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Looking for the best self tanner for beginners? We’ve got you. If you’re over dangerous tanning beds and costly salon spray tans, it’s time to explore the world of self tanners — and get it right the first time. If you want that instant (or gradual) bronze without a streaky mess, stick with Us!
Which Self Tanners Are Best for Beginners?
The answer to this can definitely vary based on your skin tone, your desired look and how fast you want results, which is why we’re listing a huge variety of products below. In general, however, you might want to start with something gradual or less intense until you get the hang of things. You could even go for something totally temporary. Self tanning can get tricky if you go too dark or permanent and put too much on your knees, for example!
How to Apply Self Tanner Properly
There are definitely some expert tips you’ll want to know right away. First, you should always exfoliate your skin for a clean, even base before tanning. Another tip is to make sure you’re not missing any less obvious spots, such as your ears, your armpits, your neck or even the backs of your hands. Anther tip is to start down at your feet and work your way up to avoid streakiness! Of course, another hot tip is to use a tanning mitt like this majorly popular one for a flawless tan!
Ready to find your go-to for this summer and all of the months and years after that? Check out 17 of the best we picked below!
17 Best Self Tanners
Our Pick for Best Self Tanner: St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
This clear, streak-free mist can be used under or over makeup for a natural glow that may last for days. Thanks to its antioxidant properties and ingredients like fresh green mandarin water, it might just become a key part of your skincare routine too. And hey, none of that chemical smell you can’t stand!
Self Tanner for Face: Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
This tanning concentrate may look small, but it’s mighty. Simply add a few drops to your serum, moisturizer or face oil for a glorious tan. We’re talking Triple Tan Technology here for nourished, natural radiance. Reviewers say they “couldn’t recommend this more” and that they now have a “perfect bronzed glow”!
Self Tanner for Legs: Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish
If you’ve ever been stuck wearing pants in 90-degree weather because of a terrible tan you couldn’t remove, this is the body bronzer for you. It rinses off, so that fear of commitment is gone. The hydration will stick around though — this self tanner has moisture-locking technology that lasts up to 72 hours!
Self Tanner for Face and Body: Fake Bake Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum
Many beauty lovers out there swear that coconut oil was the one ingredient that changed their skin for the better, and that’s the power ingredient in this anti-aging face and body tanner! Don’t forget about the hyaluronic acid too. Because this tanner is naturally derived, it claims to not turn skin orange, leave a bad odor or stain your clothes!
Gradual Self Tanner: COOLA Organic Gradual Sunless Tan Sculpting Mousse
You can’t go wrong with COOLA. As one reviewer said, “COOLA is the best and this product confirms my opinion.” This gradual tanner is already unique thanks to its mousse formula, but it gets even better from there when you realize it has ingredients like green coffee extracts to contour and firm up the skin. It’s made with 70%+ certified organic ingredients too!
Instant Self Tanner: Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel
Not wasting any time? You’ll want to try out this instant tanner from Clarins. This non-oily gel tanner has aloe vera and shea butter to keep skin soothed and smooth in the sun, and it dries fast so you can get dressed just a few minutes after application!
Self Tanner for Acne-Prone Skin: Suntegrity Staycation – Botanical Bronzing Shimmer Serum
This luminous bronzing serum is made for all skin types, including sensitive and blemish/acne-prone. It even has a gorgeous shimmer to it so you can truly sparkle in the sun without needing to cover up any dots or spots you would rather not show off!
Self Tanner for Dark Skin Tones: KKW Beauty Skin Perfecting Body Foundation
KKW Beauty, also known as Kim Kardashian‘s beauty line, is well known for its inclusive shade range. This tanner comes in numerous deep shades for naturally darker skin tones. It’s also made to blur imperfections and soften skin while smelling lightly of vanilla and coconut. Shoppers say they “swear by this stuff”!
Self Tanner for Fair Skin Tones: Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam
Bondi Sands is easily a favorite among influencers, and we can see why. Getting an even tan is so easy with this professional-grade tanning foam, and it comes in a light/medium shade for those of us with fairer skin. It’s made to give you “the ultimate Australian tan in minutes,” and we have no complaints about that!
Cruelty-Free Self Tanner: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops
These cruelty-free tanning drops are vegan, organic and hypoallergenic, free of toxins, gluten, mineral oils and more. They are also a total fan-favorite with over 1,300 reviews. Shoppers say they “wake up with a soft glow” after using them and that they are a “must-have for an even all-over tan”!
Self Tanner That Also Fights Cellulite: Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Self Tanner Mousse
This natural DHA tanning mousse is made with the brand’s Cellushape technology. It’s infused with raw virgin coconuts, botanicals, amino acids, fruit extracts and cocoa to potentially hydrate skin, blur pigmentation and stretch marks and provide anti-aging, anti-cellulite benefits!
Self Tanner That Will Fit Any Budget: Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion
For just $10, we’d recommend this clean tanning lotion to just about anyone. It has plenty of fans and a beautiful ingredient list featuring shea butter, sweet almond oil and safflower oil — and no gluten, parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances!
Self Tanning Stick for a Mess-Free Application: Curb Appeal Beauty THE Tan Stick
It almost looks like a stick of deodorant, but this tanning stick is actually a dye-free, mess-free way to a sunless yet sun-kissed glow. It goes on clear and claims to exfoliate skin as you apply using both microdermabrasion and glycolic acid!
Luxurious Self Tanner: Sisley-Paris Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skin Care
Want every self tanning session to feel like a trip to the spa? The fancy, moisturizing cream is the perfect pick for adding to your facial skincare routine. It contains stunning ingredients like hibiscus flower extract and alpine rose extract!
Self Tanning Oil for Dry Skin: Tan-Luxe Wonder Oil
If you have dry skin, you don’t want to risk your self tanner clinging to dry patches. That’s why we suggest an oil like this one, which may hydrate for up to 48 hours at a time. We love the cooling rollerball applicator too!
Clean Self Tanner for Sensitive Skin: jane iredale Tantasia Self Tanner and Bronzer
If you try to stick strictly to clean beauty to avoid any negative reactions, this self tanner may be the one for you. It claims to build up a beautiful tan within three days while vitamin E nourishes the skin and glycerin adds some glow!
Temporary Self Tanner for a Day-Long Bronze: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
If you don’t want to commit to a face tan — especially if you’re not sure how it’ll turn out — try something like this bronzing cream instead that you can just wash off at the end of the day and reapply as needed. It’s non-comedogenic and has a lovely, velvety finish!
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