Over the years, self-tanners have improved vastly thanks to advances in product formulation that address issues like unnatural orangey casts (by using cooler tones and DHA), unpleasant scents (helped by superior odour-neutralising and masking fragrances), and streaking (better formulation bases such as lotions, creams, mousses, wipes, and mists that apply and spread seamlessly).
With choice comes confusion, though, and with so many sunless tanners on the market it can be tricky to make a selection. So, from gradual and rapid tanners to blurring, perfecting formulas, we’ve created this list of the 15 best self-tanning products available right now. Read on to find your new favourite self-tanner – and discover your glow!
How did we curate this list?
In selecting these 15 self-tanners, we considered online reviews, active ingredients, and price point. All products listed are highly rated by people who have purchased them. We also made sure that most contain natural ingredients.
1. Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam
Topping our list of glow-tos is the Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam. Biased? Maybe. But the 5-star customer reviews don’t lie! Blurring pigmentation and perfecting the skin, our hydrating, no-nasties formula has zero telltale fake tan smell – in fact, it smells unBalieavably good. It’s also lightweight, non-sticky and fast-drying, with 3 gorgeous shades and a handy guide colour for an even, streak-free finish – every single time.
2. St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez is super well known in the self-tanning industry, and it got its glowing rep for good reason. With a formula that allows you to control the depth of your colour, you can go from a subtle glow to a deep all-over tan in just a few hours. Like Sunny Honey, this bronzing mousse is tinted, which helps you see exactly where you’ve applied it. And which pasty parts need more attention.
3. L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk
We all love a beauty multi-tasker, and L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze Hydrating Tanning Milk delivers an even, bronzed glow while also softening and nourishing the skin. Use alone as a gradual self-tanner, or apply in between tanning applications to maintain your glow.
4. Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance 2HR Express Deep Foaming Self-Tanner
5. Tan Luxe Super Glow Body Serum
If subtle is the way you roll, Tan-Luxe’s Super Glow Body Serum gradually deposits colour for a sun-kissed glow, rather than a deep bronzed look. Packed with nourishing hyaluronic acids and powerful superfoods, this product simultaneously promotes a soft and firm complexion. What’s not to love?
6. James Read Tan Click & Glow
7. Marc Jacobs Glow Away Bronzing Coconut Body Stick
A waterproof, all-over body bronzer, this little beauty is designed to blur the look of imperfections and make skin appear smoother, while delivering an instant natural glow. In a handy roll-on stick, it’s ideal for popping in your gym bag or glove box for those on-the-go glow ups.
8. Trish McEvoy Instant Solutions Tanning Drops
Nervous about tanning your face? Don’t be. These Instant Solutions Tanning Drops are designed to be added to any serum, oil or cream to create a custom self-tanner that’s formulated for your skin. After 4 hours, this product develops to leave a natural, all-over glow you’ll love.
9. VITA LIBERATA Fabulous Self Tanning Tinted Lotion
If you’re looking for a temporary self-tan that you can wash off at the end of the day, this one’s for you. Apply Vita Liberata’s tinted lotion and you’ll have them all fooled with a gorgeous, bronzed tan that lasts 4-8 glorious hours.
10. Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster
Skin looking dull? Give it a boost with Clarins’ Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster. This 99.8% natural self-tanning formula is designed to be used with a body lotion to provide an even, streak-free glow. Apply for a golden glow that builds gradually and lasts for days.
11. Tom Ford Bronzing Gel
Tom Ford’s Bronzing gel was developed to mimic the look of spending a few minutes in the sun – but think of it more as a makeup product than a true self-tanner. Water-based and oil-free, the luxe formula blends easily without masking your skin's natural beauty.
12. Coola Sunless Tan Luminizing Body Serum
Get that just-back-from-a-beach-holiday glow with Coola’s body serum. Instantly illuminating the skin for a shimmery, sun-kissed appearance, it develops into a buildable, natural-looking tan as it sits on the skin. This product is great for a temporary glow or for a beautiful, all-over tan – all year round.
13. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Gradual Glow Pad Self-Tanner for Face
If you’re looking for a mess-free face self-tanner, this product has your name on it. With a quick-drying formula designed to provide anti-ageing benefits, these Glow Pads ensure an even application and deliver a gorgeous, buildable glow.
14. South Seas Skincare Tahitian Tan Mist
Missed out when the natural tans were being handed out? No problem. The South Seas Tahitian Tan Mist creates a natural-looking tan in no time at all. Formulated to be streak-free and grease-free, the gentle mist will your skin bronzed without any unsightly residue. Result!
15. SOL by Jergens Sunless Tanning Deep Water Mousse
Sometimes perfection can’t be rushed, and this Sunless Tanning Deep Water Mousse is a gradual tanner that suits all skin types and tones. Long-lasting and dry-free, the formula works with your skin to imitate an authentic suntan without the need to leave the comfort of your couch.
How to apply a self-tanner?
How Long Does A Self Tanner Last?
When you apply self-tan, you’re naturally going to want it to last as long as possible. Generally self-tanning products last for around 7-10 days, but there ARE ways you can keep that glow going… and going! Check out our blog, How Do I Prolong My Sunny Honey Fake Tan? to learn more.
Are there different tanners for different body parts?
While most self-tanners can be applied to both the face and the body, some products are specifically formulated to be used only on the face. The skin on your face is much more delicate than the skin on your body, so facial tanning products, like our Bronzing Face Drops, are specially designed to be gentle on the skin while helping to build beautiful, believable, long-lasting colour.
Happy tanning, beauties!
Check out more tan guides & tips here!
Edited By: Pip Jarvis & Vidhya