We're not big fans of phony things (handbags and hooters top the list). But when it comes to tanning, we downright embrace whatever trickery it takes to fake bronze skin. While a summery glow can be achieved the old fashioned way (baking in beds and on the beach), we prefer to get golden in the privacy of our homes. If you're into the sunless tanner too, read on for our favorite options.
Prep: As victims of under-exfoliation in the past, we must highly recommend this extra step. You might not need it, but if you do require some skin sloughing and decide to forgo-trouble. So, get in the shower, scrub with some bath gloves/body polish, and shave.
Airbrushing: If you're not a fan of the Mystic smell, fear applying self tanner to yourself, and don't mind dropping some cash, airbrush tanning is for you. For a truly luxe experience, the way to go is mobile visit-oh yes. Jessica Kaplan of Golden Touch bronzed our bodies at the office one afternoon. The experience was precise and practically scent-free, no wonder Kaplan usually attends to celebs like Paris Hilton and the girls from "The Hills." Keep in mind that airbrushing can crack as it wears off and look funny if you go too dark, so ask for a color that's only a step or two deeper than your natural skin tone. ($85-150, goldentouchtan.com)
Lotions/Creams: Readers who would rather handle their tan solo but aren't experts at application should choose a tanner with a lotion or cream formula. One of the most foolproof products is Boots Botanics Golden Glow Body Lotion ($11.99, shop-cvs.com). The color is light and builds gradually, making it perfect for daily use. It doesn't have the self-tanner odor and if you forget to wash it off your palms (we did once) you won't look like you have Oompa Loompa hands! Kiehl's makes a Sun Free Self-Tanning lotion that's simple to use ($22.50, kiehls.com). The color also looks very natural even on fair skin.
Gel/Sprays/Mousse: Readers who don't want to dedicate lots of time to tanning should try gel, spray, mousse products-they dry the fastest! One of the most popular gels is the Clarins Self- Tanning Instant Gel ($29.50, sephora.com). It won a Best Of Sephora award last year and is an Allure Reader's Choice winner. Sprays are the easiest way to get hard to reach places. We like the point-and-shoot A Tan For All Seasons from Bliss, especially because the color doesn't transfer to our clothes ($36, sephora.com). Finally, we'd like to direct your attention to St. Tropez Whipped Bronze Self Tanning Mousse ($26.50, sephora.com). St. Tropez tanning products consistently have some of the best color on the market. We love how the mousse evenly distributes color and the lightweight formula never feels sticky.