23 Self-Tanners That Won’t Turn You Orange

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I left my tanning-bed addiction where it belongs—in 2011, along with the term GTL. But if I’m being honest, the transition to self-tanning sucked. The best self-tanners of the time were notoriously awful. Putting them on took forever, and no matter how careful I was, I’d end up streaky, splotchy, and slightly orange. Not to mention I reeked of fake tan wherever I went. Not cute—but better than the alternative.

Self-tanners have come a long way in the past decade, though, and thankfully today’s innovations look (and smell) infinitely better. Just ask our editors, who’ve spent the past few weeks putting options both old and new to the test.  What we came away with was a little something for everyone: foams that give a natural-looking finish, creams that build gradually, and towelettes that’ll bring out a deep bronze glow within hours. Here are the 23 best self-tanners our staffers (and Glamour Beauty Awards judges) swear by, plus their advice on how to avoid streaks and splotches.

  • St. Tropez The Classic Bronzing Mousse

    Courtesy of brand 

    Best Overall: St. Tropez The Classic Bronzing Mousse

    I’ve tried a ton of self-tanners, and this remains the one I go back to each summer. The mousse formula is airy and light, doesn’t have a strong smell, and always gives streak-free, even results when I apply with the mitt (very important step!). Also, the color is perfect and doesn’t lean overly warm, which means there’s no danger of going an off-putting shade of orange. That’s very much appreciated. —Sarah Wu, beauty contributor 

  • Courtesy of brand 

    Best For Face: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Self-Tanning Water Drops

    I’ve used self-tanning products for years and never before have I had one that instructed me to mix it with my own moisturizer upon application. But L’Oréal’s Tanning Drops recognize that the secret to a more even, natural bronze glow is to blend its liquid drops with a cream for a tailor-made, mistake-proof glow. And a little goes a long way—mix a few drops with a small pump of moisturizer in the palm of your hand, apply all over, and then you’ll be sun-kissed by morning. —Jessica Radloff, West Coast editor

  • Courtesy of brand 

    Best Mist: St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water Mist

    I love that this mist is super buildable and gives you an easy way to get a healthy glow without the full commitment of a more intense self-tanner. A light mist after the shower is all you need, and you can reapply a few times a week to intensify the shade. Most formulas have that weird self-tan smell, but this one has a nice light scent and is packed with vitamins C and D for extra skin benefits without any sun damage. —Justine Marjan, celebrity hairstylist

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