After a particularly brutal winter, welcoming the sun with open arms is hard to resist. But extensive devotion to el sol can cause signs of aging that includes dark spots, redness, lackluster skin, fine lines and an increased chance for melanoma. For this reason, self-tanners, long the way to keep a healthy glow in colder months, should not be shunned in the season of sun.
Best for the novice: St. Tropez Tanning essentials Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil
This quick drying, light bodied oil leaves skin feeling smooth. Coat the face and body for a bronzy glow that develops over two to three hours. St. Tropez also sells an applicator mitt that makes self-tanning a streak-free breeze. The oil leaves a fresh, invigorating citrus scent and once the tan sets, it lasts up to 10 days. $50 for 3.38oz; sephora.com
Best for tanning in a hurry: Vita Liberata Rapid tanning mousse
Like most self-tanners, the longer Vita sits on the skin the more intense the tan. This dark-brown whipped mousse (think: hair mousse) sets faster and darker than most. In as little as one hour (or up to three) skin transforms from a medium bronze to a deep tan. The airy texture glides on effortlessly with just a small amount, leaving the skin feeling smooth and light—the perfect thing before escaping for a holiday weekend. $43 for 3.38oz; vitaliberata.com
Best for those who fear commitment: nARS Laguna Body Illuminator
Think of this cream bronzer as stockings in a bottle—color that comes off as easily as it goes on. Apply to arms, legs, décolleté or anywhere that calls for a touch of warmth. This instant tan dries in about one minute with a light, sweet scent and washes away in the shower instead of gently fading over time (or onto clothing). $45 for 5.5oz; narscosmetics.com