Since we’re all well aware of the dangers of
tanning beds — and too much time in natural sunlight sans SPF — self-tanners are the perfect solution for when the pastiness of those post-summer months gets to be a little too much for those of us who crave sun-kissed skin.
Sadly, not all self-tanners are created equally, and some can leave you looking streakier than a tabby cat. Luckily, beauty brands have launched innovative new products to make the process almost foolproof. Here are the ones to know about right now, so you don’t end up an orange mess later.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. 1 of 17
This airy whip feels like a luxurious body moisturiser and makes skin feel like silk. The subtle, golden tan that develops is seamless.
DermaSpa Summer Revived Body Mousse, £9.99
Buy 2 of 17
This airy mousse doesn't drip or streak. Instead, it glides on easily, absorbs almost instantly and imparts a believable bronzed finish.
Body Illuminating Bronzing Mousse, £36.00
Buy 3 of 17
Welcome to the future. Instead of layering on a cream atop your cleanser, toner, and moisturiser, just slap this on for five to 15 minutes.
Et voila: instant beach goddess. St. Tropez
Self Tan Express Face Sheet Masks, £15.00
Buy 4 of 17
Forget all that exhaustive tanning prep — these wipes exfoliate and build your colour at the same time.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare
Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow, £36.00
Buy 5 of 17
Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs is a classic spray-on tanning option for those looking for temporary colour that won't leave muddy streaks on your clothes. Simply spray the lightweight formula over your limbs and blend and allow to briefly dry. It's
that easy. Sally Hansen
Airbrush Legs Light Glow,
£9.99 £6.65 Buy 6 of 17
There's a reason why this faux tan mousse has so many 5 star reviews. It develops into a gorgeous golden colour fast, doesn't ruin bedsheets, and smells tropical, not of stale biscuits.
Coco & Eve
Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam, £29.90
Buy 7 of 17
We love this solution to the messiness associated with traditional self-tanner application. By applying this formula in the shower, we keep our towels, clothes, and hands stain-free. Genius.
Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion, £14.50
Buy 8 of 17
One major self-tanner turn-off? A chemical smell. Thankfully, this mousse contains zero stink and keeps your skin bronze for up to three weeks.
pHenomenal Self Tan Mousse, £37.50
Buy 9 of 17
We don’t know how Gigi Hadid gets her sun-kissed, weekend-in-Malibu bronze on, but this easy-to-blend lotion can help you easily dupe the golden girl’s coveted tan.
Perfect Legs Skin Miracle, £38.00
Buy 10 of 17
This smart oil-based formula means colour doesn't cling to parched patches around elbows or knees. Instead, it moisturises deeply as it leaves behind a gorgeous glow.
Liquid Gold Tan Oil,
£14.99 £9.98 Buy 11 of 17
This bronzing booster serum makes applying self-tanner to your face so easy. Just mix three drops with your day or night moisturizer and smooth it onto your visage and neck.
Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, £20.00
Buy 12 of 17
This brand new gradual tan lotion from St. Tropez is tinted, which helps with application so you know where you’ve already applied, aiding you in your anti-streak mission. Plus, you get the benefit of an “instant” glow. Over time the tan gradually sets in to give you healthy colour, and you can add to it each day to intensify the look.
Gradual Tan Tinted Everyday Body L... , £15.00
Buy 14 of 17
This overnight tanning oil not only hydrates and gently exfoliates while you snooze, it also tans your skin within hours so you wake up with a glow. Even better, the formula is translucent so you'll never have to worry about staining your pillowcase.
Sleep Oil Miracle Tanning Oil, £34.00
Buy 15 of 17
This self-tanner is completely colourless, which means there's no need to fear sheet stains. And self-tanning when you sleep means you'll wake up with a glow. It's like magic.
Sleep Mask Tan Face, £25.00
Buy 16 of 17
You can trust that these colour-correcting mists won't plague you with the dreaded Oompa Loompa skin that gives self-tanners a bad rap. Plus, the three shade options (sun-kissed, golden, and bronze) work for a wide range of skin tones, so you can even your complexion and score a healthy glow no matter where you're starting from.
Isle Of Paradise
Self-Tanning Water, £18.95
Buy 17 of 17
Don't let the price fool you; the results are on par with luxe faux tanners. The mousse dries incredibly fast so you can forget about that dreaded sticky feel, and the brilliant bronze colour stays put for almost a week.
Instant Self Tan Mousse, £8.00