The Best Self-Tanners

Beauty/Skincare, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on March 9, 2015
best self tanners

It’s a no-brainer that sunbathing is bad for us, but let’s face it—we all look better with a little color. And with warmer weather swiftly approaching, nobody wants to step out sporting pasty, white legs. So how can you fake that coveted sun-kissed look, sans the harmful UV rays?

Until recently, self-tanners had a reputation for being too orangey (case in point: Lindsay Lohan circa 2009). A far cry from the streaky, stinky lotions of yesteryear, the latest generation of sunless tanners gives you a natural-looking bronze without transforming you into an Oompa Loompa lookalike.

To help you build that faux fresh-off-the-beach glow, we’ve scoped out our favorite self-tanners and bronzers for every budget.

Kiehl’s Sun-Free Self-Tanning Formula, $22.50

Kiehl's Sun Free Self Tanning Fomrula

Are you deterred by the distinctive scent of self-tanners? Good news: This non-greasy formula from Kiehl’s smells clean and refreshing—absolutely no pungent “self-tanner” aroma. The color, which takes about an hour to set in, is light and subtle, making it especially good for those with pale complexions. Bonus: the lotion contains Vitamin E to soothe dry, cracked skin.

Laura Geller Tahitian Glow Liquid Bronzing Gel, $35


Do you need a tan—pronto? With a subtle shimmer finish, this creamy gel blends easily for an instant all-over glow. Although the color doesn’t last longer than a day or two, it’s a perfect quick-fix solution if you want radiant, bronzed skin in a pinch.

St. Tropez Self-Tan Luxe Dry Oil with Applicator Mitt, $50


This indulgent dry oil provides a shimmery, streak-free, golden tan. With a rich citrus scent, the oil goes on smoothly and is very easy to blend in. You might feel a little sticky at first, but the color dries quickly and lasts for up to five days afterward.

Too Faced Blushing Bronzers, $34.00 


Sunless tanner not quite your thing? Fear not! Bronzer is a great way to impart a radiant, sun-kissed complexion to your skin without fussing with messy self-tanner lotion. For your bronzer needs, we’re loving this all-in-one powder bronzer and blush duo from Too Faced, which adds warmth, contour and a pop of color to pale skin.

Jergen’s Natural Glow Firming Moisturizer, $8.49

jergens natural glow firming

Score a gorgeous tan and reduce the appearance of cellulite? It’s every gal’s dream! This affordable drugstore find gradually creates natural-looking color while improving elasticity for noticeably firmer skin. It takes about a week for the color to really kick in, so you have to be consistent with your application. Also, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after rubbing the lotion on—if you don’t, you might get orange splotches on your wrists and palms.

Sephora Collection, Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist, $16


Look Ma, no hands! This spray-on mist from Sephora gives you a gorgeous, streak-free tan in mere seconds. It’s lightweight, long-lasting and refreshing with a clean coconut scent. (Insider tip: Just be careful where you spray; you don’t want to accidentally spew self-tanner all over your walls!)