NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Bella Hadid walks the runway for Brandon Maxwell during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on September 07, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)

It’s 2020, and beauty innovations are all around us: there’s sheet masks made from coconut, stickers laced with fragrance, and microcurrent tools you can use at home. Self tanning is another such area that’s come leaps and bounds from the sticky dark creams we slathered on as teens before a night out. Now, there’s an array of shades, textures, finishes and application methods making the art of self tanning an easier, and better smelling one. From drops to in-shower creams, find our edit guaranteed to save you (and your sheets) a lot of effort.

For The Tan-Averse: Tanologist Face ANd BODY Drops

If you’re fake tanning averse, or looking for an easy way to build up colour, let us introduce you to the concept of tanning drops. They work in a similar fashion to gradual formulas, building up subtle colour over a period of time, but instead of an all-over cream or lotion, simply add drops to your existing moisturiser. Tanologist Face And Body Drops are a vegan, cruelty-free option that gives believable but noticeable colour after one use. They’re perfect for topping up normal tan, too.

Tanologist Vegan Face And Body Drops, $36. SHOP NOW

For Seasoned Tanners: La Beach Express Tanning Foam

If you’re no stranger to tanning, La Beach Express Foam is the answer to your honey-limbed prayers. The all new clean formula contains ingredients like aloe, witch hazel, and black walnut to hydrate and maintain skin integrity, whilst giving a beautiful, natural colour in only two hours. It doesn’t streak or smell, and you can pair it with the brands mist to maintain colour for longer. Plus, it’s housed in chic packaging – a nice departure from rainbow bottles if you prefer a monochrome palette in the bathroom.

La Beach Express Tanning Foam Deep Bronze, $39. SHOP NOW

For Lazy Types: Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturiser 

A true innovation in gradual tanning, this Jergens formula literally applies to wet skin at the end of a shower, and can be towelled off immediately. And it truly does give skin a subtle glow, building colour gradually without the need for additional moisturiser. It’s the easiest tan you’ll ever apply – promise. Plus, it costs less than avocado toast.

Jergens natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturiser, $15. SHOP NOW

For Your Face: St Tropez Bronzing Water Face Mist

This mist-tanner hybrid is genius. Packed with mandarin water, hibiscus and a small amount of DHA, it simultaneously plumps while imparting a natural bronze finish. Apply overnight to clean skin (including the neck) to wake up with the perfect glow. It won’t stain your sheets, either.

St. Tropez Bronzing Water Face Mist, $35. SHOP NOW

For A Glow In 30 Seconds: Bondi Sands Glo Lights

If you want a hint of something but have left it too late for all other options, a wash of Bondi Sands Glo Lights Finishing Glow across limbs will take the edge off. Thanks to light reflecting particles, you’ll end up with diffused, glowy skin – plus, you can get dressed immediately.


Bondi Sands Glo Lights Gloss Finishing Glow, $18. SHOP NOW

For Holiday Skin: James Read Coconut Dry Tan Oil

If you prefer your tan rich and glossy (as if you’ve been soaking up le soleil in Cannes), go for a dry oil like this one from James Read. It gives good colour, is super hydrating, and smells delicious thanks to coconut oil. Treat it with respect, as you would a normal tan by exfoliating first, applying carefully, and waiting three to five hours before rinsing.

James Read Coconut Dry Tan Oil, $42. SHOP NOW