Let's face it: For every bride who takes pride in her precious porcelain complexion, there are at least ten (um...let's make that 15) others clamoring for a little sun-kissed color. Still, wanting to look like a bronzed babe on your honeymoon needn't—shouldn't!—mean risking lines, wrinkles, and icky peeling skin. Especially when there are so many fab new self-tanners on offer. It's one of those beauty products no bride should go without.
But before you dive into some of our current faves, it's important to brush up on the basics of Faux Glow 101:
1. Tan early and often. Start slathering at least one full week before your wedding. A little bit each day allows you to "build" color gradually, which is not only prettier, it also ensures you won't miss any spots. No worrying about any tell-tale streaks on that gorgeous white wedding dress!
2. Stretch to reach those tricky spots—pretend you're in yoga class. Yes, it's weird to lift your arms over your head to make sure you're hitting every last nano-inch of your obliques, but totally worth it when you slip into that bikini.
3. Feel free to skip your face. Unless you've previously had great success with faux-glowing your face, stick to wash-off liquid and powder bronzers.
Plus: Don't forget a pair of chic shades! Sunglasses, $290, Prada available at Sunglass Hut.
Now, for the product reviews:
1. IF CHEMICALS SCARE YOU
Being green and bronzed is a good thing! This eco-certified mix of botanicals and moisturizing oils from Elemental Herbology softens skin and adds a sexy hint of color.
Tanning tip: "Blotchy spots were easily buffed with a pumice stone," says our tester.
Sun Kiss Body Hydrator With Self-Tan, $41, Elemental Herbology
2. IF YOU CAN NEVER REACH YOUR BACK
Thanks to the spray nozzle of L'Oréal's Sublime Bronze airbrush formula, you don't have to use contortionist-like moves to cover hard-to-reach spots. Yay!
Tanning tip: Patience, please; let it dry completely before slipping into clothes.
Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist, $11, Jergens
4. IF YOU'RE SUPER BUSY
It takes only one of these portable Kate Somerville wipes to deliver quickie, sun-kissed color to the whole body—sans mess.
Tanning tip: We know you're strapped for time, but exfoliate first!
Somerville 360 Body Tanning Towelettes, $48, Kate Somerville
5. IF YOU TEND TO OVERDO IT
This Clinique lotion is tinted, so you'll know where you've already slathered it on. Our testers raved about the streak-free results and the instant shimmery glow.
Tanning tip: Don't let the lotion just sit there. Blend, blend, blend.
Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion, $23, Clinique