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Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning

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Self tanner might fall into the “maintenance” category for some people—you know, just another step in the shower/shave/cleanse/moisturize routine—but for others, it’s right up there with hair masks, face masks, and other “spa day' beauty activities, which are just a wee bit too fussy to do on the regular… especially self tanner for the body. The dry time, the staining, those vast expanses of body parts that require the elusive “even application.” An easier pill to swallow is the idea of self tanner for the face—it’s just a few inches wide! How can you screw it up? Plus, between October and March, you really only need to look good from the neck up. Unless you're a stripper, a model, or David Beckham, who, of course, has to look good all over, all the time.

Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea mentioned Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning lotion in her Top Shelf, and, finally, we picked up a jar. First of all, it has the consistency, color, look and feel of dulce de leche—as in the actual condiment/desert, not the flavoring. It’s a sort of matte paste that you scoop out with a finger, and, if you're Sofia, mix with your moisturizer first and then apply, but we recommend rubbing a dollop over the face after you're finished doing everything else skincare-related (but before applying makeup). It absorbs instantly and doesn’t leave you looking oily in the slightest; it also has only the faintest hint of that self-tanner smell. The results can best be described by a summary of bathroom visits over the course of one day: on the morning potty run, you look in the mirror and you look the same. After lunch, that face in the mirror looks slightly more luminous…and by 5 PM, you actually look twice as good as when you began your day. But you can’t pinpoint why, even though it’s the self tanner…which is kind of the mark of a great skincare product, no?

You can snap it up (for $34) here.