14 Best Self Tanners So You Can Glow

Each product has been independently selected by our editorial team. We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability and retailer terms.
best self tanner
Courtesy of Vita Liberata

Spending lots of time indoors gives you plenty of opportunities to indulge in self-care -- but it can also leave you slightly paler than you'd like to be. If you're not venturing outside too much and are longing for your usual summery faux glow, the answer lies in a quality self tanner.

While self tanner has a reputation for being tricky to apply -- it can end up developing unevenly, in streaks or outrageously orange -- certain products make it easier than others.

These days, sunless tanners come in tons of formulas: spray mist, mousse, serum, lotion, towelettes and even double-duty tinted moisturizer. Just choose the one that you're already most comfortable applying (we love a good airbrush-like mist), give yourself a thorough body scrub to slough off dead skin cells, dry your skin completely and then follow the instructions on your chosen bottle.

A few tips: If you have any dry spots from head to toe, dab a bit of moisturizer on them before you apply self tanner. No matter what sunless tanning product you use, wash your hands immediately after applying. (Trust.) And give yourself extra time to let it all dry -- don't rush to do this an hour before you head to the park.

Below, the best self-tanner products to keep you glowing year-round.

The Organic Pharmacy
The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan
The Organic Pharmacy
The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan is not only $8.40, if you order one you will get two for the price of one (while supplies last).

St. Tropez
Well-loved tanning line St. Tropez's Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mist is indeed a classic product for achieving a natural glow. It's lightweight, oil-free and goes on evenly, plus the bottle lasts seemingly forever. Give it up to eight hours to develop into the perfect-for-you shade.

Tarte's limited edition self-tanning mousse is infused with moisturizing ingredients like aloe, coconut oil and avocado to leave your skin with a totally nourished bronze glow. Apply evenly with the Tarte Application Mitt (to avoid bronzing your palms), give the color up to two hours to develop and then rinse. For a tan on-the-go, opt for the travel size version.

Looking for a more gradual glow? ESPA's innovative self-tan face concentrate works with your skin's biochemistry to produce a natural-looking bronze for your skin tone. Get a subtle look by mixing one or two pumps into your daily moisturizer; to kick it up a notch, apply a few pumps directly to your face, neck and décolleté. Use the code EXPLORE for 15% off your purchase.

Bioderma Photoderm Self-Tanner
A mist opportunity! Bioderma's entire Photoderm line adapts to various skin types, and this moisturizing, self-tanning mist was designed for sensitive skin. Take 15% off with promo code EXPLORE.

This indulgent tanning lotion from Clarins contains moisturizing aloe and cocoa bean extract. Satisfied shoppers rave about its delicious scent, ease of application and lack of streaks in its wake.

The Tan-Luxe THE BUTTER Illuminating Tanning Butter is what to use as a self-tanner if you are looking for a glittery, shimmery self-tan.  This formula also claims to combat cellulite.  

Vita Liberata
This three-piece tan set is like sun-kissed bliss in a box. You'll get Vita Liberata's moisturizing gradual tan lotion, fast-drying bronzing mousse and tanning mitt. 

COOLA Sunless Tan Body Dry Oil Mist is a self tanner leaves zero mess and is streak free. This body mist is organic and smells lovely like piña colada.  This product allows you to stay tan for 3 days, so it is short acting yet looks lovely instantly.

James Read
The James Read Coconut Melting Tanning Balm for the face and body gradually allows your self-tan to come alive in 6-8 hours. The best part of this self-tanner is the smell. Since this formula is made with a coconut oil base this is by far the best smelling self-tanner we've seen (or smelled).

L'Oreal Paris
Six tanning towelettes for under 10 bucks sounded like a deal that couldn't be beat, and then we learned this hack: If you only want to add some glow to your face, cut each towelette in half so you get double the usage. (They were made to use on your whole body, so they're big enough to be rationed like this.)

The color in this budget-friendly mousse develops nearly instantly (in under a minute!), meaning it's the perfect choice for anyone short on time. It comes in two shades, Light Bronze and Deep Bronze, and will continue to deepen in color for a couple of hours after applying. Note: This has a stronger scent than other sunless tanning products we've tried.

Tan Luxe
Look tan and feel hydrated with this body treatment formulated with hyaluronic acid, caffeine and antioxidant-rich superfoods. Apply up to six pumps of this serum per body area, then massage into skin with circular motions.

Clarins' Self Tanning Instant Gel is a a mistake-proof self tanning gel for your face and body.

Each product has been selected, and each product’s style has been reviewed by our editorial team; however, we may receive affiliate commissions from some links to products on this page. Prices listed are subject to change by the retailer. Promotions in this article are subject to availability, expiration and other terms as determined by partner.


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