The Best Sunless Tanners

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

Ah, summer. You’re finally here, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. There’s nothing like feeling the warmth of the sun on your face after a long winter (and a long, chilly spring, depending on where you live)—but, if you’re not careful, that hint of sun on your skin can turn into a full-on burn. You know all of those poor souls who overdo it during Memorial Day weekend and board their return flights looking like lobsters? It’s sadly easy to do if you don’t go into the summer season with a strong game plan.

So, here’s your new healthy-skin prescription: sunscreen (lots and lots of it!), and an awesome, perfect-for-you self-tanner. Self-tanning formulas have become so foolproof and pleasant to use that there’s zero excuse for baking in the sun to get a tan—why deal with the dangerous and aging damage? I’ve rounded up the newest and best new glow-getters of summer 2016: whether you prefer a mist, a serum, or a dry oil (with SPF 50!), your prettiest summer bronze is right this way.

featured image by cass bird for porter


Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Body Lotion from St. Tropez

If you like to get your tan via a gradual daily lotion, this newcomer will rock your world. It features an illuminating bronze tint, so you get immediate results (and no risk of streaks!).

tarte Rainforest of the Sea Sunshine Self Tanner

Think of this as a daily skin-perfecting spritz: gradual tanners are combined with moisturizers and gentle exfoliators, to keep your skin smooth, hydrated and gently bronzed through Labor Day.

Clarins Paris Self Tanning Milky-Lotion

Dry types, listen up: your thirsty skin will drink up this rich tanner, which features delicious fig extract and aloe vera.

Vita Liberata Self Tan Dry Oil

Talk about a one-stop shop: this ingenious formula features nourishing dry oils, a subtle tint, gradual self-tanning ingredients, AND SPF 50. Multitaskers, rejoice!

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Serum

If you have acne-prone skin (or just prefer a self-tanner that instantly disappears on sticky days), a weightless serum like this streak-free pick is where it’s at.

James Read Sleep Mask Tan

This soothing, hydrating mask can be used day or night for the perfect facial glow—cucumber and red algae smooth things out while your natural bronze develops.

Suntegrity Self Tanner

If you prefer products with natural ingredients, you have to scope out this acai-packed lotion, which features a version of tanning ingredient DHA, which is derived from sugar beets (seriously!).