The Best Self-Tanners

Everyone looks better with a tan. However, skin cancer isn't a good look on anyone, by any means. This is why investing in a good self-tanner is so crucial. Using self-tanning products is much safer than being in the sun or using a tanning bed since you don't have to be exposed to harmful UV rays. And, not only does having a tan make you look younger and healthier but, if you struggle with acne or other skin issues, a tan can help to conceal any imperfections. If you're ready to get a nice, healthy glow without damaging your skin in the sun, check out the products on this list.

St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse

The best self-tanner money can buy

For those times when you want a flawless, even, gorgeous tan, reach for this St. Tropez mousse.
Best Overall

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Without naming names, unfortunately, when some people use self-tanner, they end up looking a tad too… orange. (Which is never a good look on anyone.) But you won’t have to worry about that when you invest in a bottle of St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse, because this stuff is basically foolproof. It’s so easy to apply that you’ll never end up looking streaky or like anything other than a bronzed, naturally glowing goddess. The lightweight formula is suitable for all skin tones, and it dries super quickly, in just 60 seconds. And, unlike some other self-tanners, the St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse doesn’t have that weird, chemical-y smell. All in all, this product is truly the best of the best.

Pros:

  • Even novice self-tanners won’t have a problem applying this lightweight, easy-to-use mousse.
  • Results in a natural-looking, bronzed glow.
  • Doesn’t have that weird self-tanner smell.
  • Works for all skin tones.
  • Dries in just 60 seconds.

Cons:

  • Definitely doesn’t come cheap.

Jergens Natural Glow Body Lotion

Subtly enhance your natural glow

It's all in the name: With Jergens Natural Glow, get the most natural-looking tan possible.
Best Natural Look

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If you don’t want a deep tan so much as you want a natural, healthy sheen, look to none other than the Jergens Natural Glow Body Lotion. More of a low-key moisturizer than a self-tanner, this Jergens lotion is iconic for a reason: It works gradually, so it ends up looking far more natural than other products, and it comes at a relatively low price point. It’s also loaded down with antioxidants, vitamin E, and coconut water, so you can expect your skin to look and feel more nourished, tighter, and smoother. The scent is light, fresh, and not at all overpowering, which is a welcome change from other self-tanners.

Pros:

  • It works over time, so you get a natural sunkissed glow as opposed to an unnatural-looking deep tan.
  • The smell is light and pleasant.
  • Chock-full of vitamins, antioxidants, and coconut water, so the skin gets a hefty dose of moisture.

Cons:

  • You have to be fairly diligent about using it every day; otherwise, you probably won’t notice results.

Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner

Non-toxic tanner for the win

This Beauty by Earth tanner contains all-natural, safe, organic ingredients.
Best Organic

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For one of the best clean, non-toxic self-tanners that money can buy, look no further than the Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner, which uses quality, organic, vegan ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and Japanese green tea to create a perfect, healthy glow. Apart from being non-toxic, this self-tanner is just plain effective: It works on all skin types (even the most sensitive types), it’s not tight or sticky, and it results in an even, natural-looking tan that’s easy to achieve. If you’re ready to kick your dull-looking skin to the curb, without using harmful chemicals, it’s time to introduce the Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner to your bod.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic and cruelty-free.
  • Effective formula that isn’t sticky or tacky and results in a natural-looking glow.
  • Great for even the most sensitive skin types.

Cons:

  • Again, this isn’t the cheapest self-tanner, by any means.

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Glow Daily Moisturizer

Hydrate, nourish, and get a tan

With this L'Oreal self-tanner, you can both moisturize the skin and get a good glow.
Best Moisturizing Formula

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Dry, cracked skin got you down? If so, the L’Oreal Paris Sublime Glow Daily Moisturizer is bound to become your new BFF. With daily use, not only will you notice that your skin looks glowy and dewy, but any rough, dry patches will be a thing of the past. This vitamin-packed, super-hydrating moisturizer is awesome for those times when you want to look like you just got back from the beach a few days ago, but you don’t want to look too bronzed or orange; you just want a soft, healthy glow. It’s also an excellent value buy.

Pros:

  • A daily moisturizer that makes skin glow, nourishes, and smooths over any rough, dry patches.
  • Tan is buildable, natural, and subtle.
  • Packed with good-for-you vitamins.

Cons:

  • L’Oreal isn’t a cruelty-free company, so you might want to do some research if you’re vegan

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam

Streak-free and happy as can be

Never worry about streaky, orange skin again when you use this Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam.
Best Foam

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The Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam blends like a dream, thanks to its lightweight, streak-free, highly buildable formula. Enriched with healthy, organic ingredients like coconut oil and aloe vera, this self-tanner will give you a gorgeous glow and hydrate the skin, and you won’t have to worry about streakiness. Plus, conveniently, it comes in three different shades (Light/Medium, Dark, and Ultra Dark), so you can more easily customize your tan according to your skin type.

Pros:

  • The formula is lightweight, buildable, and streak-free.
  • Has a lot of great, nourishing, all-natural ingredients, like coconut oil and aloe.
  • You can customize your tan since it comes in three shades.

Cons:

  • You have to be extra careful about giving this product enough time to dry afterward (it usually takes around an hour to dry completely).

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prep my skin before (and after) applying self-tanner?

Before you apply self-tanner, it’s crucial to exfoliate. If you don’t take the time to properly exfoliate your skin, you could run the risk of getting streaky patches. After application (and after your skin has dried completely), use a light moisturizer.

What’s the difference between “clean” self-tanner and regular self-tanner?

Clean self-tanner contains all-natural ingredients instead of chemicals and synthetic formulas.

How can I make sure my self-tanner lasts as long as possible? 

To ensure your tan lasts, make sure to shave and exfoliate your skin before application, and continue to reapply your self-tanner every couple of days to build up your glow.