The Best Way to Get Your Summer Tan, No Beach Required

How to get that sun-kissed glow, in minutes flat.

Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

We’re at a real Catch-22 here. On one hand, we know how important sun protection is and that we should avoid prolonged sun exposure. But on the other hand, we also know how cute that sun-kissed look can be. I mean, it’s called "sun-kissed"—that’s just so fun-sounding.

But thanks to the nonstop innovation in the sunless tanner field, we no longer need to put our health in danger to have a full-body bronzed glow. And thankfully, gone are the days of stinky, sheet-staining sunless tanners. Welcome to the beautiful world of tanners with big bang, and minimum effort. Here are team Domino’s very favorites—from gradual, subtle tans to immediate faux glows.

Photography by Clarins

“My favorite that I’ve tried so far is the Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel ($40) for body. It doesn’t streak and is a great color for my skin tone. I use the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster ($32) for my face—I love it because I can add it to whatever moisturizer or sunscreen I’m using. There is a touch of the self tanner smell which I don’t think one can avoid but no other crazy scent on top of that. Both apply evenly and also fade nicely. Which can be a real challenge with some of the others I’ve tried.” - Lahaina Alcantara, Photo Editor, Digital

Photography by Isle of Paradise

Isle of Paradise is blowing up on Sephora, users are loving their super natural results and scentless sun-kissed glow. I’m going to try out their Self-Tanning Mousse ($29) in Light next.” - Kristin Limoges, Wellness Editor

Photography by St. Tropez

“I’m really into the idea and concept of St. Tropez Everyday Pre-Shower Tanning Mousse ($20). One minute, rinse off, and, voila, a J.Lo glow?! Well, not really. But, if you are fair-toned, and give it about 5-10 minutes before showering, you will get a super natural, light bronze over the course of a few days. And that’s good enough for me, mainly because I am super OCD about my white sheets—I like them white and very clean, damnit, a thing not always promised with stronger sunless tanners. And the idea of being able to shower off that kind of sticky-feeling bronzer is super important to me, too. Almost more than a faux glow, which is why I keep trying out this bottle.” - Kristin Limoges, Wellness Editor 

Photography by Fake Bake

Fake Bake Airbrush Instant Self Tan ($35) is really great because it's instant, and the color is so natural. The secret is the undertones are green, not orange, so it gives you that olive skin glow that doesn't look fake, despite the name of the product. It's really amazing to quickly spray on if you don't have 3+ hours to wait for a typical self tanner to develop.” - Brooks Corrigan, Office Manager

Photography by Josie Maran

“I recently have become a huge fan of Josie Maran’s Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil ($38) after a friend suggested I give it a try when I was looking for a cleaner product. The oil gives you a very warm, naturally bronzed glow, and with no after scent, I often times will apply it in the morning before heading to work. Added bonus: It comes with a super lush mitt for dreamy application.” - Patricia Brunner, Senior Account Manager

Photography by St. Tropez

“I love St. Tropez Express Bronzing Mousse ($19) because you can adjust the darkness of your tan by how long you leave it on before showering. Basically you can leave it on for 1 to 3 hours and then wash it off at your desired darkness. I also love this one because it won't transfer onto your sheets—and I've had some horror stories with self tanner on white sheets!” -Brooks Corrigan, Office Manager 

Photography by James Read

“Take it from me, folks, and when the tanner calls for a mitt, don’t try and outsmart it—you need the mitt. You cannot outsmart self tanner, do not try! It’s worth the $4 for a tanning mitt. Okay, you’ve got your mitt now. Try out James Read Fool Proof Bronzing Mousse Face & Body ($23). I found it pretty easy to apply, and doesn’t transfer easily. It has a bit more of a greenish bronze tint than orange so you won’t get as much of that dreaded 'tanner' look.” - Kristin Limoges, Wellness Editor

Photography by Isle of Paradise

“I've been really liking the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops ($28). The instructions tell you to use anywhere from one to twelve drops (depending on how dark you want to get). I have the 'medium' bottle so I only do about three to four drops. But the reason I like it so much is because you just add it to your daily moisturizer instead of it being a whole process with the self-tanning lotion and the mitt, etc.

“Bonus: It has much less of that self-tanner smell; it takes on more of your moisturizer scent. You just have to make sure to wash your hands after using it obviously or else you'll get the scent stuck on your hands. Those couple drops give me the perfect glow, anything less probably wouldn't be super noticeable and anything more might make me look a little orange, so you just have to find that happy medium.” - Hayley Squire, Email Marketing Manager

Photography by St. Tropez

“I’ve been a long-time fan of St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse ($32). It doesn’t smell terrible or make you look like an orange. The brand also offers a mitt to purchase separately, which is an absolute must for flawless application.” - Patricia Brunner, Senior Account Manager

Keep on summering:
10 Things Hollywood's Hottest Stylist Won't Throw a Dinner Party Without
Tulum-Inspired Recipes Perfect for Summer Entertaining
Keep it Simple This Summer With No-Fuss Beauty Sticks

Published on July 11, 2018 - 4:40pm EDT

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