I Tried $292 Worth Of Body Bronzers — & Didn't Ruin All My Clothes

Shailene Woodley once said her beauty secret was "just happiness, man," but I'm willing to bet her beauty routine is a bit more comprehensive than that. There's more to looking radiant on a red carpet than being genetically blessed and drinking a lot of water. More often, that A-list glow comes by way of body bronzers — plus a 24/7 glam squad that can rub and buff them to perfection.
But if the thought of putting on a white t-shirt after smoothing on foundation sounds risky, body bronzers take that fear to a whole new level. That's why I've rounded up the best transfer-free creams pros swear by and put them to the test. Ahead, check out the ones that gave me the celebrity glow I wanted — minus the giant dry cleaning bill.
1 of 8
Think of this like a BB cream for your body — it subtly tans and blurs to cover veins, dark spots, or scars. (Lea Michele even wore it to the Golden Globes). When I tried it, it smoothed on exactly like a lotion, gave my legs a nice vacation glow, and didn't leave any streaks on my bathing suit or the white coverup I wore to the beach.
2 of 8
Because body bronzers don't contain DHA, you don't have to worry about that burnt-toast self tanner scent. This one even smells expensive, thanks to the flowery vanilla fragrance that might be a bit overpowering for some. I found that it deeply hydrated my dry legs, while still managing not to budge in the extreme heat.
3 of 8
The biggest mistake you can make with body bronzers? Getting dressed too quickly. I walked by my bed right after applying this and accidentally left a giant brown mark on my comforter. But when I let it dry fully and slept in the same bed, there wasn't a single streak on my sheets. I especially liked the mist applicator, which created a nice even tan.
4 of 8
This has been in my arsenal since middle school, and the Kardashians are also fans. Khloé says she uses it in her shoots to cover veins and freckles while adding a subtle tan. The stuff is hardcore (you can dilute it with lotion if you want less coverage) and truly doesn't move until you remove it with soap.
5 of 8
This gel-based body bronzer was inspired by the cult-favorite Hoola matte powder bronzer. The convenient sponge tip saved my palms and I didn't notice any transferring, but I would have appreciated a little more glow; I found the matte brown color to be a bit lackluster on me without any shimmer.
6 of 8
Easily the quickest-drying formula, this luminizer has tiny flecks of pearl to give your limbs a subtle sheen. It comes out of the bottle a weird copper color, but blends into the skin easily for a nice, natural glow. It feels a little sticky right after smoothing it on, but once dry, it was my favorite of the bunch.
7 of 8
This waterproof formula is great for beach days when you don't want your tan running down your legs. The included mitt makes for a mess-free application that won't streak or dry out your skin. It's completely matte, making your faux glow that much more believable.
8 of 8
This super-thin formula feels more like a serum — and acts like one, too, with botanical ingredients that illuminate and moisturize skin. You won't get much in the way of coverage, but the shimmery copper color left my legs (and not my white shorts) gleaming.

More from Makeup


R29 Original Series