year long.

Create a custom self tanning system by adding these drops to your daily skincare routine. The product also claims to provide you with a lighter tan, thanks to the peach color correcting active. According to Amazon, this product is great for those who have paler skin or want to create a very subtle glow. 

The Tan-Luxe THE BUTTER Illuminating Tanning Butter is what to use as a self-tanner if you are looking for a glittery, shimmery self-tan.  This formula also claims to combat cellulite.  

Use The Organic Pharmacy's self tanning for your face, your body or both! It's easy to use and claims to leave you with soft, hydrated skin. What more could you need?

Well-loved tanning line St. Tropez's Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mist is indeed a classic product for achieving a natural glow. It's lightweight, oil-free and goes on evenly, plus the bottle lasts seemingly forever. Give it up to eight hours to develop into the perfect-for-you shade.

Your sunless tan isn't complete without giving your face and neck a touch of bronze! This L'Oreal Sublime Bronze drops will mix seamlessly into your daily moisturizer for a gradual glow.

This hydrating self tanning lotion has become a favorite on Amazon, with a 4.3-star rating based on 13,000 reviews. Customers love it for the natural ingredients and the effective finish.

The color in this budget-friendly mousse develops nearly instantly (in under a minute!), meaning it's the perfect choice for anyone short on time. It comes in two shades, Light Bronze and Deep Bronze, and will continue to deepen in color for a couple of hours after applying. Note: This has a stronger scent than other sunless tanning products we've tried.

Tarte's limited edition self-tanning mousse is infused with moisturizing ingredients like aloe, coconut oil and avocado to leave your skin with a totally nourished bronze glow. Apply evenly with the Tarte Application Mitt (to avoid bronzing your palms), give the color up to two hours to develop and then rinse. For a tan on-the-go, opt for the travel size version.

Clarins' Self Tanning Instant Gel is a a mistake-proof self tanning gel for your face and body.

Looking for a more gradual glow? ESPA's self-tanning moisturizer will create a healthy, natural-looking bronze. Get a subtle look by using this product as your daily moisturizer.

Look tan and feel hydrated with this body treatment formulated with hyaluronic acid, caffeine and antioxidant-rich superfoods. Apply up to six pumps of this serum per body area, then massage into skin with circular motions.

A mist opportunity! Bioderma's entire Photoderm line adapts to various skin types, and this moisturizing, self-tanning mist was designed for sensitive skin.

Six tanning towelettes for under 10 bucks sounded like a deal that couldn't be beat, and then we learned this hack: If you only want to add some glow to your face, cut each towelette in half so you get double the usage. (They were made to use on your whole body, so they're big enough to be rationed like this.)

This indulgent tanning lotion from Clarins contains moisturizing aloe and cocoa bean extract. Satisfied shoppers rave about its delicious scent, ease of application and lack of streaks in its wake.

The James Read tanning mousse for the face and body gradually allows your self-tan to come alive in 6-8 hours. And since this product is an easy-to-use foam, you won't have to worry about streaking -- that's a win for us.

Develop a deeper tan in the span of one hour with this easy-to-use, user-friendly tanning mouse (which comes with a tan mitt) from b.tan. And since this product has a violet hue, it'll balance out the orange tones for a more realistic finish.

COOLA Sunless Tan Body Dry Oil Mist is a self tanner leaves zero mess and is streak free. This body mist is organic and smells lovely like piña colada.  This product allows you to stay tan for 3 days, so it is short acting yet looks lovely instantly.

This three-piece tan set is like sun-kissed bliss in a box. You'll get Vita Liberata's moisturizing gradual tan lotion, fast-drying bronzing mousse and tanning mitt. 


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