The Best Self-Tanning Lotions for a Healthy Glow, According to Customer Reviewers
Summer is practically here, and if you're spending a lot of time indoors in an office or don't have access to a beach, it’s a time to invest in a great self-tanner that will let you fake it 'til you make it.
While there’s a multitude of self-tanning products available now, including oils, mousses, sprays, and mists, the classic self-tanning lotions have also come a long way—and they’re still one of the easiest and fastest ways to achieve a streak-free application.
Because there are so many self-tanning lotions out there, it can feel overwhelming to figure out which ones are actually worth buying. Instead of wasting money on options that will turn your skin orange, customers reveal exactly which ones will give you the sun-kissed glow of your dreams.
These top-rated self-tanners not only have an overwhelming amount of glowing reviews, but they also have thousands of perfect five-star ratings between them. From affordable drugstore self-tanners to super hydrating options, keep reading to see which self-tanning lotions shoppers love the most. (Related: How Celebs Get Healthy, Glowing Skin All Year Long)
Best Long-Lasting Option: Tanceuticals Self-Tanning Body Lotion
Looking for a self-tanner that lasts longer than a few days? Check out this option by Tanceuticals. Not only does the natural-looking glow last an entire week, but it won’t rub off on your sheets or clothing as other self-tanners do. More than 1,400 Amazon customers love that the cruelty-free formula doesn’t contain any artificial coloring and is filled with healthy ingredients for your skin, like vitamin E, mango butter, and acai berry.
Best for Face: Clinique Self Sun Face Tinted Lotion
This self-tanning lotion by Clinique is specially formulated to give your face a sun-kissed glow. The color slowly develops over a few hours and should last for up to three days at a time. The oil-free formula has been dermatologist- and allergist-tested, so it can be used on even the most sensitive skin.
“Been using this lotion for years and it’s the best!! So easy to apply, never streaks, and gives a beautiful bronzed color. Couldn’t live without it,” wrote one happy customer. (Related: New and Innovative Self-Tanners for Summer)
Best Drugstore Option: L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Lotion
A high-quality self-tanner that doesn’t break the bank? You’ve found it here with this lotion from L’Oreal Paris. The affordable product delivers a shimmering streak-free golden glow with every application.
One reviewer raved: “This product is great. The tan is not that normal weird orange color you get from self-tanners. It dries very quickly. It does have a subtle shimmer that washes off. You are left with a natural-looking tan that lasts for days, and at this price is well worth it. Excellent product.”
(Want more affordable picks? Here are Skin-Care Products Dermatologists Love At the Drugstore.)
Best for Fair Skin: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Body
If you have fair skin and are worried that a self-tanner will leave you looking orange or too dark, try this Jergens option. The subtle self-tanning lotion is formulated to enhance your natural skin tone so you are left with a natural-looking glow every single time. The self-tanner also works as a moisturizer, leaving your skin super soft and hydrated, and has over 1,000 glowing customer reviews. (Related: The Best Way to Apply Self-Tanner Based On Your Skin Tone)
Best for Gradual Results: St. Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body Lotion
In the market for a self-tanner that builds gradually? Check out this St. Tropez option. The tanning lotion is super easy to apply and won’t leave you sticky or streaky. The color gradually develops, and you can build up to a darker color by applying more than one layer at a time.
It has over 5,000 likes on Sephora's website, with one shopper saying, “I really wanted an easy lotion that would make me have a nice glow. This doesn't stain my hands and saw results after two days of use. This is perfect for me as I'm always in a hurry and don't have time to wait. Love!” (Related: The $7 Product J.Lo's Makeup Artist Uses to Create Her Head-to-Toe Glow)
Best-Smelling Option: Bahama Tan Sunless Lotion
If the chemical smell of self-tanners deters you from getting a safe sun-kissed glow, check out this delicious-smelling option from Bahama Tan. The product is made with natural ingredients, like shea butter, coconut oil, and argan oil, that not only moisturize your skin but also smell great.
“All I can say is WOW. Beautiful color and the most amazing smell ever. I couldn't stop smiling while putting it on. When I woke up this morning, I had a beautiful and natural-looking color with no splotches or uneven spots. Plus, there was no weird tan smell. This to me was probably the most amazing part,” raved one shopper. (Related: Can You Use Coconut Oil for Sunburn?)
Best Eco-Friendly Option: Skinerals Sunless Bronzer
If you prefer to buy beauty products made from natural and organic ingredients, opt for this sunless tanner from Skinerals. The dermatologist-recommended product is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and paraben-free. The natural-looking tanning lotion has over 1,600 reviews on Amazon with an impressive 4.4-star rating. (See: Here's the Difference Between Clean and Natural Beauty Products)
“Was very pleased after using it,” said one customer. “I love that this is organic, and provides a very natural looking tan. It's especially good on feet and hands.”
Best Hydrating Option: Clarins Self Tanning Milky-Lotion
This self-tanning lotion from Clarins is specially formulated to deeply hydrate skin while producing a streakless, natural-looking glow. Customers love how the milky lotion helps provide an even application on both the face and the body.
In a 28-day consumer test, 92 percent of women said their skin was hydrated and 93 percent said the product left them with a long-lasting tan. (Related: The Absolute Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin, According to Dermatologists)
Best for Darker Skin Tones: Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotions
While most self-tanners are formulated with lighter skin tones in mind, this option from Banana Boat is a great option for those with darker skin tones. The quick-drying lotion is buildable so you can control how deep the color gets. Plus it contains vitamin E and aloe vera to help keep skin moisturized.
“This is the perfect tanning lotion for really dark skin tone. No streaking and goes on smooth, like regular lotion. You can feel the aloe vera and even my husband said after a few applications that my skin felt softer,” raved one shopper.
Best Natural-Looking Tan: Beauty by Earth Self Tanner
With over 3,300 reviews, this self-tanning lotion from Beauty by Earth is one of the most popular options on Amazon for a reason. The natural product is made to leave all skin tones looking bronzed and glowing like you just got back from a vacation—just look at all of the photos reviewers have uploaded as proof.
One reviewer wrote: "It’s AMAZING! The color is gorgeous, not orange at all but a golden brown. It’s absolutely beautiful and so natural. It doesn’t have an odd smell either, like most. It’s a little bit difficult to blend out BUT just give it a little effort because it’s so worth it!" (Related: How to Apply Bronzer for a Natural Glow)
Best Kit: Tarte Brazilliance Plus + Self-Tanner + Mitt
While self-tanning lotions can be easily applied by hand, using a self-tanning mitt can also help you achieve an even, streak-free application. This handy kit from Tarte has you covered with their best-selling self-tanning lotion as well as a custom application mitt.
"Being someone who has tried her fair share of self tanners, this one is top shelf! Absolutely no streaking, minimal smell, and the mit works wonders! Definitely going to use this from now on. I love that it's a gradual tan but still delivers good color. So happy I found this product!" raved a shopper.
(Related: Should You Be Dry Brushing?)