Best Self Tanner – Tanning Products to give you the perfect summer glow! 

My natural shade is somewhere between fair and ghostly. After hiding indoors for waaaaay too long I’ve become blindingly pale again. Now that we are approaching spring and looking forward to the summer months ahead, I need some color!

You won’t catch me catching any real rays though. I slather on sunscreen religiously to protect myself from skin cancer. And because I’m getting older and trying to keep the wrinkles at bay.

So self tanning is a great way to get the look of a golden glow without the harmful side effects of sun damage. Through trial and error I’ve learned how to apply sunless tanner and which brands really work. After trying out the most popular products recommend by blogger / influencers and highly-rated on Amazon, these are the best:

Best Self Tanner - Sunless Tanning Products from drugstore to luxury, lotions to drops, face and body

Best Self Tanner

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam  (shop ULTA)  (shop Amazon)
The overall winner, this favorite among beauty influencers gives you great color that lasts. The mousse formula goes on easily and begins to develop quickly. The directions say to leave on for at least one hour before showering, up to 6 hours for a long-lasting darker tan. You can also re-apply 30 minutes after inital application for deeper color.


After one hour my skin is a nice, natural looking olive tone. When I leave it on for 5 to 6 hours it deepens into a much darker bronze. It’s a very noticeable difference, great if you are trying to achieve a dark tan.


The key to no streaks is starting with clean, exfoliated, lotion free skin. Use a tanning mitt and be sure to rub the mousse in well. I go easy on  dry areas like my elbows, knees and ankles.

Of all the self tanners I’ve tried this one smells the best. It has a coconut scent that’s pleasant, not too overwhelming.

I love that it gives me a “you’ve been on vacation” tan that doesn’t look orange or streaky. I also love that the color lasts for several days.

Best Inexpensive Self Tanner / Best Drugstore Self Tanner

Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Self Tanner     (shop Walmart) (shop Amazon)

This tanning lotion is known for it’s natural looking glow and ease of use. I’ve used Jergens for years and love that it gives a touch of color without looking too dramatic. It’s easy to apply after I shower and the moisturizing formula makes my skin feel soft. The subtle color develops gradually and gets noticeably darker after 2 to 3 days.

It comes in two color options – Fair to Medium or Dark.

While it is mostly streak-free I have noticed color build up around my knees and ankles if I’m not careful to apply lightly to those areas.

Scent wise it does have a slight smell until you wash.

Best Instant Self Tanner

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse (shop Walmart) (shop Amazon)

Another great drugstore self tanner, but this one gives you more instant color. The Jergens Mousse is lightweight and drys quicker. You’ll see color as soon as you apply it and tan deepens over several hours.

The deep bronze color truly gives you a dark tan color quickly. I also like the tropical scent!

Sunless Tanning Drops

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops  (shop Amazon) (shop Sephora)

The wonderful thing about tanning drops is that you can customize your color easily. With Isle of Paradise drops you add 1 to 12 drops to your moisturizer, mix and apply to skin. The more drops you use the deeper and darker your tan.

The color is more on the peachy side than the dark brown I get from using the Bondi Sands, but it’s a very natural color that I like to use year round. During the winter months when I want a touch of color I use these.


Self Tanner for Face

I also like using the Isle of Paradise drops mixed with my face moisturizer. It creates a very natural color that’s perfect for a pretty glow.

My other go-to for face tanner is St. Tropez Purity Bronzing Face Mist. It’s an Allure Beauty winner and gives you a beautiful sun-kissed color. (shop Sephora)

Self Tanning Mitt

Yvoier Self Tanning Mitt Applicator Kit  (shop Amazon) comes with exfoliating glove, tan mitt and applicators for face and back.

Self Tanner Walmart

I have to note that Walmart has really expanded the line of products they sell. I’ve found that many of my favorite makeup and beauty products I can order online from Walmart for much less than other places and get free shipping.

Sunless Tanning Near Me

If you want a golden glow but don’t feel comfortable applying it yourself, there’s always the spray tan. Find an airbrush tan salon near you or search for in-home air brush tanning services that will come to your house and tan you.

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Best Self Tanner - Sunless Tanning Products from drugstore to luxury, lotions to drops, face and body


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