self tan
Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
When I told Val that I was going to spend the weekend in Puerto Rico with a few friends, she handed me the Diana B. 60 Second Instant Miracle Tan ($60) and said, "Have fun self-tanning." (Translation: "Don't come back with a real tan.") So, on the first morning of my trip, I broke open the box, pulled out the rubber gloves, and quickly realized this was no typical self-tanner: It's activated by water. I stepped into the shower, got myself soaking wet, turned off the water, and pumped what looked and smelled like foamy chocolate sauce all over my body. I thought the stuff would be sticky and hard to spread evenly, but it was easy to apply. The directions say to continuously work the product into the skin while counting to 60, then rinse. Later that day, while lounging by the pool (under an umbrella, wearing a wide-brimmed hat), I glanced down and saw that my skin had a very subtle, natural-looking tint—and a light gleam, as if I'd spent a little time in the sun. 

It's a first: A self-tanner you apply in the shower.

The verdict: The process can be messy—I stained the shower curtain liner and the white towel I used to dry off. But it works. When I left the formula on a little longer, I turned a pretty, darker shade (not orange or streaky), and there was no self-tanner smell or tackiness.

DIY: Eight self-tanners that come very close to perfection