Wouldn’t it be great if there were a pill we could take to give us that sexy summer glow year around? Well, there are quite a few out there that claim just that… However, don’t even think about popping one of those puppies. First off, none of them are FDA approved for human consumption when it comes to use as a tanning agent. The main ingredient in the majority of “tanning pills” is Canthaxanthin which has been reported to cause liver issues and the formation of yellow crystals in peoples eyes that has led to serious eye problems, including vision loss. That being said, in our quest for the bronze body without the harmful rays from the sun, we should stick to the bottles – and I am not talking about the ones with the childproof caps.

With a plethora of creams, oils, mousses and more that line the shelves and our computer screens promising a “streak free”, “stink free” and “orange free” tan, how do we know which one is the best for our personal body type? From the gradual, build-up products, to the instant gratification; here are a few tips to help you figure that out and hopefully provide you with the knowledge you will need in purchasing the best sunless bronzer for your body.

If you’re looking to build your tan gradually I would use a lotion, oil or serum. You can increase the amount used depending on the level of color you are looking to achieve. They do not dry your skin out like the others and you have more control over the outcome.

Now, if you desire to look as though you just returned from a 2 week Hawaiian getaway, my suggestion would be a mousse, gel or spray. Ideally, heading to the salon and having a professional work their magic would be my first option, but some of us do not have that luxury. Whether it be due to finances (professional, personalized individual spray tans can cost you anywhere from $60.00 to $100.00+ depending on service location, reputation and product quality) or lack of accessibility to a professional in your area could be a few of the factors leading you to the do-it-yourself methods.

Now, before you start your application you need to prepare your skin. Exfoliation is key. You need to remove the dry, dead skin cells or your tan will be uneven and blotchy. The most common ingredient in the majority of sunless tanning products is the color additive, dihydroxyacetone (DHA). During application DHA adheres to the dead cells on your skin’s surface to darken the skin. That being said, use an oil-free body scrub (residual oil will cause a barrier between the product and your skin leaving you with a uneven outcome) and make sure to focus heavily on your knees, ankles, wrists and elbows where we are all prone to have more build up of dry skin cells. Also, always protect your hands by wearing gloves or a mitt, which many of the sunless tanners provide in their packaging. Finally, FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Each product is different, so if you want a streak free glow be sure to do what the manufacturer recommends. I am a lover of online purchases, reading the reviews provided from previous customers are not only educational, but essential prior to purchase – learn from their mistakes. However, if you are actually shopping in a store, you should definitely speak to a knowledgeable sales associate to gain their advice on the best product for your skin type.

I apply my self tanner prior to going to sleep. I always allow time for it to dry and wear loose fitting pj’s or lightweight sweats so the product doesn’t rub off like it would if I were moving around all day in a pair of jeans or tighter fitting outfits. You definitely want to refrain from sweating after an application because that will halt the process time and leave you with a streak filled tan. I rinse off the excess in the morning and add my moisturizer to help extend the length of my tan. Voila!

Last, but not least, here are a few of my personal product favorites in my ongoing journey to gain the glow and hide my pesky imperfections:

St. Tropez Mousse sephora.com

Hampton Sun Gel sephora.com

Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning lotion fakebake.com

Fake Bake The Face fakebake.com

I hope this helps in your quest for the year around summer glow!