Editor's Top Self-Tanning Picks

It's glow time! We tested dozens of lotions, mousses, and sprays to get our pale winter skin ready for bikini season.

Self Tanning Body Milk by Aqua Tan

Photographer Ted Tucker

Best Overall

Self Tanning Body Milk, $42; aqua-tan.com

"The body milk spread on easier than regular lotion, and because the formula doesn't contain brown dyes, it delivered a great color that faded naturally. My husband's sister couldn't believe my 'glam glow' was from a bottle." —Kristen Shelton, assistant photo editor

Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer

Photographer Ted Tucker

Best Gradual Color

Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, $7, Jergens; drugstore.com

“This made my fair skin look healthy and just slightly sun-loved, thanks to antioxidants and vitamin E.” —Kelly Tomas, web/production associate

We Also Love: Sunless Tanning Gradual Tan Moisturizing Lotion, $9, Coppertone; 866/983-8582 or ulta.com


Bronze Goddess Self-Tanning Lotion for Face

Photographer Ted Tucker

For Your Face

Bronze Goddess Self-Tanning Lotion for Face, $23; 877/311-3883 or esteelauder.com

I have sensitive skin, but I applied it before bed and was ecstatic the next morning to find a gorgeous color and an even complexion.” —Julia Rutland, senior food editor

We Also Love: Complete Touch of Sun UV moisturizer/tanner, $15, Olay; drugstore.com


Half Body Size TanTowels

Photographer Ted Tucker


Half Body Size TanTowels, $21 for 10; 888/826-8695 or tantowel.com

"I rarely check luggage, so finding a good nonliquid self-tanner is huge. These towelettes are especially convenient because they’re large—7 by 9 inches—and work for both face and body. Apply in one minute, and you’re dry in another." —Sarah Latta, assistant features editor

Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

Photographer Ted Tucker

Instant Tan

Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $40; sttropeztan.com

"Its built-in bronzer gives immediate color even before the self-tanner starts working. My shade the next day was the most natural-looking tan-from-a-can I’ve ever had. Just one application and I felt brave enough for my leopard suit on my cruise!” —Tempy Segrest, senior designer

Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow for Face

Photographer Ted Tucker

No. 1 Scent

Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow for Face, $30, and Body, $32, Dior; 877/737-4672 or sephora.com

"The typical self-tanner smell is usually enough for me to steer clear, but I couldn't get enough of this one. It was floral, fancy, and perfumey all at once—and gave me just-as-fabulous color." —Steele Marcoux, design editor

Terracotta Spray Bronzing Powder Mist

Photographer Ted Tucker

Spray Bronzer

Terracotta Spray Bronzing Powder Mist, $59, Guerlain; 877/551-7257 or saks.com

"This powder-fresh face bronzer gives you radiance ASAP. It's not a self-tanner, so it washes off the next day, and it comes in three shades. Going out one night sleeveless, I even gave my arms a quick shot of color. It worked great." —Sara Peterson, executive editor

Sunless Face and Body Tanning Spray, Mystic Tan

Photographer Ted Tucker

Even Spray

Sunless Face and Body Tanning Spray, $38, Mystic Tan; 877/737-4672 or sephora.com

"I thought a spray would mean streaks, but a continuous spray yields even results. Best part: I could reach my back!" —Perry Del Favero, editorial intern

We Also Love: Body Self-Tanning Tinted Bronzing Mist, $12; 877/737-4672 or sephora.com

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