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10 Best Self Tanners

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Searching For The Best Self Tanners

10 Best Self Tanners

Self tanning can go one of two ways: You get even, natural-looking results you love, or you find yourself scrubbing off orange streaks in a fit of desperation. Don’t let those odds deter you though, this list of best self tanners is here to make sure it’s always outcome number one.

But even though the best self tanners out there can give you the perfect summer glow year round, formulas differ, as do shade ranges and scents. How to decide? 

  • Step 1: Know your options
  • Step 2: Get real about what you want
  • Step 3: Never settle for less

We’ll lay it all out for you in this list of best self tanners. Here, our top 10 picks

10 Best Self Tanners

1. Isle of Paradise

 Isle of Paradise

Isle of Paradise was an easy pick for this list of best self tanners, and it’s not just because we’ve witnessed how game-changing its products are. Revolutionizing the world of self-tanning, its skin-loving formulas work with your skin — not against it.

So what does that mean? It’s a balance between customization, color correction, and nourishing ingredients that don’t dry out your skin. Delivering a natural-looking tan that lasts for days, it won’t stain your bedding or white tees, nor will it give you a ringing headache. 

Created by Jules Von Hep, a celebrity tanning pro, Isle of Paradise is designed for everyBODY, offering peach, green, and violet-based formulas that help create a color that’s right for you. You’ll browse through a wide selection of tanners within the line, including drops, mists, butters, waters, mousse, and oil.

Along with handy application mitts and face-specific formulas, the entire line is cruelty-free and enriched with antioxidants like grapefruit and chia seed oil to soften and care for your skin. Prices range from $29 for Clear Tanning Mousse to $65 for 3-piece kits. 

Highlights

  • Cruelty-free
  • Nourishing vitamins
  • Customizable
  • 3 core shades
  • Won’t stain
  • Smells great

2. Coco & Eve

Coco & Eve

Coco & Eve is totally taking over the self tanning world right now. With formulas that promise skincare-level results and no orange colors ever, the brand offers just two products: the Bronzing Foam and the Bronzing Face Drops. 

How do they pull off the no orange thing? Coco & Eve uses a green-grey base instead. Pick from light, medium, and dark shades in the collection, and enjoy perks like cellulite reduction, blurred pigmentation, and non-sticky formula that develops in 2 hours

Applying evenly with a color guide to prevent streaks, its formulas also have a natural mango and guava scent. A 1.38 oz bottle of the face drops is $28 while a 6.7 oz bottle of the foam is $35.

Highlights

  • No sulfates, parabens, or phthalates 
  • Environmentally conscious 
  • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Sustainable packaging 

3. St. Tropez

St. Tropez

Perhaps one of the most popular brands of self tanner, St. Tropez is known for its instant tanning mousse that delivers perfectly bronzed skin in a blink. You’ll find mousse, lotions, and mists within its collection, along with light, medium, and extra dark formulas to get you the glow you’re really after.

Made with skin-healthy vitamins, St. Tropez formulas are 93% natural, vegan-friendly, and come in recyclable bottles. Delivering big time on a deep, bronzed glow, customers love the express tan option that gives you a perfect tan in 1-3 hours. Showering is recommended before dressing and heading out for the day. 

Grab any of its formulas for $18-$42.

Highlights

  • Vegan-friendly
  • Recyclable bottle
  • 93% natural
  • Range of formulas
  • Body & face-specific products

4. Tan Luxe

Tan Luxe

A company dedicated to giving you the perfect tan, Tan Luxe was developed around the idea of a customized experience. How does that look? Pretty good, if you ask us. Infusing skincare and personalization into its line of non-toxic self tanners, you’ll enjoy a clean, cruelty-free, and even tan that works with your unique skin tone. 

Founded by Marc Elric, a salon owner, Tan Luxe offers a range of self tan formulas including drops, water, mousse, oils, and serums. You’ll have two shade ranges to pick from, light/medium and medium/dark, along with options for face, body, and instant tans. 

What makes Tan Luxe products really shine? Delightful ingredients like raspberry seed oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E totally hydrate, nourish, and soothe skin for a healthy, smooth sunkissed glow. Its products are concentrated, so with many, a little goes a long way. Sizes range from 50ml-200ml for $42-$55.

Highlights

  • Dries in minutes
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Completely natural
  • Skincare ingredients
  • Non-toxic
  • 2 shade ranges
  • Great selection of formulas

5. Dr. Dennis Gross

Dr. Dennis Gross

Known for his fast, effective treatments for common skin concerns like acne, Dr. Dennis Gross offers innovative self-tanning sheets. Unlike any other pick on this list of best self tanners, you’ll unwrap a sheet from the box and swipe over your skin from neck to toe. 

With both body and face-specific tanning sheets, you’ll enjoy perks like a streak-free tan, no mess, and the perfect amount of product in each towel. Using soy protein, lactic acid, and DHA, a golden glow will develop over time while hydrating your skin and keeping moisture locked in. 

Unlike other tanners, there’s no exfoliation required. Each towel is embedded with AHA/BHAs to exfoliate skin while you apply. And here’s an added perk, the formula also included Capislow, a compound that helps reduce hair growth, length, and texture so you can enjoy truly smooth skin for longer. 

Grab an 8-pack of body towels for $45 or 20-pack of facial towels for $38.

Highlights

  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Paraben & phthalate free
  • Exfoliating
  • Reduced hair growth & texture
  • Research-backed
  • Body & face-specific formulas

6. Josie Maran

Josie Maran

Blending nourishing argan oil into all of its formulas, Josie Maran self tanners help your skin truly glow. They’re made with delightful scents like apricot vanilla and juicy melon and without yucky ingredients like formaldehyde, PEG, and parabens.

Delivering a streak-free, even, natural-looking tan, Josie Maran products use natural DHA to hydrate and care for your skin. You’ll find just two self tanners in this brand’s collection, including the Argan Milk Glowing Skin DHA Natural Self-Tanning Serum and the Argan Liquid Gold Self Tanning Body Oil

Giving you a natural glow, Josie Maran self tanners are lighter in color than others on this list of best self tanners. Apply a second time to get a deeper glow. Along with an application mitt, you can get a 4.3-4.7 fl oz bottle for $39-$46.

Highlights

  • Cruelty-free
  • Nourishing ingredients
  • Hydrating 
  • Buildable
  • 2 tanning options
  • No need to exfoliate 

7. Fake Bake

Fake Bake

If you’ve been burned by an orange faux-tan before, then you may find Fake Bake particularly alluring. With green and red undertones, its line of liquids, serums, and airbrush sprays work with your natural skin tone to ensure you get a look that’s natural. 

Equipped with everything needed to get the perfect tan, the tanner you order will come with either or mitt, a brush, or a body applicator to make the process as easy as possible — and leave your hands as clean as possible. A great option for all skin types and tones, Fake Bake delivers a deep, brown tan with a color guide so you know exactly where you’re applying it. 

Giving you an instant tan, Fake Bake tanners continue to develop over the next 8 hours and last all week. Pick either regular or darker shades for around $28-$31 for a 6 oz bottle. 

Highlights

  • No parabens
  • No orange color
  • Uses DHA, DMI, and Erythrulose for a safe, long lasting tan
  • 5 different options
  • Vitiligo Vanquish line

8. Coola

Coola

For Coola, a safe, golden glow is a must. A highly natural brand, its formulas deliver a natural-looking tan that’s buildable over time. Using sugar-beet DHA to boost your skin’s natural glow, its line of tanners creates a medium-gold tan like no other.

Made with 99% natural ingredients (70% of which are organic), Coola’s line is completely vegan and cruelty-free and packed with special extras to nourish your skin. A side of beauty-boosting argan oil and hyaluronic acid with our tans? Yes, please.

With a complete line of tanners, you’ll find all serums, dry mists, and moisturizers, as well as products with a purpose like the firming gradual lotion and luminizing face compact. Using plant stem cell cultures to help reduce the signs of aging, your tan will build over the next few days.

Drying quickly, you won’t need to worry about it transferring to your clothing after you lather up. Oh and streaks? Definitely not. Piling on the certifications, Coola self tanners are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and non-comedogenic. Grab a 6-7oz bottle for $42-$54.

Highlights

  • Ecocert Cosmos Organic Certified
  • Antioxidants
  • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Farm-to-face ingredients
  • Non-comedogenic 
  • 99% natural ingredients
  • Pina colada scent

9. Bondi Sands

Bondi Sands

An Australian brand, Bondi Sands takes inspiration from the perfectly tan bods that stroll across Bondi Beach in the summer. Helping everyone get a gorgeous golden glow, its products have some of the deepest shades on this list of best self tanners, offering a line of mostly dark and ultra-dark products.

You’ll find a few lighter-toned options as well among its wide selection of foams, mists, oil, and wash-off tanners, along with instant and gradual glow formulas. But Bondi Sands isn’t just about giving you a great tan, it cares about your skin too. 

That’s why its formulas are made with natural, hydrating ingredients to make sure your skin looks the best it can while you rock your tan. Promising a longer, deeper tan than other options out there, you can grab a 3-12 oz bottle of Bondi Sands tanner for $13-$29.

Highlights

  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Made in Australia
  • Built-in SPF (Milk only)
  • Affordable 

10. Jergens

Jergens

Editors and beauty buffs love Jergens Natural Glow lotions. Try one, and over the next 7 days, you’ll see why. Since the formulas are made with skin-loving ingredients and skincare benefits (firming, hydrating), these easy-to-apply formulas are a quick way to get smooth, glowing skin without the tanning mitt.

They smell just like a light lotion, so you won’t have to worry about smelling like a tanning salon at work. Though the Natural Glow line has been kicking around for the past 30 years, Jergens has roots back to 1901. 

Its collection of Natural Glow lotions includes 3 formulas for firming, hydration, and a wet skin moisturizer, each one gradually creating a natural-looking glow that gets subtly deeper the more you use it. Promising firming benefits within 7 days of use, the Firming formula is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite. 

Pick from fair/medium and medium/tan shades for each of the lines. 200 ml bottles cost under $10.

Highlights

  • Best budget pick
  • Fair to medium & medium to tan options
  • Easy to find
  • 3 core formulas
  • Hydrates skin
  • Sunkissed glow

How to Choose the Best Self Tanners

10 Best Self Tanners

Options, options…what’s a self-tan lover to do? If you’re still debating between one brand and another, leave it to us. We’ll walk you through a handful of key factors to consider before landing on a winner. 

Brand

From the outside, many of the best self tanners can look the same. Take a closer look and you’ll find that each brand is unique and is known for different things. Founded by well-known beauty companies or those people with expertise in the tanning realm, if one speaks to you, go with your gut. 

It may be valuable to look at the certifications of certain brands too. If you prefer vegans and cruelty-free formulas, that will certainly narrow your choices down. Certain companies offer products made with sustainably-sourced ingredients, while others don’t. Identify your values and then choose a brand that matches.

Shade Range

Self tanners are pretty versatile, and there’s no reason someone with pale skin couldn’t wear an ultra-dark formula if they wanted to. Consider what you’re looking for from your self tanner. Is it a sun-kissed glow, a touch of color, or do you want an all-out summer suntan? 

Depending on what you want, choose a color that meets your needs. Some of the best self tanners come in a range of colors, while some offer limited options, and others are about custom color correction rather than a one-shade-fits-all hue.

Formula

Once you’ve picked out your preferred shade, now it’s time to get picky about the formula. In the realm of the best self tanners, formulas vary greatly, and you’ll find that some brands offer a wide selection of them, including drops, oils, mousse, water, and more. 

Each of these formulas goes on differently than the other, and depending on your preferences, you may find that one offers better coverage, while another is gentler for your face. When thinking about the formula, consider the scent and ingredients too. If you have sensitive skin, be on the lookout for natural ingredients and nourishing benefits. 

Added Benefits

We’ve come a long way in the world of self tanning. Since tanning formulas have a reputation for drying out skin, many of the best self tanners are now made with hydrating ingredients

You’ll also find that many of the names on this list offer products made with anti-aging ingredients and antioxidants, while some include ingredients that exfoliate your skin while you apply them. There’s a fun mix of formulas and products on this list, so no matter if you prefer mess-free convenience or classic color-guard confidence, you’ll leave with a killer tan. 

How Do You Apply Self Tanner?

The best way to apply self tanner is on exfoliated and moisturized skin. Since dead skin and dry patches can lead to an uneven tan, it’s recommended by all self tanning pros that after exfoliating and moisturizing, you apply self tanner with an application mitt.

For hard-to-reach places like your back, certain brands offer application cloths, while others also make brushes specifically for applying self tanner to your face. Once you’re done applying, you’ll likely need time to dry.

It’s recommended that you don’t step into clothing until your tanner is set, or until after you hop in the shower. That’s the reason why you’ll find that many of the best self tanners recommend nighttime applications

What Is A Color Guide?

You’ll find that some of the best self tanners are clear, while others have a brownish hue to them. Those are the ones that have a color guide. While clear formulas offer transfer-resistant perks and gradually develop over time, tinted formulas help you see where you’re applying tanner to your body.

Many self tanners that come with a color guide often recommend that you let your tan develop while you’re at home, then wash it off before you get dressed. That’s why express tan formulas are often in high demand considering that not all of us have 8 hours to wait for our tans to set.

Final Thoughts

10 Best Self Tanners

On the search for glowing, evenly tanned skin without the sun damage? Look no further than the best self tanners. Known for their natural-looking color, coverage, and nourishing formulas, any of these top picks deliver big-time on bronzed beauty

When choosing the brand and formula that’s right for you, consider the level of tan you want, the type of ingredients used in the formulas, and if you’re looking for any added benefits. With some of the most popular names in self-tanning, we hope you’ve found your new favorite from this list.


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