Best Self-Tanning Products
Best for Control Freaks
Aveeno Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion ($15)
The dual-chamber bottle has lotion on one side, self-tanner on the other; a dial lets you slowly amp up to a bronze glow. Click up one level every morning, and after five days you'll have eased into a sun-kissed tint.
L'Occitane Sunshine Lotion ($25)
This stuff smells so delicious, we doubted that it actually was a self-tanner. But after smoothing it on for a full week, you'll look down one day to find legs that are decidedly golden.
Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Self-Tanning Balm ($50)
Its delicate iridescence and slight bronze tint give immediate gratification, and its rich oils leave your legs silky (but not sticky). Take it with you on your next weekend getaway, and use it before you slip into a sundress for dinner.
Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel ($30)
It's clear, but its viscosity lets you feel exactly where you missed any spots, so four hours later—not a streak in sight. And the color is one of the most truly day-at-the-beach shades we've seen.
Jergens Natural Glow Express ($8)
We're big fans of Jergens's original Natural Glow lotion, which gradually darkens skin over the course of about six days. This version satisfies the clock-watcher in us: It yields the same warm color but in half the time.
ModelCo Self-Tanning Glove ($28 for four single-use gloves)
One lazy night, we slipped on a handy mitt (they're predosed with self-tanner), swiped it over our legs...and nodded off to the dulcet tones of Stephen Colbert. The next morning, we were shocked to wake up to a streak-free glow (and no orange palms).
Victoria's Secret Beauty Bare Bronze Gleaming Self-Tan Body Tint ($18)
This is not, technically, a self-tanner. Its aerosol mist instantly bronzes your legs, but it washes right off in the shower. You'll get the best results when you hold the can about a foot from your legs, keep your hand moving as you spray, and blend a bit afterward.
Neutrogena Sun Fresh Sunless Foam ($10)
Everything about this formula is featherlight: The mousse melted into our skin in seconds, and the grapefruit and nectarine fragrance smelled crisp and clean.