Tired of looking too pale or lifeless? Missing that summer glow you had but the sun won’t show itself lately or you don’t have all the time to expose yourself to get tanned? What’s worse is when you do, you might have an uneven skin tone and risk yourself of looking like a freak. MTV Jersey Shore, anyone? What does tanning lotion do? Look it up here!
You wouldn’t believe how many self-tanners are available in the market and we have broken down the list for the ultimate cream of the crop for you. We wanted to make sure you don’t make the mistake of looking orange, having streaks on your appearance, stains on your clothes and damage on your epidermis. We are here to save you an extensive amount of money and time from doing that trial and error with self-tanners that scream, “HEY! We’ve got a fake tanner right here!”
Top 10 Self-Tanners in 2018
Whether you want just a sun-kissed glow, a moderate tan, or a daring bronze, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at the 10 Best Self-Tanner that provides the best summer skin look long enough so you won’t Google “How to remove awful fake tan a.s.a.p.”:
Get that “Australian Tan” of close to perfect bronze the Aussie body has. This self-tanner will make you shimmer and look like a beach babe in no time, even if the truth is you’re only surfing Netflix all days.
It’s a blend of coconut oil and argan oil for easy no-mess application and tantalizing scent. It’s in oil formula which gradually sets your tan over 2-3 hours that lasts for the whole week. The Liquid Gold Oil product won’t make you wash it off to have it removed.
- Not sticky
- Has an attractive smell
- Tan is not orange, just subtle bronze glow
- Does not streak
- Looks very natural
- Leaves skin feeling soft
- Does not stain fabric
- May cause a slight burning sensation that eventually fades
Probably the self-tanner with the lightest texture in the market, it’s rapid in absorption to the skin and leaves it feeling smooth and silky. It’s like getting a product that’s two-in-one. We’re not exaggerating but it will really make your skin just-came-out-from-the-womb soft.
It’s very rare for self-tanners to have this light texture with a moisturizing finish. The color is also even and just the right amount of bronze.
- Dries down on contact
- Gloves were included in the package
- Also has an applicator that resembles a plastic loofah
- Might not be good for impatient customers as the tan is seen gradually
- You have to do it only after a shower or else it will streak
Dry skin haters can praise this brand endlessly. It gives that right amount of sunless tan with moisture in just a few swipes of the towelettes, just make sure to do it in circular motions. It’s so great it will even fight breakouts. It’s perfect for on-the-go tanners.
It’s a one-step tanning process and you get even caramel color that will make you look hot and lively even at your busy days. Because you will have to wipe your skin in circular motion, you are sure that even those hard to get corners such as your elbows and knees will have even tan.
- Forget about squeezing and applying using external applicators
- Lasts for a week
- 1 towelette is not enough to cover your entire body; you would need at least 3
- Price is a bit too expensive compared to creams or oils
This two-step tanner requires you to exfoliate first all the dead skin cells in your body and apply the liquid tan with a mitt. You will already have a tan that gradually gets deeper after 3 hours. It’s very moisturizing and has a clean scent which is a perfect addition to your shower routine.
The name of the product lives up to itself as it is user-friendly and can be done by first-timers without being too scared of what can go wrong. Definitely no fake tan nor fake smell when you use this one.
- Very thin texture, super light
- The exfoliator smells like berries
- Leaves skin feeling soft
- The liquid has a tendency to drip off the bottle because there is no pump
- Not long lasting like other tanners in the market, users reportedly reapply just after 2-3 days
L’Oreal, one of the household names in beauty products, is no stranger to the tanning game in the industry. In fact, they have a total of six products designed for tanning. This particular one though, their mist, caught our attention the most because of the airbrush effect. It’s so perfect and flawless!
It works with the jet applicator for 360 degrees coverage, super-even, natural looking glow. It is so subtle that your colleagues will wonder secretly what you did differently until they can’t take it anymore and ask you about it. Of course, it’s up to you to tell or not! But as for us, let them think about how much you spent on professional tanning when you really just did it by yourself. Get ready to be showered by compliments once you start using this DIY tanning mist.
- No hand contact, just spray it on you at an arm’s length
- Quick and easy application, no mixing or rubbing in
- No foul smell
- Not too dark
- Makes you look like you came out of a salon
- L’Oreal is a trusted brand so there are minimal risks using it
- Spraying makes it hard to tell if you already have applied it in some areas or not
- You need to do this in a big space or else color will get on furniture too
- It would be better not to pray on feet because the spray lands on feet anyway, otherwise your feet will look uneven
The best seller self-tanning product in Amazon that has been used by most celebrities in Hollywood. With Fake Bake Tanner, you will need the sun no more to achieve that golden tan you long wish for. The combination of the ingredients used in this product is a patented formula by Fake Bake to ensure long-lasting and safe bronze glow.
As compared to other self-tanning products, Fake Bake tanner does not leave an orange pigmentation but leaves a natural looking tan adapting on your own skin tone. Worry not about uneven application because this product comes with a color guide to guarantee blotch-free application. Pigmentation comes out in 4 to 6 hours that can last up to 2 weeks.
- Free from DMDM Hydantoin and Paraben that is safe to use even for people with sensitive skin
- This tanner has lotion and oil-free formula that dries out quickly
- Safe to use in the face as well
- Does not leave a stain on fabrics
- Contains a subtle tropical scent that does not leave an unpleasant odor after few hours of application
- Common user complain is the “bottle leakage”
- The application can be tricky that can be prone to the uneven applicationif the instructions were not followed properly
When you want to get that sun-kissed glow without the pain of exposing your skin to the harmful UV rays from the sun, Beauty by Earth Self Tanner is the solution! This self-tanning lotion is made from natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, shea butter, and organic Japanese green tea extract which will nourish your skin while giving the even spread of pigmentation.
Unlike the others, this self-tanner does not contain chemical; they used naturally-derived ingredients making it close to being an all-natural self-tanner product. Beauty by Earth included a small amount of DHA that is derived from a vegan and GMO-free Glycerin. This company also believes in a cruelty-free advocacy making them a stand-out from the rest.
- Waterproof and does not leave a stain on beddings and clothes
- The buildable formula to help you achieve your desired golden tan color
- Made and packaged in a US facility with FDA certification
- If applied on a newly shaved area, there’s a tendency that orange dots will show up on the pores
- Does not contain SPF, so it is still best to stick with your sunscreen regimen while using the product
Get the summer look all year round with Banana Boat’s Summer Color Self-Tanning Mist. This tanner produces a fairly dark-bronze tan that can last 3 to 4 days. The formula contains no oil and dries quite quickly and can be layered until you get the golden tan you’re hoping for. Men will surely love this tanner because of its medium pigmentation and subtle citrus scent.
Unlike other tanners, Banana Boat Summer Color does not show a blotchy appearance. It gives out a natural-looking summer tan pigmentation that blends well and does not glitter.
- Can be applied without rubbing
- Comes in a very efficient spray bottle that you can use at any angle that delivers an even distribution of the product
- Does not give an orange color and no weird smell
- Fairly priced self-tanner
- Not available in Catalina Island
- Initially, provides a white color that will eventually blend out
- The common issue with this product is that it fades out unequally
Create your own summer glow even while in the city that’s miles away from the beach. Jergens used an Advanced Color Complex Technology that produces a natural-looking bronze that blends well with your skin tone. The product is in a mousse form with tint for a more precise and even application that easily dries within a minute.
Instead of fading, the pigmentation simply deepens its shade after application. Jergens Natural Tanning Mousse has a slight clean scent without the common awful tanner odor. While Jergens is known to be a brand of moisturizing products, this self-tanning mousse ensures a flawless and even spread with its hydrating and nourishing formula.
- Available in two shades: Light and Deep Bronze
- With a buildable formula that fades gradually without the blotches
- The color does not transfer in the sheets
- Should not be applied on sensitive areas like the face
- Does not have an SPF or sunscreen properties
- May leave a sticky feeling
Say hello to a healthy and natural-looking summer tan with LaPlaya Glow Bronzing Mousse that you get any time of the year. With a special formulation infused with the nourishing properties of organic oils of Argan, Coconut, Jojoba, and Olive together with the antioxidant effects Vitamins A, C, and D and Elderflower Extract. Its active ingredient DHA is derived from an eco-certified source. This patented formulation gives you a beautifully tanned complexion while deeply moisturizing your skin from deep down without the harmful agents.
Miami Gorgeous is a highly dedicated company that puts the satisfaction of their customers first. Saying that the company offers a 100% refund or replacement if in any way you feel unsatisfied with their products. They made sure that LaPlaya Glow Bronzing Mousse will be free from parabens, glutens and will not be tested on animals.
- With a little to no overpowering scent or odor
- Made and packaged in an FDA certified the US-based facility
- Bronzing effect gradually fades but instead of creating an orange pigmentation, it darkens and blends well with your natural skin tone
- Stays on the skin quite shorter, about 2-3 days only
- May tend to rub off on fabrics and bedding sheets
- Feels sticky because of its moisturizing property
Are Sunless Self-tanners Doing More Harm than Good?
Before the birth of sunless self-tanners, people used to achieve the sun-kissed skin by literally sunbathing or using Ultraviolet (UV) tanning beds exposing the skin to the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun. Using these methods of tanning, the skin not only gets painful burns but severe conditions like premature skin aging, cataracts, and worst are skin cancer. Exposing the skin from too much UV rays also makes the immune system to go down.
Fortunately, sunless self-tanners are the safest alternative in getting that perfect summer tan. The active ingredient used in sun-tanners is the DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which binds with the amino acids in the dead skin cells on the outermost layer of the skin to produce the brown pigmentation without negatively affecting the layers of the skin underneath. This is probably the reason why Dermatologists recommend using these products instead than the previous techniques.
Tanning products in lotion form are the best and safest method. Unlike lotions, spray-on or mist tanning products must be used with precaution. You should not let the product contaminate your eyes, nose, and oral cavity area as this may cause irritation.
How to Effectively and Evenly Get a Perfect Summer Glow with Sunless Self-tanners?
Prepare all the materials needed to avoid hassles.Before doing anything, you must have all the tools ready at hand for a smooth and hassle-free application. Aside from the tanning product itself, you will also need tanning mitts or pads which are sometimes given as a freebie or if not, there are tons of options that are readily available. You will also need exfoliating supplies like a loofah, hand glove or even body scrubs for a streak-free and smooth application on the skin. You should keep Vaseline handy to apply in your brows so they will get discolored by the tanning process.
Do the necessary pre-tanning measures. If you opt to shave or wax your legs and skin prior to tanning, make sure to let the skin recover for at least a day. Doing this, you are preventing yourself from getting tiny orange bumps or dots from clogged pores. It is also advisable to do exfoliation first before the tanning session to ensure make the product stay longer in the skin. Applying moisturizing lotion is highly recommended, giving focus on knees, elbows, ankles, feet, and hands. These parts tend to absorb more of the products that may look darker than the rest of the body because they have creases and folds.
Apply the product by sections.When you apply the tanner by section, you are making an even distribution of the product. Bigger parts like the torso, chest and shoulders area, upper and lower back must be massaged with a tanner in a circular motion. The upper and lower limbs must be in a wiping motion giving special consideration to the folds and creases.
Post-treatment care. Once the application is done, make sure that you take your time in drying the product. If you’re in a hurry, you should at least give 10 minutes to air dry the solution in your skin before getting dressed. Washing your hands thoroughly after the application is highly advised to prevent darker pigmentation on that part alone. As much as possible, you should avoid sweating for the first few hours immediately after the application. Scrubbing and exfoliation must also be limited or if possible be avoided as this can make the product fade sooner. You should also not skip in applying your daily sunscreen for skin protection.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying Self-Tanners
When choosing the tanner that you will apply on your own to your skin, make sure you are comfortable with the form. Self-tanners come in lotion, spray, mousse, gels, or towelettes. The lotion is the most popular kind because they are simple to apply and lasts long. Think about getting spray tan too for those hard to reach places such as your back.
You also have to check the smell (if you’re at the mall shopping for it) or research about it (if you’re buying online). Some self-tanners have a strong scent that will last for long hours before fading and some offer fragrance already.
You also have to accept the fact that color might be transferred to your clothes or furniture so you want to check for those products that don’t stain as well. Also keep in mind that even if it can stain fabric, the color on your skin will eventually fade away and there is a need to reapply the product every after 3 days. Some products claim to last a week.
You have to be careful too with gradual developing tans. You might put a product once and are not satisfied with the results so you apply more. After several hours or even a day, you see yourself 10x darker because the output finally shows. Don’t put yourself in too much embarrassment by doing this.
Finally, consider the setting time of the self-tanner. It’s important that it’s quick to absorb and dry because there’s more to life than tanning and you sure have other daily activities to do other than waiting for it to set.
Don’t Skip on the Sunscreen
You still need sun protection even when you already have your tan on. The self-tanners don’t necessarily give protection from harmful UV rays even those that already have SPF infused with them (they provide protection only for short-term or when you first apply them).
Take into consideration getting a separate sunscreen but make sure it does not react badly with your tanner. You want to avoid a sunscreen that has oil and alcohol. Alcohol and the types of oils used in sunscreen are not moisturizing and will break down your tan. With these in mind, you also need to add moisturizing cream to your routine and you are sure to take extra care of your precious tan.
Sunscreen is different from sunblock because sunscreen still lets you absorb the sun’s rays and get natural color out of it while sunblock totally blocks out the sunlight. When you choose a good sunscreen to go with your tan then you are prolonging the color on your skin not just protecting it from fading, it’s a win-win situation!
The Final Verdict
Sunless self-tanners are the most practical and safest alternative to UV tanning beds or even sunbathing. Gone are the days that we put more focus on beauty than health. Proper education on correct application and the risks must be on top of your priority.
We know that looking for that perfect tanner is a real pain in the neck. Considering the budget, the lifestyle you have, the application options and so on. If you do not want to be early for Halloween or to look paler than the night-walkers on GOT, we strongly recommend these top of the line products that we have invested much effort, time and money just to come up with the best possible reviews and insights. Good luck and happy tanning!