Winter Skin Care

This $9 Self Tanner Will Trick Your Skin Into Thinking It’s Summer (Yes, Even in the Dead of Winter)

Photo: Getty Images/ Olga Rolenko
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Now that it gets darker earlier and earlier every day, I’m pulling out all the stops to make up for the severe lack of sunshine in my life. This means I’ll be posting in front of my light therapy lamp, sipping on my favorite caffeinated drinks to avoid crawling into bed at 4 p.m., and staying on top of my self care to combat the shorter days and winter sads. Another thing I’ll be doing all winter long is lathering myself in self tanner.

I’ll admit I’m by no means an expert in self tan application—I’ve tried plenty of different methods on the market—the sprays, the foams, the graduals—and have managed to botch every single one. But now that I’ve found the L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops ($9—currently on sale!), I plan on holding onto summer skin all winter long—safely.

Not only are the L’Oreal drops incredibly affordable (especially since the bottle is on sale), they’re also the easiest self tanner to apply, in my opinion, making it a solid choice for beginners. It's also a heck of a lot safer and healthier for skin than tanning beds, which are a big no-no. The instructions are simple: just add a few drops of the tanning serum to your usual moisturizer (the more you add, the deeper the tan), and moisturize as you would normally, making sure to cover your neck too—and wash your hands once you’re done (a cardinal rule for any tanning product).

While the lightweight self tanner is specially formulated for use on your face and neck, the drops can easily be mixed into your body lotion for a head to toe tan. Let it develop overnight, and prepare to look like you just got back from summer vacay when you’ve really just been typing in the dark for three months. The resulting tan is pure bronze, sun-kissed goodness—zero orange undertones or streaks—that you can build up gradually for the most natural look.

“The tan from the drops looks SO natural, you would never know it was fake,” wrote one Target shopper in a 5-star review, “I also have VERY sensitive skin and have not had any irritation from these drops.” Plus, these fail-proof self tanning drops don’t just leave a summer glow behind, they’ll leave your skin feeling more hydrated too, courtesy of hyaluronic acid.

Beyond its user-friendliness, my favorite thing about the L’Oreal Self-Tanning Drops is the scent—or lack thereof. It’s no secret that most self tanners smell awful, and even the ones that claim they don’t stink, still have that musty, burnt carpet smell lurking underneath. So imagine my delight when I discovered that the L’Oreal tanning drops are actually fragrance free—sparing you the horrid fake tan smell and potential skin irritation.

Even for my congestion-prone combination skin, the L’Oreal drops did their job without causing any breakouts. And other Target shoppers had the same experience. “My sensitive skin also loves that it’s fragrance free,” wrote one reviewer, “I was so scared to try this but the color looks great and it hasn’t caused any breakouts.”

So whether you're a tanning novice or a self tan stan, fighting the winter blues with a glowing (and convincing!) tan has never been easier. Take that, winter gloom.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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