8 Best Self Tanners—Ranked

Shop the 8 products that pass our test.

By Taylor Stephan, Carolin Lehmann Jul 10, 2020 12:00 PMTags
E-Comm: Best Self-TannersE! Illustration

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When the weather surpasses 80 degrees, we're suddenly all too aware of our pasty winter thighs. Hear us out: There's absolutely nothing wrong with showing off your beautiful porcelain skin, but everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to baring their midriffs, shoulders and legs come spring. If you're into being tan, don't suffer the damage of the sun—or worse yet, tanning beds—and look into self tanners instead.

We get it: You don't want to end up looking orange like an Oompa Loompa by forgoing a professional spray tan. But the good news is we're kind of self-tanning experts around here. It's no secret that lots of products on the market aren't great, but we do know of some standouts. The top performers approved by us are ranked below.

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8. St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse

These days, who's not in a hurry? If you're in a pinch and need a little color ASAP, this will be your new BFF. All you have to do is wait an unprecedented one hour before showering it off. Can we get an amen?

7. Tan Towel Full Body Tan Self-Tan Towelettes

We've been using these tan towels for years, and what we love most about 'em is how portable they are. If you're going away on vacay, these are easy to pack and are mess-free. They're also ideal for quick touch-ups here and there.

6. b.tan Just Act Natural Self Tanning Water

If you're on a budget, this paraben-free, vegan-friendly and 100% natural DHA product from b.tan is our favorite buy. A clear solution mousse that doesn't have any bronzers that will rub off on your clothes or furniture, this coconut water and vitamin E-enriched tanning water gives a natural looking tan that will begin to develop in an hour. Just Act Natural will leave your skin about two shades darker after it is fully developed.

5. Kora Organics Gradual Self-Tanning Lotion

We're big fans of Miranda Kerr's all-natural skincare line, so we were beyond excited to try the brand's gradual self-tanning lotion. It's a subtler color, but it's also super moisturizing, so a win-win in our book.

4. Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in Dark

All the Australian babes we follow on Instagram swear by this brand. We gave it a try and the color is extra dark, but in a good way. All you're missing is a bikini and that Aussie sun!

3. Vita Liberata Invisi Mousse Foaming Tan Water in Super Dark

This clear formula surprisingly develops into a nice, deep bronze, and we're here for it. It's also appreciated that it's crafted with organic botanicals and hyaluronic acid, so that it's hydrating and beneficial to your skin at the same time.


2. James Read Sleep Mask Tan Body

Around here we love any beauty product you can sleep in. This overnight body gel-serum from James Read gradually develops while you snooze. It's subtle, but if you use it one to two times a week, you're golden—literally.

1. Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

If you ask us, these self-tan drops are truly revolutionary. Depending on how dark you want to go, you mix a few drops into your go-to moisturizer or body oil. It doesn't hurt that the formula is packed with nourishing raspberry seed oil and vitamin E either, as well as Tan-Luxe's Cellutone Complex, which firms your skin.



Looking to pamper your skin some more? Check out the oils you should add to your beauty routine and these amazing clean beauty masks.

—Originally published April 7, 2019 at 3 a.m. PT