I hate self-tanner.
There, I said it. I hate how it smells, I hate how it stains your sheets, and I hate how easy it is to mess up—meaning you have to live with weird streaks or patches for days.
And it's not that safe, either, as I explained in my recent self-tanner tutorial. The active ingredient produces a chemical reaction in your skin that actually generates free radicals and accelerates sun damage!
Fortunately, self-tanner isn't the only way to get a sunless tan.
There's a new generation of body bronzers and body luminizers that can give you a glowing, sun-kissed look right away. (Many of them, you can even use on your face!)
They're safer than self-tanners, have no unpleasant odour, and wash right off with soap and water. Plus, most are formulated to be transfer-resistant, so they're less likely to rub off on your clothes.
Keep scrolling to discover your best options for sun-kissed skin.
The Best Body Bronzers and Body Luminizers
Isle of Paradise Disco Tan Instant Wash-Off Body Bronzer
Isle of Paradise Disco Tan Instant Wash-Off Body Bronzer is the body bronzer I'm most excited about, because it's a newcomer to Sephora's Clean Beauty department. It has a gel texture and comes in one natural bronzey tint that will show up best on light skin tones. There is some fine shimmer, but it's super subtle.
Sol de Janeiro Glowmotions Glow Oil
Sol de Janeiro Glowmotions Glow Oil is a shimmery oil that comes in five tints (Copacabana Bronze and Samba Sway are the most tan-like). You might think that an oil would move around, but this one is in fact transfer-resistant. On your face, mix it with foundation or use it as a highlighter.
INC.redible You Glow Girl Body Blur
INC.redible You Glow Girl Body Blur is a shimmery tinted lotion that helps to "blur" or even out your skin tone, and leaves you with a luminous glow. There are four shades, including a deep mocha, so it will truly suit every skin tone. It's also transfer-resistant.
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish is a creamy tinted lotion that comes in three shades. I have the medium one, and the colour is very natural-looking, with only a tiny hint of shimmer. You can use this on face or body.
Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H. Not Your Mama’s Panty Hose All Over Body Highlighter
Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H. Not Your Mama's Panty Hose All Over Body Highlighter is a super shimmery tinted lotion for glowing limbs and decolleté. This one comes in three shades, and looks best when buffed on with a brush. You just need to work quickly before it dries down (it is transfer-resistant). You can also mix this into your foundation.
James Read Enhance Body Foundation Wash Off Tan
James Read Enhance Body Foundation Wash Off Tan is a lightweight tinted gel that can be used on both your body and face. It dries really quickly, and is transfer-resistant, with a luminous (but not shimmery) finish. Although there's just one shade, you can apply a second layer to build up the colour, or mix it with moisturizer for a lighter tone.
Tarte Better Bod Bronze & Contour
Tarte Better Bod Bronze Contour is a waterproof body bronzer with a completely matte finish. It has a creamy texture (and comes with a mitt to help you blend), and sets within about 30 seconds. There's just one shade, an opaque bronze that will mask any imperfections.
Natasha Denona Body Glow
Natasha Denona Body Glow is a shimmering body illuminator with a fluid texture and dewy finish. There are three shades (Medium and Dark are bronze, while Light is more of a champagne). It dries quickly, and is transfer-resistant and water-resistant.
By Terry Tea to Tan
By Terry Tea to Tan is a spray-on liquid bronzer for face and body. For a radiant effect, shake the bottle first to dispense the fine shimmer; otherwise, leave the particles at the bottom for a matte finish. It comes in one shade, and is waterproof and transfer-resistant.
Kopari Coconut Body Glow
Kopari Coconut Body Glow is a coconut oil-based lotion with golden shimmer. So it doesn't have a tint, but creates a very glowy effect wherever you apply it. (You can also use it as a face highlighter.) I love the short and simple ingredients list, which is silicone-free with less than one percent synthetic fragrance.
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan
Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan is an oversized powder bronzer for face and body. It has a matte but slightly radiant finish, and comes in one shade, a terracotta bronze. You'll need to apply this one with a brush, and be aware that it is not transfer-resistant or water-resistant.
Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer
Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer is an oversized chubby bronzer stick for both the face and body. It has two shades, Baked (neutral bronze) and Blaze (deep bronze), and both have a creamy texture and a matte finish. Note that this one does not claim to be transfer-proof, so you may want to wear it with darker clothes.
NARS Monoï Body Glow
NARS Monoï Body Glow is a lightweight body oil with a shimmery bronze tint. Monoï oil is made by steeping tiare flowers, a type of gardenia, in coconut oil. That's what makes this so fragrant (I've been known to use it instead of perfume!). On your skin, it gives a sheer golden glow.
Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body
Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body is a hydrating body lotion with fine shimmer and a hint of sheer bronze tint. The colour isn't deep enough to show up on most skin tones, but it does give your skin a pretty, glossy finish.
Youngblood Mineral Illuminating Body Tint
Youngblood Mineral Illuminating Body Tint is a tinted body lotion with a luminous bronze tint. Mineral pigments create a believable-looking tan, and once dry, it should not transfer onto your clothes. You can also mix it with body lotion for a subtler effect.
South Seas Island Glow Body Bronzer
South Seas Island Glow Body Bronzer is one of the best-kept celebrity secrets—it was actually created for the contestants on Dancing with the Stars! This is bronze-tinted lotion that dries quickly and is extremely transfer-resistant. There's just the one shade, which can be sheered out or layered for more or less colour.
Fake Bake Tinted Body Glow
Fake Bake Tinted Body Glow is a shimmery tinted lotion for face and body. There's just the one bronze shade, and it comes with latex gloves to apply it without staining your hands. You'll need to let it dry and avoid rubbing it, as this one isn't transfer-resistant.
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup is a spray-on body foundation that comes in six high-coverage shades with very little shimmer. This is one of the most water-resistant and transfer-resistant formulas. Technically, it's for legs, but I don't see why you couldn't use it elsewhere!
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Lotion Leg Makeup
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Lotion Leg Makeup is similar to the brand's spray-on body foundation, but in a lotion format. This, too, is water-resistant and transfer-resistant, and comes in five shades to match any skin tone.
The Body Shop Honey Bronze Tinted Leg Mist
The Body Shop Honey Bronze Tinted Leg Mist is a spray-on tinted gel with a sheer bronze tint. This is an oil-free formula that is free of shimmer, and is transfer-resistant. I find the spray can be a little messy, so do it in the bathtub!
Loving Tan Bronze Shimmer Luminous Cream
Loving Tan Bronze Shimmer Luminous Cream is a tinted body lotion with a luminous shimmer finish. It comes in three shades, Medium, Dark and Ultra Dark, which are buildable to your desired depth of colour. It dries down within just 60 seconds, so work fast.
NKD SKN Body Bling Instant Shimmer Body Makeup
NKD SKN Body Bling Instant Shimmer Body Makeup is a body bronzer with a sheer tint and a hint of shimmer. There's only one shade, a medium, and it has a lotion texture. This one can be used on both your face and body.
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Illuminator
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Illuminator is a shimmery lotion that comes in two tints, Nude Glow and Golden Glow. The roll-on applicator makes it easy to apply with no mess, and it's quick-drying and transfer-resistant.
St. Tropez One Night Only Wash Off Face & Body Lotion
St. Tropez One Night Only Wash Off Face & Body Lotion is a tinted lotion that can be used on both face and body. There are two shades, Light/Medium and Medium/Dark, and the shimmer is very subtle. These are said to last for up to 24 hours, with no transfer.
Fenty Beauty Body Lava Body Luminizer
Fenty Beauty Body Lava Body Luminizer is a body highlighter with a gel texture and tons of dewy shimmer. There are three shades, with Brown Sugar being the closest to a bronze glow. This one's a limited edition, so it won't be around long!
St. Tropez One Night Only Finishing Gloss
St. Tropez One Night Only Finishing Gloss is a glossy body lotion with a sheer bronze tint and flecks of shimmer. You do need to give this one some time to dry down before you get dressed, or it will feel sticky and may transfer a bit. The texture is a creamy gel.
L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Summer Express Wash-Off Body Makeup Lotion
L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Summer Express Wash-Off Body Makeup Lotion is a transfer-resistant body bronzer that comes in two shades, Light and Medium. I would say the colours run dark and warm, so if you're fair, try mixing it into a body lotion. I hear this one is being discontinued, so grab it while you can!
Shop Editor’s Picks
Do you wear body bronzer or body luminizer?
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