The Best Self Tanners
To help you find the perfect self tanner, we continuously put forth the effort to update and expand our list of recommendable self tanners. Our team collects, edits and publishes new information, in order to present it to you in an accurate, significant and neatly arranged way.
Runner-ups: 7 Best Self Tanner Alternatives
Table of Contents
Buying Guide for Self Tanners
Look for your natural skin tone
This is a common mistake with self tanning! Most self tanners come in different shades, and it might seem intuitive to buy the shade that you’re hoping to become after using the tanner. This is not the right move, however. Instead, you want to buy the shade that you are naturally. Think of it like buying a foundation or concealer — you want to color match as best as you can.
Know your toneThe most dreaded result of using self tanner is becoming that unattractive shade of bronzey-orange. When using self tanner, keep in mind that you’re not aiming to achieve some type of idealized tan — you’re looking to recreate what you would look like if you achieved a natural tan from the sun. Everybody’s skin is different, so you’ll need to find something ideal for your specific overtones and undertones.
If you’re especially pale and don’t naturally tan, then don’t try to achieve an artificial tan with self tanner. Instead, focus on adding a healthy glow and just a bit of subtle color. This will fill out your natural skin tone and make you look like you’ve been vacationing in the Caribbean for a week.
For pale skin tones, a gradual tanning moisturizer is ideal rather than a spray-on tan or mousse. Go for a self tanner with gold tones rather than orange, brown or bronze tones.
For darker fair skin, the main thing to avoid is redness or ruddiness. Use a yellow-based product to cancel out those red tones and even out the skin. Try a bronzing mousse product.
If you have a bronze or olive skin-tone, you’ll want to use neutral shades of brown to avoid an artificial-looking color. These skin tones naturally tan from the sun, so try to recreate that color with your self tanner. You can use a bronzing lotion to achieve this effect.
Brown-skinned folks can also use self-tanner. Similar to those with pale skin, you’re aiming to highlight and improve the natural glow of the skin as if you’d been hanging out in the sun all day. Deep browns with reddish or copper tones will work well for this.
One last tip that all skin tones can use is that you should use a self-tanner that has olive or green-gray tones to it rather than orange. Aside from those with fair skin, you should avoid yellow-based products as well.
Choose the right formulaThere are self-tanning lotions, mousses, sprays and towelettes. There are also bronzing powders for temporary self-tanning. Different formulas are appropriate for different skin tones as well as for different parts of the body. It’s often appropriate to use a different formula for your face than you will on your body, since faces are naturally a different tone than the body and they tan differently. Many products, like St. Tropez's bronzing mousse, come in a separate formula just for the face.
One helpful tip for beginners is to use a gradual lotion or moisturizer, since it will take time to show on the skin. You’ll be able to tell whether you’re achieving the desired effect before it’s too late.
If you choose to use a regular tanning lotion (not a gradual one), go for one that has a dye to it so that you can tell where you’ve already applied it. This will be incredibly helpful — the goal when self-tanning with lotion is to apply it evenly, avoiding streakiness and not applying it more than once in one area. This takes practice, but will be easier if you can immediately see where you’ve applied the tanner.
Mousses are great for customizing your color, since you can easily layer and build coverage. However, they are not great for beginners since there’s not a lot of room for error.
At-home spray tans are surprisingly easy to use, as long as you choose one that doesn’t deposit too much color at once. These sprays are great for reaching your back, which can be quite to evenly self-tan without some assistance.
Tanning towelettes are appropriate for small areas or touch-ups.
Don’t cheap outYes, self tanners can be quite pricey, but you’ll likely be using the same bottle for quite some time. If you’re going to use self tanner, you need to use a formula that works and doesn’t look tacky. In most cases, that will mean buying a product according to its formula and quality, not its price. Luckily, that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on self tanner.
There are some quality self tanners under $15 that may be suitable for you, depending on your skin tone and desired tanning formula. Jergen's gradual tinted moisturizer, for example, is available for under $15, and is a popular and effective self tanner. Neutrogena also makes a popular tanning mist that's inexpensive.
Higher-end brands to look for include St. Tropez, Clarins, Tarte and Josie Maran -- all of whom make wonderful self tanners. If you'll be using an instant lotion, mousse or towelette, it's best to go the high-end route.
When in doubt, test it outYou may have to try a couple different self tanners before you find one that gets you that just-right sun-kissed glow. Don’t fret! Like any beauty product, you won’t really know how it works for your skin until you try it. Everyone is different, so be patient and be ready to try out a couple self tanners.
Top Rated Self Tanners
If you're looking into finding the best rated self tanner, you should probable check out the Skinerals Tanner. We looked at various sources of reviews and found this one to have the best mix between review count and average rating stars.
Often, going for the best price is a simple but good option. With a price of $14.99 (last checked on March 21, 2019), we do not list any other self tanner cheaper than the Anjou Tanner. Just remember that it's not always the best option to go for the cheapest one.
The Self Tanner with the Most Reviews
With at least 2748 reviews and counting, the Beauty by Earth Tanner might be another option to consider. This large amount of reviews signalizes that many people are using it, with most of them beeing satisfied.
It's quite rare that the saying "You get what you pay for" turns out incorrect. If you have the money on the sideline, feel free to choose the most expensive item from our list: The Beauty by Earth Tanner currently sells for $35.99.
Most Clicked Self Tanner
If you trust us and our users, feel free to check out the Sun Laboratories Tanner. Our statistics say that it is the most favorite Self Tanner from the list above.
If you're still undecided, I would recommend that you go with the masses and choose the top selling self tanner: The Sun Laboratories Tanner for currently $25.85 on Amazon (last checked on March 21, 2019).
That's it for now, please remember that this list is updated on a regular basis.
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Further Reading on Self Tanners
Do Your Own Research
A composition and method for self -tanning of skin is provided which includes an α-hydroxy substituted ketone or aldehyde such as dihydroxacetone, a polyacrylamide and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. Advantageously, there may also be incorporated at …
A composition and method for self -tanning of skin is provided which includes an α-hydroxy substituted ketone or aldehyde such as dihydroxyacetone, an anionic silicone copolyol such as dimethicone copolyol phosphate and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier …
A cosmetic product and method for imparting a natural-appearing tan to skin is provided, the product being in the form of a multi-compartment dispenser. A first and second substance are stored in separate compartments of the dispenser, at least one of the substances …
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