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It’s summertime, and that means the weather is warm and the sun is shining. Searching for the perfect summertime accessory? That would be glowing, sun-kissed skin, of course. Unfortunately, for most of us, achieving beautifully bronzed skin is not such an easy feat. While bronzer is a perennial staple in our makeup collections, it can only go so far. Thankfully, adding the right self-tanner to your skin care routine can get the job done better, quicker—and safer—than the sun itself. Keep reading to learn about our best drugstore self-tanners for summer 2020, plus how to apply them.


Take a stroll down the self-tanner aisle at your local drugstore, and you’ll quickly come to find that self-tanners come in many, many different forms. From towelette to serum to moisturizer to spray, there’s a different type of self-tanner for every occasion and skin type. Spending a day at the beach? Prepping for a tropical vacation? Want to rock bronzed legs with your new sundress? We’ve got a self-tanner for all of that, and more! Here are some of our best drugstore self-tanner options to choose from, including a mousse, towelettes, and self-tanning milk.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse: With an invisible, lightweight feel and a hydrating formula, this self-tanner gives you smooth, soft skin in addition to a streak-free tan. To use, first shake the bottle well, then pump the product into your hands and smooth evenly over clean, exfoliated skin. After you apply, your tan will gradually develop over four to eight hours.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Towelettes for Body: Want to score a gorgeous tan without the mess? This self-tanner will make it oh so easy! These tanning towelettes work wonders to transform your skin into a bronzed masterpiece without the drama. Made with vitamin E and gentle AHA’s, these towelettes will provide you with ultra-smooth skin for a natural-looking tan you’ll love.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium: This self-tanner is basically a two-in-one: It hydrates your skin like a moisturizer while also delivering an even, bronzed glow. For those who have a lighter skin tone or are looking to develop their sunless tan gradually, this self-tanning milk is a must. Use it three times per week, or as often as needed until you build up to your desired level of bronze.


To get the most even-toned and streak-free results from your self-tanner of choice, you’ll want to follow this easy self-tanner application guide.


Self-tanner should always be applied to clean, exfoliated skin. If you aren’t a fan of patchy tans—which we’re assuming you’re not—it’s best to exfoliate before working on your faux glow.
While you’re in the shower, reach for a body scrub, and use it to exfoliate areas that tend to be extra dry, such as elbows, knees, and ankles. Since self-tanner absorbs extra fast in areas that tend to be dry, you run the risk of these areas becoming darker than the rest of your body. You can always level up by adding dry brushing into the mix, which works to exfoliate and prep your skin for hydration.

Editor’s note: Don’t forget to exfoliate your face! After all, we’re sure you want your face to sport an even tan, too. Grab the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Purify & Unclog Scrub to help remove dirt, debris, and dead skin cells from your face. To use, massage the scrub onto the skin with wet fingers and rinse.


After your shower, you’ll want to towel off completely—self-tanner shouldn’t be applied while skin is damp. But wait, before you reach for that self-tanner, there’s another step you’ll want to take first. Apply a body moisturizer, being sure to pay attention to those dry areas we mentioned before. This adds another layer of protection against developing an uneven tan. Let your moisturizer absorb completely before moving on to the next step.


With a self-tanning mousse or lotion, you’ll want to use a self-tanning mitt or your hands, and apply a light, even layer of self-tanner wherever you’re seeking a sun-kissed glow. If you’re tanning your face, make sure you’re using a formula that’s meant to be used there! When you reach those aforementioned areas of dry skin, use a bit less product than elsewhere on your body. 

For towelettes, smooth the tanning wipe directly onto your skin. It’s best to unfold the wipe gradually as you go so that it doesn’t dry out while you’re working on your tan. Once you’re done—with any type of self-tanner you’ve used barehanded—wash your hands thoroughly and swiftly; otherwise, you could end up with extra dark palms.


We know—you want to get out and sport your gorgeous bronze skin ASAP. But not so fast! It’s important to be patient after you’ve applied your self-tanner, so as not to cause the formula to smudge or smear off (and produce an uneven tan). Wait for your skin to dry completely before you put clothes on, and when you do, try to wear loose-fitting clothing. That’s it! Now, enjoy your bronzed goddess look and rock it with confidence.


Now that you know how to use our best drugstore self-tanners for bronzed skin, don’t stop there! Complement your gorgeous tan with the right makeup to really bring your sun-kissed complexion to life. The best part is, you only need to follow two steps to make it happen.


You can always count on bronzer to elevate your beauty look. For a dewy, bronzed look, use the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. Made with glycerin and shea butter, this bronzing luminizer hydrates skin and provides a sun-lit glow that won’t go unnoticed. Apply one of the deeper shades all over—you can use it on your face and body—for instant color and shimmer, revealing beautiful skin in the process.

You can also opt for a powder face and body bronzer—or even choose to layer the two. Try the L’Oréal Paris Summer Belle Makeup Bronze Please! Packed with blendable and long-wearing pigments, this multi-use bronzer can help you warm up your complexion in just a few sweeps! To score a radiant glow, apply the powder on your cheeks, forehead, bridge of your nose, and chin. Don’t forget to sweep this product onto your shoulders and collarbone as the perfect finishing touch.


To really look like you’ve been kissed by the sun, your cheeks need a flush. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Summer Belle Makeup Blush Please!, which has a shimmering formula that’s perfect for summer. Using a makeup brush, dust the powder over your cheekbones and onto the tip of your nose to give your complexion a warm, radiant touch. So pretty!

Next up: Made a mistake when following these steps? Don’t worry, you can fix self-tanner mistakes, especially if you act fast. Here’s How to Remove Self-Tanner.



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