No matter how badly you don't want to, it's time to face it: Summer 2020 isn't at all what anyone thought it would be. Planned beach vacations quickly morphed into impromptu backyard photo shoots, which eventually turned into 12 straight hours of watching other people get tan on the beach in Love Island. Even if you were able to catch some sun in a socially distant way, few things compare to the tanned, even, sun-kissed complexion you get from a summer spent out and about. These products to give you a summer glow will get you pretty damn close, though.
As much as everyone loves their month spent playing in the sun, it's not the worst thing in the world that we've all had to take a brief break from it. “The sun is the most damaging thing to the health of our skin,” Shara Strand, makeup artist at the Pierre Hotel and owner of Shara Cosmetics, told Bustle. "It can cause so many issues like sunspots and dehydration." In reality, both of those things can actually prevent you from achieving a healthy glow down the line. Plus, you've heard all about the dangers of frequent stops in a tanning bed, and too many spray tans might leave you with a complexion color you don't want — and drain your bank account in the process.
Clearly, there's a lot to keep in mind. But by stocking your shelves with products like self-tanners, lotions, body shimmers, and more, you can achieve the same bronzed glow, minus all the hassle and skin damage. Peruse through the best products to give you the glowiest, sun-kissed skin below. This way, you can keep it going year 'round.
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Alba Botanica's sulfate-free Sunless Tanner Lotion ($10, Amazon) will have you looking like you spent a week at the beach in less than three hours. It promises a non-streaky, natural-looking tan, and the best part is, it's made with vegetarian ingredients and free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and phthalates that can irritate the skin.
For those with drier skin, KORA Organics' Sun-Kissed Body Glow Oil ($29, Sephora) hydrates your skin in the process of giving you the ultimate tanned look. Its formula includes desert date oil, rosehip oil, and sunflower seed oil, all of which help moisturize, smooth, and soften the skin.
If you're ready to take your tan to the next level, utan's Tanning Water Dark ($24, utan) claims to tan your face up to 50% darker. It's also packed with ingredients to soothe irritated skin and keep redness at bay. Simply spritz this water on your face before or after your makeup or skincare routine, and you're done.
Tan Towel's The Mitt ($45, Tan Towel) is pretty foolproof. All you have to do is use one mitt and gently glide it in long strokes over your skin. One mitt contains enough product for your whole body, although you should switch hands when you're about halfway through. Each package includes five mitts, so you can get your glow on through fall.
"I apply this to my arms, legs, shoulders and anywhere I want to add a little soft shimmer," Kylie Jenner said about her Pressed Body Glow ($28, Kylie Cosmetics) on her website. "It's just a really beautiful, wearable all-over highlighter and a new staple in my makeup bag." By using a dense powder brush with this product, you can easily dust it all over your body. You'll be so sparkly, Edward Cullen would be jealous.
You better get glowing with Sol de Janeiro's Glow Oils ($35, Sol de Janeiro), which have sold out several times. No matter your skin tone, these oils will have you shimmering like the night sky during a meteor shower. While the formula starts sheer, it's buildable, so you can keep adding more shine until you achieve your preferred level of luminous.
SOL by Jergens' Sunless Tanner Water Mousse ($24, Ulta Beauty) will bring out a natural-looking shine in every user. It's dye-free, so you don't have to worry about annoying color transfer, and its airy foam formula spreads on super easily. The tan develops within four hours, peaks at 24 hours, and lasts for days.
If you want to glisten like the ocean on a sunny day, Fenty Beauty's Body Lava ($59, Fenty Beauty) will help you achieve your goal. It has a high-shine, non-sticky finish that lasts all day and leaves skin looking dewy as ever. Plus, who doesn't want an all-over glow that would rival Rihanna's?
For a long-lasting tan, Vita Liberata pHenomenal Tan Mousse ($39, Macy's) is made to stay for two to three weeks. The brand is widely known and loved for its impeccable self-tan formulas, and with this baby's quick-drying properties, you won't have to worry about streaks ruining your lewk.
Honestly, most people are sleeping on self-tan drops. With Tan Luxe's The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops ($55, Tan Luxe), you can customize your level of tan simply by adding more drops to your favorite products, like a body moisturizer, face serum, or oil. Simply mix these in and apply your usual product as normal for the easiest bronzed glow ever.
Everyone loves St. Tropez for a summer skin look. No, really. St. Tropez's Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse ($32, Ulta Beauty) has racked up an average of 4.4 stars on Ulta Beauty, with over 450 five-star reviews raving about this product. Basically, you can trust that this self-tanner will leave you with a natural glow you'll love.
A subtle tan is easily achieved any time of year with just a couple sprays of Sephora Collection's Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist ($19, Sephora). The light bronze tint shows up almost immediately — no drying and washing necessary.
Made with black walnut, aloe vera, and green tea, Ulta Beauty's Bronze Glow Self Tanning Tinted Mousse ($13, Ulta Beauty) conditions and hydrates the skin as well as it tans. It's also free of sticky oils if you fear a greasy finish.
To get a just-left-the-beach glow, try Patrick Ta's Major Glow All-Over Glow Balm ($50, Sephora) in the aptly named shade, "She's On Vacation." This bronzer balm will give your entire body a dewy look for maximum levels of radiance, all while defining your natural body contours in the process.
Isle of Paradise has a ton of tanning choices — mousse, water, and drops in light, medium, and dark — all with popular cult-followings. I personally love the control the Self Tanning Drops ($27, Isle of Paradise) provide and how easy they are to use. Just drop in your favorite skin and body products, and boom. Tan city.
Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion ($15, Australian Gold) combines everything you love about lotion with a long-lasting, sun-kissed tint. The formula includes caffeine, skin softeners, and fade-defying technology, so not only are you getting all the benefits of a body care product, but your tan isn't going anywhere.
Just because you're lying outside, waiting for your tan to kick in, doesn't mean you can go with SPF. Coppertone's Glow Sunscreen Lotion ($9, Target) protects you from sun damage and makes your skin sparkle with its shimmer effect at the same time.
Coola's Sunless Tan Body Serum ($48, Coola) works to give you both a natural-looking tan that lasts for days and instant illumination. As a serum, it's super easy to work this product into your daily routine and let your body reap the benefits. Just a few uses, and you can have post-Bahamas skin without leaving your house.
KKW Beauty's Skin Perfecting Body Shimmer ($35, KKW Beauty) has highly reflective pearl particles to give you an intense shimmer all over. With over 100 reviews, this shimmer has five stars, so you can trust it'll give you the extreme radiance you're after.
There's no trace of gluten, cruelty, or no-vegan ingredients in Beauty by Earth's Natural Self Tanner ($31, Beauty by Earth). The natural, super nourishing self-tanner provides gives you a subtle, natural bronze, and it's safe for sensitive skin, too. With a fresh scent and six- to eight-hour develop time, you might as well work this into your pamper session.