I left my tanning 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. (One silver lining of spending more time indoors this year? No one to see a failed self-tanner experiment.) 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 21 best self-tanners our staffers (and Glamour Beauty Awards judges) swear by, plus their advice on how to avoid streaks and splotches.
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.