1. Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Self-Tanning Bronzing Veil
Why we like it: We're generally wary of putting self-tanner on our face, but this pen made us feel in control. Click the button on the bottom to regulate the dose, then use the brush to apply it exactly where you want it. (We still blended a little with our fingertips to ensure a streak-free finish.) The formula's slight iridescence and subtle bronze tint had our complexion glowing from the get-go, and by lunchtime a colleague asked if we'd been on vacation.
2. Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Golden Perfection Self-Tanning Milk for Body
Why we like it: Infused with apricot fruit extract and coconut oil, this silky fluid glides on smoothly—and in less than two hours, we looked like we'd just returned from the beach. Just as thrilling: Though it contains the same dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that all self-tanners use to darken the upper layers of the skin, only a trace of the cloying scent is detectable through the sultry notes of amber, vetiver, and sandalwood.
3. Nivea Sun-Kissed Beautiful Legs
Why we like it: In addition to basic moisturizers like glycerin and silicone, this lotion contains just enough DHA to gradually darken skin over several days. After five days of application, our legs were a lovely, light golden brown. Nivea also claims that a plant extract in the formula helps minimize hair growth, so you won't need to shave (and slough away your "tan") as often.
4. Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer
Why we like it:
Just like Jergens's original Glow lotion, this self-tanner eases you into a sun-kissed tint. The foam texture is new, but beware: The tiniest squirt quickly expands beyond the edges of your palm. Act fast, though, and you can spread it over an entire leg, or arm, or torso, in seconds. It dries almost instantly and doesn't streak. We wish it felt more moisturizing, but it's great on mornings when we're desperate for a glow—and should already have been out the door.
$9. Swimsuit Steals: Everything else you need to look amazing this summer