Each and every year, I somehow make it to summer with legs that look like they’ve been swaddled in thick tights right through spring and a face that’s almost supernaturally pallid. And then I finally remember, it doesn’t have to be that way. Ahead,nine tried-and-true products that have helped me fake a glow, now and in summers past.
Charlotte Tilbury Overnight Bronze and Glow Mask
While nighttime is the obvious worst time to get a natural bronze (thanks, moon), when it comes to fake baking, there’s no better moment. Apply this overnight face mask before you stumble to bed let it build-up color as you dream about the gorgeous glow you’ll wake up with (or more likely, about being chased but unable to run, or maybe about falling). But then look! You have a very subtle bronzed color and zero streaks.
Coola Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum
I never really got the appeal of the Korean 10-step skincare routine and other life-complicating beauty regimens. I’d much rather cut corners with products like this one, which couples a slow-tan that builds a glow over a few day with an anti-aging serum that delivers antioxidants and moisture in the meantime.
Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster
You probably already have a favorite facial moisturizer (if not: problem solved!) so just add a few drops of this gradual bronzer to whatever it is and DIY a subtle glow over the next few days.
Jergens Natural Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer
One of the best gradual body tanners out there also happens to be the cheapest of thrills, ringing up at under a tenner for a super-size tube. I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it never streaks, never goes too orange, and doesn’t smell even a little bit toxic.
Australian Gold Instant Bronze Self Tanning Lotion
Another bargain, this one gives an instant glow while also working up color that’s darker and darker as you apply it every couple days. As deep as you might choose to go, the hue’s still believable.
Tan Towel Self Tan Towelette
These TSA-approved towelettes won’t get confiscated on your flight out of town--but don’t peg them as exclusively for travel. Their warm, even coverage is just as good on a staycation as it is on a vacation.
Whish Coconut Milk Self Tanner
This stuff smells just like coconut milk, which isn’t too surprising given its name. Another point in its favor: Just one application of the lotion leaves you with a perfect, streak-free tan.
Nars Monoi Body Glow
This tiare-scented oil is filled with shimmering bronze dust. And the littlest drop leaves skin looking golden just for the day, while giving legs and arms a Studio 54 sheen.
Giorgio Armani Maestro Bronzer
Blend this perfect face bronzer over your cheeks, forehead and chin, and no one will guess your natural pasty hue.
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