Best Self-Tanners

Since fake baking in a tanning bad and too much exposure in the real sun both have tons of negative consequences, sunless tanners are a great alternative to get that glow we all want.  But after seeing some self tanner mishaps (like Lindsay Lohan’s orange hands), the whole process can seem quite intimidating. None of us want to look like Snooki or Hulk Hogan.

I wrote earlier about how to apply self-tanner, so check that post out if you need a little “push”. I promise it’s easy if you choose the right product and take your time. So whether you want a year-round glow or are looking to go a few shades darker for a special event, here are some of the best products I’ve found.


best self tanners

(1) L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Lotion- $8.49– This is my favorite self-tanning product to date. I love that the product comes out dark so you can see where you are applying it and if you missed any spots. This lotion does contain glitter, which is a bit weird- but I promise that it fades within a few hours or after a simple shower the next morning.

(2) Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes- $48.00– If you’re not a pro at using the sprays or lotions, tanning towelettes may be a good choice for you. They are easy to apply and this specific brand is made without sulfates and synthetic dyes, so that’s a major plus. Kate Somerville products are a bit on the expensive side, but are SO worth it!

(3) NARS Body Glow- $59.00– This is actually a bronzing oil more than a self tanner. The oil adds moisture to your skin while giving you a little bit of color and shine. This works best on medium skin tones, so it’s best to have some color already before applying.

(4) Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer– $8.69- I used to be a strict user of this until I found the L’Oreal formula above to last longer. They’ve gotten rid of the chemical-y scent from years past, so if that turned you off you should give it another try.

(5) St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse- $32.00– This sunless tanner shows up on every “Best Self Tanner” list I’ve seen in magazines or online, and there’s a reason. The mousse formula is super easy to apply and dries in “60 seconds” after application.

(6) Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion– $23.00- This option is great for women with sensitive or oily skin (it’s oil-free!) The formula is tinted as well, so you can see if you missed any spots. Many users report of a slight scent, but the payoff is worth it.

(7) Neutrogena Micro Mist Tanning Sunless Spray– $8.89 I’m not that great at applying sprays, but those who are should try this. If you’re used to using spray sunscreen, this formula is very similar. Other features include a great price, no scent and a light mist application.


  1. I honestly have been looking for a great self tanner. Since L’Oreal is your favorite, I might just try that one. Thanks, Rachel!

    1. It takes a bit to get used to applying it and whatnot (and getting over the fact that the glitter DOES wash off), but I love the staying power of the color!

  2. I’ve been looking for a new self tanner, so this post is really helpful! I’ve used the Jergen’s for years and like it, but sometimes a girl just needs a change. 🙂

  3. My sister just came back so dark from college (lucky girl goes to school on a beach) guess trying a tanner wouldn’t hurt for family photos! Thank you for this write up! Hah hope it makes me feel like I am in St. Tropez too.

  4. I’ve used the Loreal Sublime bronze one but it didn’t compare to an airbrush tan I had. Too bad I can’t afford those on a regular basis! Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. I have been using Jergens forever and I like it because it really does work for me! But it doesn’t show up dark, so you have been to REALLY good at rubbing it in and making sure to cover all areas. For the same price though, I might need to try the Loreal one! Thanks for this list!

    1. If you find what works- stick to it I say! haha I’d love to use some of the more expensive ones, but I usually end up at the drugstore

      1. I know me too! I really have wanted to try the Tropez one, but at the same time, if I’m happy with an 8 dollar version, then I guess I don’t really want to spend 32 😉

        1. St. Tropez is amazing Rachel! It’s the only self tanner I’ll use now. I know it’s a little more expensive but mine lasted me a long time! If you ever feel like splurging, it’s the only self tanner I’d recommend!

        2. Thanks Jen! You might have just given me that extra push to give it a try! I know I read your review on it 🙂 Now that you and Rachel are recommending it I will most definitely need to try it out!

  6. The jergens makes a good one for fair skin and you can just apply a little bit for a little color. The more times you apply, the darker it gets!

  7. I use the NARS Body Glow religiously on my legs during the summer. It’s so gorgeous and it smells amazing. And I love that at the end of the day, it washes right off. 🙂

  8. I absolutely love St. Tropez! I used it leading up to my wedding last year and it was the most natural self tanner I’ve ever tried. Since it’s a mouse it goes on extremely easily and is streak free. You apply it with a mitten so there’s no worry about staining your hands and it gives you an instant deep, natural looking tan – and this is coming from someone who is very fair skinned! I wouldn’t recommend anything else to my friends!

  9. I swear by the Jergens Natural Glow because I am fair so I can build up. Maybe I’ll try the L’Oreal brand next. Do you think it would be too dark for fair skin?

    1. I’m pretty fair-skinned and it’s fine on me. Again, you can do a light coat at first and then apply to get your desired color. So you can pretty much prevent it from being too dark/orange

  10. I’m going to have to try the first one, love that it’s your Fav and that it’s so inexpensive.

  11. I’ve used Jergens and the L’oreal. Question for you. How often do you use it? You build it up for a few days and then take a break and apply again every few days? I just find that to be a hard balance between it fading and getting blotchy and having too much on.

    1. Yes! I apply the Loreal one for 2-3 days straight to get a nice color. Then it lasts for like 3-4 days after that so I don’t need to apply it during those days. Then usually when I see it start to fade/get splotchy, I exfoliate and remove all the color myself and repeat the process again. I mainly only use it for weekends or events, I don’t use self tanner 24/7. Hope that helped a bit!

      1. Oh wow! I didn’t know you could exfoliate it all off yourself. It never seems to come all off for me.

  12. St. Tropez is pretty awesome! Except I haven’t tried the mousse. But it gives GREAT color – but maybe washes off too quickly, as I may have mentioned before!

  13. Great round up! I have tried the Jergens and it was ok, but didn’t give me much color. I personally use Tan Towels and I really like them.

  14. It took me a while, but I finally shook my fake-and-bake habit. Lovely pics, Nivea’s gradual tanner is really great as well.

  15. I love the jergens esp now that they have gotten rid of that horrid smell-and the kate sommerville is my fave for my face! Gotta get that glow minus the cancer 🙂

  16. This is so helpful. I tried self tanner once but it was so sparkly that I never tried it again. But hmmm maybe I should try the other ones you mentioned!

  17. im coming from penniless socialite! I LOVE million dollar tan right now. My legs look perfect and not that dreaded orange color!! I will have to check out the rest of these tanners too!

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