Summer marks the start of many traditions—vacays, boat trips and BBQs, for example. It also marks the annual competition between my pale, wintry skin and the sun to see which can be the most blinding. In other words, it’s a struggle. But considering the many dangers of tanning au naturale, I’ve had to look elsewhere to turn my skin from glaring to glowing.
I searched the internet for the best self-tanners that are safe, sans streaks and smell great. Here’s what I found.
1. Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Anything is worth avoiding the harmful side effects of tanning. However, the chemical smell of most self-tanners is a major downside to an otherwise safe alternative.
Tan-Luxe’s Illuminating Self-Tan Drops solve this problem by going in the moisturizers, serums or face oils you already own. First, mix one to four drops (more if you want a deeper tan) in your usual products. Then, place it wherever needed and enjoy your glowing skin without the lingering scent. (Ulta, $50)
2. Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam
The “tan” of self-tanners comes from dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which can be derived from sugar beets and sugarcane or made synthetically. (Guess which one’s worse for you.)
Unlike other brands, Coco & Eve’s Sunny Honey Bali bronzing foam sticks with the good stuff. It is made with a 100% vegan formula, and in addition to a golden, streak-free finish, this product also has a yummy tropical scent and skin-smoothing “cellushape” technology. (Ulta, $35)
3. St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
With a 4.4-star rating and over 20 years in the self-tan biz, St. Tropez has perfected the glow game with its express bronzing mousse. The tinted, quick-drying mousse makes for breezy application with long-lasting results. (Ulta, $44)
As one satisfied reviewer wrote, this product is great “for light-skinned girls, the blondes, the redheads, even the raven-haired Snow White.” Oh, and the smell? It’s designed to boost your mood with notes of bergamot, green apple, jasmine and musk. Yes, please.
4. Australian Glow Gradual Tanning Lotion With Hemp
You’re already caring for your skin by choosing a self-tanner over the sun. So, why not keep that self-care train rolling? Australian Glow’s antioxidant and nutrient packed gradual tanning lotion with hemp does it all: bronzing, hydrating and detoxing.
Thanks to heavy-hitter ingredients like hemp, green tea extract, witch hazel, vitamin E, cocoa, aloe vera and goji berries, this self-tanner leaves you looking, smelling and feeling fantastic. (Ulta, $20)