It's a vicious cycle... you can't get a tan without going outdoors and you do not want to go outdoors with those pasty white legs. So here are a few options for you to get a boost before your first tanning session at the beach. (Or on the rooftop of your LA apartment)
*First of all make sure you exfoliate and moisturize really well the day before you decide to go sunless... The stuff in moisturizers can decrease the effectiveness of a sunless tanner if you moisturize right before you put it on.
Darphin Autobronzant - The best self-tanner for the beginner. The cream is light and not tinted- minimizing streaks. The light formula is easy to smooth on and doesn't cake/dry up like most self-tanners do. It takes a few hours for any color to show up so I like to use this after an evening shower and I leave it on overnight. It doesn't stain clothes or sheets- but still go a good 10 minutes before you dress. It looks very natural but can get orange-y on the lightest parts of your body like your wrists the insides of your elbows... rub it in lightly and quickly on these light parts and smooth with a light moisturizer afterwards to soften the effect.
Neutrogena Sunless Spray - The most inexpensive of the bunch, these Neutrogena Sunless Tanning sprays can be found everywhere. They basically have the same idea as the mist-tan you can get at a tanning salon... but it's not quite as easy. Just because it is a spray applicator, it doesn't mean that this is the quicker option. If you go too dark, you can easily get streaks. The mist is clear so it is hard to tell where you've already sprayed (i.e. when you are going around your legs) and if you overlap- well that spot will show up darker. I still think this is the best option for doing your back though... as the back can be pretty hard to reach. However, I'd go with the lightest one (I tried the number 2 and I was streak city) and build up the tan over a few applications. This spray actually looks very natural, minus the streaks.
Michael Kors - This one is more of a perfumed bronzer... and is better for upper body areas before an event (i.e. to even out your neck & chest for a plunging neckline) It does have a bronzer in it so you have to be quick or else you'll get spotting (it dries really fast) This is more of a cosmetic fix and looks better on someone who already has a slightly tanned base; it is too dramatic for right-at-the-end-of-winter white skin.
Clarins Milk - This is the one I'm experimenting with currently. I've only tried it twice- I'm assuming it takes a couple of tries to build color. Next time I'm going to put it on right before I go lay outside in the sun. It has (a tiny bit) of SPF in it so we'll see how the color goes! But so far no streaking and no orange.
Clarins Sun Spray - This is the spray that I used last summer. It's great for building a long-lasting tan and a really good solid color. I've used it before going to the tanning booth (bad, bad! I won't do it again, I promise) but it works especially well when used outdoors. It is more of an oil so it leaves your skin glowing, perfect for laying out by the pool. Don't pack it in your beach bag though.... it's a magnet for sand so it can get pretty icky for beaching.