| Top 10 Sunless Tanners + 10 Foolproof Tips for Getting the Perfect Tan

Best Face Tanner

Olay Regenerist Touch of Sun SPF 15Olay’s Regenerist line has been an editor’s pick for affordable super charged skincare since it hit the beauty aisles in 2003. Their new Touch of Sun product comes with an SPF 15 and a hint of sunless tanner. The golden results gradually appear in about three days. In a week, medium to deep bronzed skin appears firmer, smoother and radiantly awake.

Olay Regenerist Touch of Sun SPF 15, $18.99

Best No-Mess Tanner

Solerra Sunless Lotion MittSolerra’s tanning Mitt is an excellent source of glow in a quick and mess-free package. Not only can you tan on the fly without possibly staining your hands, but it's perfect for keeping your luggage spill-free when traveling. One mitt goes the distance for the whole body and takes 4 to 6 hours to develop. The mitts also use their Invisicare technology with moisturizing hydro-therapy instead of alcohol, wax or other drying ingredients for a longer lasting glow.

Solerra Sunless Lotion Mitt, $9.99

Quickest Dark Tan

Bare Escentuals Faux TanFaux Tan’s molasses tinted formula requires a bit of elbow grease for even coverage, but a fast, irritant-free (we tested on super sensitive skin) tan emerges in as little as 3 hours. Faux Tan is the best tan for mini-skirt wearing pale legs because it enables you to move from application to out the door with a quick-dry bronze. Just wear gloves during application or be ready to wash hands several times because this tan likes to stain hands too.

Bare Escentuals Faux Tan, $22

10 Goof-Proof Sunless Tanning Tips

1Tight fitting latex gloves do work just as well as your hands. They should fit snug and be thrown away after each use.

2Elbows, knees, armpits, and under forearms and ankles should always be prepped pre-tanning with lotion or a sunscreen. After tanning, designate a wash cloth for a quick semi-damp pat over.

3Exfoliate from head to toe. Oil based scrubs prevent color from applying evenly to skin so body exfoliation should be done with a non-oily or moisturizing scrub. Try scrubs that are designed specifically for self tanning like Avon’s Skin So Soft Satin Glow Body Wash. Salt scrubs should be avoided if you plan to shave before tanning.

4If using darkly tinted self tanners, you may want to shave legs the previous day. Dark tints tend to settle in to fresh hair-free pores resulting in a spotted effect on skin.

5I am a huge fan of tanning when staying in hotels. This way you can apply tanner before you catch zzz’s and wake up golden. It also keeps the mess off your sheets at home (you know they bleach these sheets at seriously hot temperatures so there's no problem getting self tanning stains removed).

6Avoid applying your facial moisturizer and body creams for as long as you can. Or best, do not apply at all until color is in full effect.

7After tanning, exercise should be a sweat free activity and swimming is completely off limits. If it’s raining, stay indoors. Once you’re caught in the rain you’ll find tiger streaks rather than an even glow.

8If you're looking for tan longevity, avoid steam showers, saunas and hot baths during your days of deep glow.

9Wear dark, loose fitting clothing to avoid tan transfer. A tight pair of jeans put on immediately after tanning will absorb tan lotion and leave "creases" on your skin.

10After tanning face, take a wet cotton swab to eyebrows and rub out any tanner residue. Also, rub a moistened cotton ball across your hairline where tanners tend to build up during application. This will ensure a no-tell perfectly tanned face.

Best Man Tan

Aqua Tan Clear Self-Tanning Treatment for FacesThe founder and CEO of Aqua Tan told me “men love this stuff”. I found this statement intriguing enough to focus on. When testing, I thought about all the things guys would require in a self tanner: easy to apply, no makeup look, and the smell has to be, well, manly enough. The application is as easy as spraying into hands and applying like an aftershave. It’s crystal clear, so no brown tint sitting on their masculine skin and the smell is lighter than the leading bar of soap they shower with. Aqua tan is a great man tan, just don’t forget to wash your hands guys!

Aqua Tan Clear Self-Tanning Treatment for Faces, $45

Best Gradual Tanner

Sally Hansen Smooth Glow Stubble reducing Daily MoisturizerThis is the new craze in gradual tanners and let me tell you, oh do they work! I like Sally Hansen’s because the scent is clean and the color is golden brown. It takes about a week to get a brown frame and about ten days to really notice a much softer hair growth in between shaving. Smooth Glow lasts longer than other gradual tanners because you are shaving less and therefore there is less exfoliation.

Sally Hansen Smooth Glow Stubble reducing Daily Moisturizer

Most Innovative No-Expert-Required Tan

Fusion Beauty GlowFusion AirGlowWhy spend all the money for salon tanning when Air Glow is here? This at-home airbrush tanning duo is an investment at first, but the results are even better than the heavy “tanner than you wanted to be” glow you usually get from an expert. You control the flow and the smell is akin to a rum cocktail. The formula is Fusion Beauty’s Micro Nutrient Tinted Protein Tan and after you finish the cartridge included, buy a refill and have a tan for next season too. You're in control with this airbrush tan - just find a friend to do your backside.

Fusion Beauty GlowFusion AirGlow, $175

Best Smelling Tanner

Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Moisturizing Body GlowLa Source stands out in the gradual tanner arena due to its unbelievably mild, fresh scent. La Source’s emollient white cream spreads easily and is virtually streak-free like most subtle body glows. I also like the fast drying non-sticky feel to your skin shortly after application.

Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Moisturizing Body Glow, $15

Best Tan In A Can

Body Drench Quick Tan Sunless Tanning MistBody Drench’s name sounds a bit too wet for this super fine mist that dries practically on contact with skin. The super soft spray is so easy you can almost tan yourself without blending. Just make sure to mist evenly and carefully since this formula leaves a rapid mark.

Body Drench Quick Tan Sunless Tanning Mist, $15.95

Most Chemical-Free Tanner

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare Sun Shade Botanical Self-Tan SprayLiz Earle’s Sun Shade Botanical Tan Spray is a plant based formula that comes in a pump spray bottle. The glycerin used for tanning comes from organic sugar beets and its melanin from sunflowers. It claims to be odor-free, although we did smell a slight scent. It’s as chemical-free as a sunless tanner gets. Check out the rest of Liz Earle’s naturally active product line. It’s just a matter of time before it explodes in the US.

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare Sun Shade Botanical Self-Tan Spray

Best For First-Time Tanners

Peter Thomas Roth Natural Looking Self TannerI’m partial to Peter Thomas Natural Looking Self Tanner because it was my personal favorite before we started this summer 2007 bronzer showdown. I love the tingling feel the odor-free formula gives after application, and the golden color that appears in about 5 hours is truly natural looking.

Peter Thomas Roth Natural Looking Self Tanner, $28

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