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best self tanners

So, now that you’ve spent the Fourth of July weekend lathered in sunscreen, are you ready to get a little (fake) glow?

I’ve spent the last few weeks testing a bunch of self-tanners, so that you guys can look as bronzed and tan as you like, without ever setting foot in the sun. 

(On a side note, being a beauty product guinea pig is not such a bad job, although I did have some days of seriously streaky tans to show for it!)

So, without further adieu, my list of the best self tanners for 2011:

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess: [1]
You guys have already heard me rave about this line, but the self-tanner might be my favorite part of it.  I got a beautiful bronze tan without any orange or streaking (you can see it in this post [2]) that looked totally streak-free and completely natural.  Estée Lauder makes separate products for face and body, but the bottle will last a long time, and I think you can definitely get away with buying just one.  The Bronze Goddess line is limited edition, and I’m dreading the day they’re gone!  $26, at department stores or online [1].

Jergens Natural Glow: [3]
Jergens moisturizers with a hint of self-tanner have become hugely popular, and for good reason.  I knew so many people who swore by this that I had to try it out!  The color developed really subtly, and I didn’t get that greasy self-tanner feel.  This just felt like moisturizer, and left a little glow behind.  For half the price of a movie ticket, this is definitely worth a try!  $7, at drugstores or Amazon [3].

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze: [4]
I’d been using this off and on the last three years, but this summer, the bottle changed and I think the formula may have too.  This was the strongest self tanner that I applied — I was tan after one application, but it was also a little prone to streaking.  It left behind this really pretty shimmer after applying it, which was probably worth the price in itself!  If you can find them, the towelette version of this L’Oreal self tanner are also amazing.  $8, at drugstores or Amazon [4].

Clarins [5]:
Clarins has cornered the market on upscale self tanners for as long as I can remember, and no list of great self tanners would be complete without them.  The one I tried gave a radiant, subtle, natural color, and it was the only self-tanner that I actually forgot I’d applied after it dried (no stickiness or greasiness at all).  On the other hand, it takes several applications for this to really make a difference, and it’s the most expensive of the bunch, by quite a bit.  Still, though, a great product!  $42, at department stores or Sephora [5].