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Get Vacation Ready with the Best Self-Tanners

You might have been extra-wary of the effects of the convenient self-tanner due to the number of celebrities who fell prey to self-tanning mishaps. Now, there are ways in which you can prevent this from happening. So how can you achieve a sun-kissed, I-just-went-back-from-the-Bahamas look that is just right for your skin tone? Thru careful prep and high-quality self-tanning products, of course. For the essentials on effective self-tanners, do check out this guide.

Buyers Guide

  1. What are the benefits of using a self-tanner?

    Answer: Self-tanners are a very convenient way to achieve a summery tan. It comes in lots of formula variants from sprays, lotions, oils, drops, mousses and serums. But its primary advantage is that it reduces one’s exposure to sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing. Due to the stiff competition among self-tanner products, lots of companies began producing effective formulas that will make the whole process easier to deal with, with even better results. These days, self-tanners with streak-free formulas abound. You will also find products that contain no phthalates and chemical additives. Self-tanners that will not stain clothing and bed sheets are also available. Applied correctly, you can have a tan that suits your skin tone.

  2. How do you prepare your body before self-tanning?

    Answer: To guarantee an even, streak-free tan, it is advised that you should exfoliate your skin the morning or evening prior to the procedure. Self-tanners have an ingredient called DHA or dihydroxyacetone—this one is responsible for tanning the skin’s outermost layers. This is why exfoliation is an important part of the tanning process—scrubbing your skin gently will remove dead skin and in turn, lead to a more even tan. Use a loofah to exfoliate or use a refined body scrub—steer clear of salt or sugar scrubs since these products often leave a greasy residue. This greasy residue will sit on top of the skin and prevent the tanner from getting absorbed by your skin. You also need to shave your legs if you are planning on applying self-tanner on it. Shower with warm water and remove all traces of dead skin with gentle soap.

  3. How do you apply self-tanner properly?

    Answer: Do not use your hands to apply self-tanner. For a smooth and even application, always use a mitt for the job. The mitt will deliver a uniform finish without the streaks. Create sweeping motions as you apply the stuff to evenly distribute the tanner on your skin. To prevent the self-tanner from leaking through the mitt and staining your hands, better wear a pair of latex gloves first.

Our Top Picks


Skinerals Californium Self Tanner Mousse

  • Natural tan without streaks and blotches
  • Quick drying, light, non-greasy mousse
  • Cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, vegan
  • Made in the USA

Skinerals Californium is a green-based self tanning mousse that was designed to counteract the reddish tones in skin in order to give the perfect, natural-looking bronze glow. As a light mousse, the formula is quick-drying and never greasy. We recommend using a microfiber tanning mitt to apply the product in the evening, and then showering in the morning to start your day with a beautiful, even tan! Californium uses as many natural and organic ingredients as possible and is cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, and vegan. Ingredients such as Acai Berry and Fig Extracts are integrated into the formula to reduce the appearance of blemishes and help keep the skin looking youthful. Skinerals is proud to be an American company and Californium is made right here in the USA.


Avene Eau Thermale Moisturizing Self-Tanning Silky Gel

  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula
  • Ideal for all skin tones
  • Has patented Pre-Tocopheryl and triglycerides
  • Contains DHA for a natural tan

The Avene Eau Thermale Moisturizing Self-Tanning Silky Gel will not only provide a golden tan that’s free from streaks and grease, it will also make sure that your skin will stay hydrated during the process. The formula has DHA for a natural golden finish, patented Pre-Tocopheryl for antioxidant protection plus glycerin and triglycerides for keeping skin moisturized and supple. The formula is also suitable for all skin tones and has a nice, pleasing fragrance.


Golden Star Beauty Self Tanner for Face

  • 100% streak-free
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Formula has USDA-certified oils and extracts
  • Made in the U.S.A

The Golden Star Beauty Self Tanner for Face is your key to a subtle, healthy vacation-bronzed skin. This sunless tanner will never leave your skin orange and instead, deliver a tint that rightfully suits your skin tone. Formula will not streak, is non-comedogenic and has USDA-approved extracts and oils that benefit your skin—it contains aloe vera extracts, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and free from dyes, gluten and parabens. Formula is very vegan-friendly too.


L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Water Mousse

  • Gives skin a natural glow
  • Ultra-lightweight water mousse formula
  • Enriched with vitamin E and coconut water
  • Fragrant botanical coconut scent

The beguiling scent of the L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Water Mousse will instantly take you to the beach—its rich, moisturizing yet super-lightweight water mousse formula is blended with the delicious fragrances of tropical leaves and coconut. To keep your skin hydrated, this mousse is packed with vitamin E and authentic coconut water too. Let the color develop for 4 to 8 hours and if you want a tan that lasts a little longer, apply the tanner 3X over a period of 12-24 hours.


Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse

  • Helps create a gradual natural-looking tan
  • Airy self-tanner mousse formula
  • Dries within 60 seconds
  • Has fruity tropical fragrance

Forget about looking like an orange dipped in chocolate—the Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse allows for gradual tanning that looks very natural and completely streak-free. It has a lightweight mousse formula which improves your skin’s natural skin tone to replicate sun-based tanning results. The formula is tinted so you can conveniently check areas where you have applied it—this means application is more accurate, uniform and free from streaks.


Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

  • Has natural ingredients
  • Not tested on animals
  • Gives natural-looking tan
  • Has organic shea butter and coconut oil

The Beauty by Earth Self Tanner effectively gives a bronzed look in just a week’s use, minus the streaks and the chemical additives. The formula is a blend of nourishing, premium natural ingredients for tanning that’s even safe for sensitive skin and the environment. It has a buildable formula which lets you create the right tan color which nicely complements your skin. It’s not tested on animals and does not have chemical-based additives, phthalates and parabens.


Nu Skin Sunright Insta Glow

  • Creates an instant bronzed finish
  • Tan appears within half an hour
  • Has minimal fragrance
  • Absorbs fast to prevent streaks

The Nu Skin Sunright Insta Glow will provide your skin a sunny, bronzed radiance without subjecting yourself under the lamp or the sun’s harmful rays. It contains DHA for a natural-looking finish and the formula is gentle enough for the face. The no-drip formula gives a nice golden tan that is right for your skin tone fast—see results after 30 minutes. Contains vitamin and avocado oils, with less DHA odors.

The best self-tanners guarantee a tan that is natural, will suit your original skin tone and has moisturizers and beneficial ingredients which can help nurture your skin during the process. This list includes worthy products that we know are too interesting to pass up.