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The No. 1 rule for achieving a healthy tan is never let the sun do the bronzing. It’s all about picking the perfect sunless self-tanner.
Whether you want a healthy glow or a deep bronze, there are a slew of self-tanners to do the trick. So which one do you pick? The answer is: It depends. That’s why we rounded up the 10 best self-tanners for all skin tones in various formulas (mousse, lotion and more) at every price point from drugstore to high-end. So no matter what your tan goals are, we’ve got you covered.
Below, shop the best self-tanners to keep your glow all year long.
If you’re a first-time tanner, this Jergens mousse is perfect for you. With a 60-second drying time and a lightweight texture, this formula is practically foolproof. It boasts an advanced color complex, which blends with your natural skin tone for a natural-looking glow. “Being pale, I was always reluctant in using self-tanner. However, this product produced just the result I wanted,” noted one review.
Shop it: Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse, $11, amazon.com
Easy application and instant results that only get better with time are what you’ll get with this St. Tropez bestseller. The tinted self-tanning mousse maintains its airy texture for easy application and dries down into a beautiful bronze shade that looks like you just got back from vacation. That glow darkens several shades within a few hours, and you don’t have to worry about the dreaded self-tan smell. “It is worth every penny,” says one reviewer. “My friends beg me to borrow it because it outshines the products they buy in every way. It looks completely natural and fades wonderfully. It dries relatively quickly and smells nice.”
Shop it: St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse, $42, amazon.com
There’s a reason this Amazon bestseller has a 4.4 average rating, and the reviews back it up. Many praise the quick drying time and natural results that last for a week. “The color is the most realistic I’ve seen out of any product I’ve used, it dries quickly and doesn’t come off on your clothes or sheets, and it really does last for 5-7 days,” states a verified-purchase review on Amazon. The bronzing mousse is safe enough to use on the face, and you never have to worry about a streaky tan.
Shop it: Skinerals Self Tanner Sunless Bronzer, $26, amazon.com
Loving Tan has a cult following among those who are looking for a professional-quality sunless tan. It’s known for lasting up to two weeks after a single application and developing a medium to deep bronze that looks even and natural. And you don’t have to think about orange streaks or patches because it blends seamlessly. “This gives you the best tan, and it fades into the skin SO flawlessly!” states one review.
Shop it: Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse, $34, amazon.com
You really get a bang for your buck with this affordable tinted mousse. The formula is very light, and a few pumps are all it takes to achieve a golden bronze that’s far from yellow or orange. With a variety of shades, it’s suitable for all tones and for anyone looking for a sun-kissed tan that gives off that just-got-back-from-vacation glow. If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, this review said it best: “The best self-tanner for a great price.”
Shop it: St. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Mousse, $8, amazon.com
Not only will you get a gorgeous bronze with this tinted gel, but the formula is made to also provide skin care benefits. It’s rich in maracuja to brighten skin, sunflower seed oil to moisturize and condition, citric acid to promote exfoliation, squalane to smooth and aloe to soothe and hydrate. The result is not just a great tan, but great skin too. “You can tell the difference that this tanner is moisturizing, has a pleasant odor and doesn’t feel like it dries out my skin,” wrote one reviewer. “I will definitely buy again and have been extremely pleased.”
Shop it: Tarte Brazilliance PLUS + Self-Tanner with Mitt, $20, amazon.com
Fake Bake is known for its triple tan formula, a blend of three sunless tanning ingredients that creates an intense tan that lasts longer than most. The tropical-scented self-tanner dries fast, and its bronze tint makes it easy to achieve an even application. “This tanner rarely ever stains my clothes, goes on so smoothly, and smells like coconuts when you first put it on and doesn’t smell like any tanner the next day, which is perfect for me,” wrote one reviewer.
Shop it: Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid & Professional Mitt, $52, walmart.com
Go the gradual tan route with this rich hydrating lotion from Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics line. The moisturizing lotion doesn’t just give skin a subtle natural glow, it also nourishes it. Noni extract provides antioxidant benefits while rose hip and sea buckthorn oil infuses skin with moisture. Think of this as your nightly lotion — but better.
It’s a splurge, but one that is well worth it if you’re looking for a sunless tan that lasts up to 3 weeks. Vita Liberata’s wildly popular Phenomenal Tinted Mousse works fast, as in instantly, to develop that long-lasting bronze that fades better than most. One reviewer pointed out, “I’m not going to lie, I can make the cheapest self-tanners look great on my pale skin. However, I cannot make them fade naturally. Not only is this the best self-tanner I have ever used (spray tans in salons have always come out terrible on me) but it softened my skin, it looks incredible, and it was the easiest one I’ve ever applied.” The no-smell formula is truly universal and ideal for all skin tones from fair to deep.
Shop it: Vita Liberata Phenomenal 2-3 Week Tinted Tan Mousse, $45, amazon.com
On the newer end of the spectrum is Isle of Paradise’s self-tanning water, an odorless, colorless formula that continues to develop after two showers. It’s made with natural ingredients like avocado, chia seed and coconut oils to nourish skin and infused with tone-correcting complexes. The peach version brightens skin, the green reduces redness and a violet reduces dull tone. Either way, the vegan self-tanner can take your tan from a subtle glow to bronzed and beautiful.
Shop it: Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water, $34, amazon.com
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