Offset/Javier Pardina

These Are The 4 Self-Tanning Tips I Swear By For That Vacay Glow

By Deanna Pai

It's taken roughly 30 years, but I've finally become one of those people who's fanatical about sunscreen. It's not because I burn easily. In fact, I don't burn in the sun at all, thanks to a combination of genetics (I'm multiracial) and good luck. But, like most people, I worry about skin cancer, and I'm not exactly looking forward to a future of wrinkles, dark spots, and other forms of sun damage. So my days of skimping on SPF in favor of getting tanner are dunzo.

But that doesn't mean that my days of wanting a lit-from-within glow and the occasional exclamation of "Wow, did you just get back from vacation?" are over. Without a little radiance, my yellow undertones lean sallow from head to toe. So I've swapped in self-tanners and strategically-placed bronzer to get the summer-worthy glow I want without any of the incidental UV exposure. The secret is to keep it looking natural and not orange nor streaky—which is achievable with these simple tricks.

1. Choose Your Formula Wisely

I'm something of a procrastination expert, so much so that I only polish my toes when my sandals are on and I'm already 10 minutes behind. (Sorry to all of my friends.) And in a pinch, I go for a fast-acting self tanner like Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun for last-minute bronzing. The formula resists streaking and dries in 60 seconds to a golden color that's so subtle, I don't have to worry about applying too much.

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Light Bronze Sunless Tanning Mousse

$11.54

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2. Time It Right

I've tussled enough with the TSA to know what I can get away with packing in a carry-on (and it's not much). So I would never bother trying to sneak through a self-tanner. But to officiate my friend's upcoming wedding in LA, I'll need something to tie me over, and that's where a long-wear formula like L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Serum in Medium Natural Tan comes in. It's easy to apply and lasts for up to two weeks, so no one will know that I was too busy working on my speech — which I've put off for months, obviously — to bother with the beach.

L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Serum

$9.99

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3. Highlight Strategically

Sun-kissed skin isn't just about being tan. It also involves healthy, radiant-looking skin, the secret to which is a few strategic dabs of Maybelline Facestudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in Molten Gold. The peachy-gold shade has just the right amount of shimmer to catch the light, but it's subdued enough that I won't look like I wandered off the set of a Disney live-action remake.

Maybelline Facestudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

$7.94

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4. Nail a Natural Tone

Nothing is a bigger giveaway of not-so-natural bronzer than an orange tone. While I love when people compliment, say, my lashes, the words "your bronzer looks so good" is never the goal. L'Oreal Paris Summer Belle Bronze Please! Bronzer in Portofino reads more brown than orange, so it closely resembles a deeper version of my own skin tone. I dust it wherever the sunlight tends to hit—my forehead, my nose, the tops of my cheeks, and my chin—and call it a day.

L'Oréal Paris Summer Belle Bronze Please! Bronzer

$14.98

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Walmart

This post is sponsored by Walmart.