In the Mirror

7 Faves for a Natural-Looking, Sunless Tan

By Charlotte on August 25, 2013 1:00 AM

With summer winding down, we'll soon be saying good-bye to long, lazy days by the pool. But that doesn't mean you have to bid adieu to gorgeous, bronze skin.

With a little help from these sunless tanning pros, you can keep a natural-looking, golden glow going year round.  


Daily Showstoppers

When used every day, these picks provide a light dose of color great for gradually building an all-over tan or maintaining color you already have:

Fake Bake Tanning Butter for Dry Skin - Big on multi-tasking? This thick, rich cream from Fake Bake lets you tan and moisturize at the same time. Since it's hydrating and has a nice scent, I like using it after showering in place of lotion. The Shea Butter and vitaminFake Bake Tan Enhancing Lotion_no ref 358.jpg E-packed formula provides beautiful, bronze color that's sheer so you don't have to fear over commitment. ($20.99/4 ounces at FakeBake.com)

Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Creme Low Res.PNGFake Bake Tanning Butter lets you tan and moisturize at the same time.


Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Crème Self Tanner - Another top choice for everyday use, Hawaiian Tropic's Island Radiance Crème gives your skin vibrant color no matter what the season. This creamy, so-affordable lotion combines Shea, mango and cocoa butters for long-lasting hydration (up to 12 hours). I love that it has a barely-there scent and comes in Medium (my fave) and Medium Dark shades. ($8.99/6 ounces at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and select Wal-Marts)

Hawaiian Tropic's creamy self tanner brings vibrant color at an affordable price. 

 VL Untinted Self Tan Lotion.jpg


Vita Liberata Untinted Tan Lotion - Although new to the U.S. this year, it's easy to see why Vita Liberata is one of the U.K.'s top self-tanning brands. This lightweight lotion goes on clear and leaves skin feeling mega-moisturized.  Four to eight hours later, it gives you a pretty, sun-kissed glow that's so addictive so you'll look forward to using it daily.  Plus, this organic-based tanner comes in three shades (Warm, Deep and Deeper Deep) dries quickly, doesn't rub off on clothing and, even better, is odorless. ($37.50/6.76 ounces at Sephora.com)

Vita Liberata's Untinted Tan Lotion gives you a pretty, sun-kissed glow that developes in four to eight hours.


Face and Leg-Friendly Favorites

If there are two areas I approach with caution when using self-tanners, it's my face and legs. Get the color on either wrong, and you've got a BIG problem. Thank goodness, Lancome has two Flash Bronzing formulas developed especially for these top concerns. Both are tinted with a natural caramel extract that develops in about 30 minutes and lasts up to 5 days. What's more, they have a heavenly floral scent.Lancome FlashBronzer-FaceLotion2.jpg

Lancome Tinted Self-Tanning Face Lotion - Although I've always feared using anything other than bronzing powders on my face, this oil-free, complexion flatterer has changed all that. The subtle color warms up your skin tone without going too dark, giving you an I-just-got-back-from-the-beach glow. This anti-aging choice pampers skin with SPF 15 broad spectrum protection, vitamin E and light-reflecting micro-pearls that help brighten your look. ($34/1.7 ounces at Lancome counters and Lancome.com)

Lancome Leg Gel 109.jpg

Lancome's anti-aging Self-Tanning Face Lotion pampers your complexion with SPF 15 protection and vitamin E.


Lancome Tinted Self-Tanning Leg Gel - I may prefer a tanner with a light touch on my face but when it comes to my legs, I want a notice-worthy glow. This vitamin e-infused gel provides rich, bronze color that makes your legs look better immediately, reaches its full potential in about half an hour and even helps hide unsightly veins. It's ideal for date night or anytime shorts, skirts or other leg-bearing fashions are in your future. ($37/4.2 ounces at Lancome counters and Lancome.com)

Lancome's Self-Tanning Leg Gel helps hide unsightly veins.

 Supergoop Mousse TUBE 109.jpg

A Smart, Self-Tanning Sunblock

Anytime you're enjoying the great outdoors, Supergoop's Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse makes a super companion. Talk about mixing business with pleasure. In addition to providing broad spectrum SPF 20 protection, this antioxidant-powered, three-in-one workhorse moisturizes dry skin and begins creating a realistic, olive tan in one easy step. Although the boost to your skin tone is gradual, you'll notice a sweet smell and summer-perfect sheen immediately. ($38/5.7 ounces at Nordstrom, Barney's and B-glowing.com)  

Supergoop's Self-Tanning Sunscreen offers SPF 20 protection, moisturizers and gradual tanning.


A Longer-Lasting Reward

If you're looking for a tan with staying power, Vita Liberata's pHenomenal is a must try. This quick-drying mousse offers sun-sational bronze color that lasts two to three weeks.

You'll want to use a tanning mitt to protect your palms when rubbing on this tinted, fragrance-free gem. Then let the tan develop for at least 3 and up to 24 hours (for hard to tan skin and deep tan fans like me) before rinsing. You'll adore the moisturizing feel as well as the color boost from one use but your taVL Phen 205.jpgn will last longer if you apply a second and even third coat.  

I enjoy putting this organic-infused, sunless tanner on in the morning after showering for three days in a row to lock in the color. That works especially well when I'm planning a trip because it lets me forget about tanning for several weeks and gives me one less thing to pack!

Of the three knock-out shades (Fair, Medium and Dark), Medium has become my go-to. ($54/4.22 ounce mousse; $6.50 tanning mitt at Sephora and Sephora.com)

Vita Liberata's pHenomenal gives you a tan that lasts two to three weeks.



We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to the brands in this post

for providing free samples for review and testing.


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If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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