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The Best Self-Tanning Products on the Market




The days of frying yourself in the sun are long gone.  If you're looking for that perfect summer tan without all the sun damage, there are so many amazing products on the market now.  It's super simple to achieve that golden bronze look without much effort.  If you have been a skeptic of self-tanners before because of their reputation, or from a previous negative experience, I hope this article will convince you to give the latest products another shot.  You will be amazed by how great this list of products works.






















Over the last ten years or so tanning products have gotten better and better.  We've gathered a list of the best options on the market today.  The products out there now deliver real results and avoid all the pitfalls of the past, such as weird smells and orange streaks.   The self-tanning products on the market now are superior compared to even just five years ago. 


Self-tanners started off their debut onto the world stage with a reputation for bad smells, streaky-orange color, splotchy patches and stained clothing.  The great news is, those days are long gone!  Self-tanners use DHA, a sugar that safely darkens skin.  So don't stress out about chemicals.  There are a ton of very natural ingredient based products for you to try. 


When DHA was first used, the formula wasn't exactly right; hence all the streaky-orange issues.  Nowadays beauty brands have perfected their formulas and come up with a slew of amazing options to not only have your skinned looking like bronzed perfection, but many products have added benefits like smoothing cellulite, repairing sun damaged skin, SPF coverage and more.

After months of research, reading reviews and picks from beauty editors, as well as trying a slew of self tanning products myself, I've finally compiled the definitive list of the best self-tanning products on the market.  


Self tanning products come in 4 basic categories:

Gradual tanners, Instant tanners, Spray / Mists, and Towelettes.


We've included the most highly rated, tried and tested products for each of these categories in our list.  Some of my favorites are at the high end price wise, and some of my very favorite products are amazingly inexpensive, and available at you local Target or CVS.  



Check out my list of top rated tanning products...




Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer



This gradual self-tanner has been on the top of so many beauty lists, and has won multiple awards for  many years now.  It is still one of the best self tanners on the market


Don't let the great price of only $10 fool you - this product delivers one of the most natural, hydrated, glowing tans you can get.  It falls into the category of a gradual tanner because you apply it like a moisturizer everyday, and your tan will develop slowly over several days.  I love this product because it's inexpensive, easy to use, you can buy it at any drug store, and it smells nice.


$10 at Target




St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse


This mousse is a top seller at the high end of the self-tanning market.  It gets hundreds of positive reviews and is a top-rated bestseller at Amazon, Sephora and Ulta. 


It's easy to use because it's a mousse.  It takes a few hours to notice your tan, but when it shows up it's nothing short of tropical island beachy perfection.

$44 at Sephora










Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads


Dr. Dennis Gross has a whole line of exfoliation and skin refining pads that are one of Sephora's bestsellers.  The pads do amazing things for your skin.  I order them regularly - and they leave my skin glowing.


Now you can get the same facial pads that are a two-in-one self-tanner and 
skin perfector.  These little gems contain alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids which exfoliate your skin, tightens pores and helping to reduce sun spots. 


With just one swipe you can achieve skin perfection and get a beautiful glow.  What's not to love about that!


$38 at Sephora






Supergoop Healthy Glow Sunless Tan SPF 40


The Supergoop brand is well known for it's popular, non-toxic sunscreens.  Now they have created an amazing product that combines an SPF 40 sunscreen with a self tanner.  It's a spray on  product, which goes on clear and develops a golden glow in a few hours. 


I love this product because your skin is protected from the sun while after you put it on.  

$38 at Sephora











Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion



Banana Boat product always remind me of summer since they have that lovely cocunut scent. 


Now Banana Boat has an easy to apply self-tanning lotion that not only smells lovely, it also creates a golden tan without the sun in a few hours after application.  At $7 it's a price tag you have to love.


$7 at Target










Isle of Paradise - Self-Tanning Water


There is a new concept among tanning products deemed, 'clear self-tanners' because the formulas are designed not to stain clothing and fabrics.  This product is a clear self-tanner that looks and feels like a light toner.  You apply it just like you would a lotion - gently rubbing it into your skin, and a few hours later, you'll look like you spent a day on the beach.  

$28 at Sephora









St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist


St. Tropez is known for it's stellar line of tanning products.   A lot celebrities have been using their line of self-tanners for years now.  Now they offer a clear, no-mess formula that doubles as a cooling face mist.   If you're looking for the perfect face bronzer that won't clog pores or feel to heavy, this is the product for you.

$30 at Sephora










L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hyrdrating Self-Tanning Milk



This lotion is a gradual self-tanning product that can deliver really dark color depending on how often you use it.  You apply a little of it everyday and after a few days you will notice your beautifully even glow.  If you want it to be darker you just keep applying it for a few more days.  It lasts for a while, which is great.  When you see it starting to fade, you just apply a little bit more every week or so. 


It also contains Vitamin E so it softens skin and leaves your body looking smooth and evenly toned.

$14 at Walgreens






Beauty By Earth Self Tanner


One of Amazons best selling self-tanners, this lotion gets rave reviews from users.  It's made with all natural ingredients and reviewers love the light coconut fragrance.  It's a gradual tanner that allows you to control the level of tan you get, depending on how often you apply it.  If you are looking for a more natural formula with a nice scent, this may be just the right product for you.

$28 on Amazon









Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion


Australian Gold is a gold standard so to speak, when it comes to sun-care brands.  Aussies know how to do sun care right.


This lovely self-tanning lotion contains kakadu plum, which is a vitamin C power packed ingredient that helps keep your skin looking young and firm as well as shea butter, to keep your tan looking fresh for days.

The formula also includes caffeine for a firming, energizing skin boost.

$14 on Amazon






L'Oréal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes



I love this towelettes from L'Oréal's Sublime because they are so easy to use. You need about 2 towelettes to cover your whole body with the tanning formula. The best thing about them is how fast they dry and before you know it your skin has an amazingly natural tanned glow. 


$9 at











Tarte Brazilliance PLUS+ Self-Tanner




You can get this best seller from Ulta and it also comes with a handy mitt to prevent any tan marks on your hands.  It also contains ingredients to exfoliate and moisturize your skin, which helps prevent any kind of streaking or patchy color.  If you are looking for that 'just spent two weeks on a tropical island' kind of tan, this is the product for you.  

$39 at Ulta









Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer


If you love Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer that you apply in the shower - you will love this new version with an adding benifit of self-tanning.  It feels like baby oil when you appy it to your wet skin right after you shower.  You just pat your skin dry with a towel and your done.  It's super easy, and just like the originial formula, it leaves your skin ultra-soft and hydrated.  I kind of think of this one as the lazy girl self-tanner since it's so easy to use.  It's also a 'clear tanner' which means it doesn't stain towels or clothing.   It's just the kind of easy to use, perfectly hydrating tanned skin product that you are looking for.   

I give this product 5 stars!


$9 at




Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiance Gradual Tanner & Body Lotion



This creamy lotion is a wonderful moisturizer and also delivers a gradual tan over a few days after use.  It's a perfect everyday lotion to apply after you shower to acheive a nice even tan and keep your skin hydrated.  

$11 at Target



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