I've Been Using Self-Tanners Since Middle School, and This One Is the Best I've Ever Tried

Plus, you can customize the shade to your liking.

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Tan Luxe The Body Tanning Drops
Photo: Courtesy

Ever since middle school, I've been on the hunt for the best self-tanner on the market. And after many years of rigorous testing and countless bad tans, I can finally say I've found the self-tanner that, in my book, has blown out the rest of the competition. The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops from Tan Luxe adjust to my natural skin color and leave me with a natural, bronze glow year-round.

When it comes to self-tanners, we usually end up being forced to make some sort of compromise: a good color but a bad smell, a great smell but leaves a sticky residue –– the list goes on. Now, thanks to Tan Luxe's drops, I can finally say goodbye to compromising. After several uses, I can officially conclude three things: it doesn't cause streaky or dry skin, it doesn't leave behind a sticky residue or bad odor, and it doesn't stain my clothes or bed sheets.

Tan Luxe The Body Tanning Drops

Available at Amazon, Nordstrom, Sephora

Plus, the formula makes incorporating it into my skincare routine so easy. After exfoliating in the shower, I put about 4 drops into my favorite lotion and then apply it to my skin. The great thing about these drops is that you can customize your tan by switching up the number of drops you use. For example, if you want your legs darker than your arms, you'd stick to a couple drops on your arms but add a couple more before moisturizing your legs.. It also comes in two different shades –– light/medium and medium/dark –– so you can further customize the level of tan.

The brand recommends using two to 12 drops per area, and warns to use more sparingly around dryer parts of the skin (such as knees, elbows, and hands) because the active ingredient, DHA, easily sinks into those areas. Also, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after so you're not left with blotchy patches.

Since it's gradual, you can expect to see results in about six to eight hours, at which point the formula will work with the melanin in your skin to produce a natural, sun-kissed finish. It's also infused with raspberry seed oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera, to keep your skin plump and hydrated, and it's free of synthetic dyes, sulphates, and phthalates.

For me, it typically lasts around seven days before it starts to come off in the shower –– but at least some color will likely remain on your skin for about two weeks. If you'd like to remove it completely after a few days, it's best to exfoliate so it doesn't start to come off blotchy, or use Tan Luxe's glyco water remover that helps erase the color quicker. A good rule of thumb is to keep your skin moisturized so that the tan comes off smoothly. As someone who uses self-tanner at least once a month, these drops have truly been a game changer in my beauty routine –– I mean, even Kelly Ripa once called them "remarkable." Tan Luxe has several other products including tan drops specifically for your face, a self-tan mousse, and even a hyaluronic acid-based tanning serum. Shop the full lineup, including my go-to self-tan drops, all priced between $30 and $60 at Amazon and Nordstrom.

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