Warm weather is at our finger tips, and having some color when summer it arrives can make you feel fabulous. Unfortunately, laying out in the sun in your swimsuit or baking in a UV-light bed isn’t the safest for your skin.
With the rates of melanoma at an all-time high and the risk of diagnosis increasing as you age, avoiding direct exposure to sun’s harmful rays is more important than ever. If it’s the sun’s warmth that makes you happy, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it every two hours, or immediately after drying off if you’ve been in water.
If it’s the bronze color you want, there are easy ways to develop a tan that will keep your skin youthful and free of damage. We found the best self tanners including oils, mists, lotions, towels, and liquids that will deliver a stunning, sunny glow you can rock safely all summer long.
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Best Self-Tanner for Sensitive Skin
With aging, we often lose hydration. So when you're looking for the best self-tanner, one with moisturizing properties will not only make your tan look smoother, it will also help with your anti-aging routine. A lack of moisture creates fine lines and wrinkles, so boosting your skin's water levels can leave it looking plump and youthful. Vita Liberata Fabulous Tinted Self Tanning Lotion is an ultra-hydrating formula with nourishing organic botanical ingredients. It's free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance, and alcohol, which helps sensitive, dry skin heal.
Where to buy: $30, Nordstrom
Best Moisturizing Self-Tanner
Josie Maran's Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil is moisturizing and smells delicious. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a common ingredient found in self-tanners, helps the skin get a golden brown tone instead of the infamous orange hue. The Liquid Gold oil contains a natural, plant-based DHA, which offers a healthier, vegan way to build your glow. Aloe juice, argan oil, and coconut water are blended together to nourish and soothe your skin while giving you a safe tan.
Where to buy: $39, Sephora
Best Self-Tanning Oil for Women Over 50
COOLA's Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist masks any unpleasant odors with its delightful pineapple-coconut aroma, so you smell like you're fresh from the tropics. The consistency of this dry body oil leaves your skin feeling soft and supple once you've finished applying it. A handful of potent antioxidants as well as vitamin C are loaded into this mist, so you can feel satisfied that your self-tanner is working against the aging process.
Where to buy: $46, Sephora
Best Organic Self-Tanner
Beauty by Earth's Self Tanner is composed of organic ingredients, and its results are just as good as any other sunless tanning lotion. Smoothing this creamy lotion on your skin will help revive it with organic shea butter and coconut oil, banishing dry patches and a dehydrated epidermis. The color is easily buildable, and you'll have a natural-looking bronzed complexion after a few uses.
Where to buy: $29.99, Amazon
Best Tanning Mousse
St. Tropez's quick-drying and moisturizing Self Tan Bronzing Mousse will feel like silk gliding onto your skin. Its DHA-based formula gives you a deeper brown tone that makes it look like you just got back from Bora Bora, not the tanning booth. St. Tropez looks great on any skin tone whether you're fair-skinned or have a darker complexion.
Where to buy: $35.70, Amazon
Best Self-Tanner for Face
Finding a self-tanner for your body is simple, but it's not always so easy finding one that works well for your face, especially if you have sensitive or breakout-prone skin. COOLA Suncare's Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum works wonders and is made with moisturizing hyaluronic acid and argan oil. Don't be fearful if you have sun or age spots, as this product won't darken or draw more attention to them. All you'll be emphasizing now is your new, sun-kissed face.
Where to buy: $54, Amazon
Best Self-Tanner for Fair Skin
Flawless by Fake Bake's Self-Tanning Liquid Solution gives a pretty glow that isn't unrealistically dark for snow white skin, and it doesn't give off an orange tint either. This quick-drying formula has a pleasant tropical scent and is made up of DHA, DMI, and erythrulose to help you achieve a natural, long-lasting tone. One Amazon buyer said, "I am absolutely obsessed with this self tanner!!! No streaks, I DO NOT look orange or any other funky color! I look like I tanned in a bed, for weeks!"
Where to buy: $18.46, Amazon
Best Drugstore Self Tanner
Jergens has been in the sunless tanner business for a long time and for good reason. The Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer easily makes self-tanning fit into your everyday routine. Replace your go-to body lotion with it and over the course of a few days you'll begin developing a gorgeous, natural tan. It's loaded with antioxidants like vitamin E and has plenty of hydration for your skin.
Where to buy: $9.80, Amazon
Best Tanning Mitt
The secret to a flawless tan is using a mitt — promise! Using your hands can leave streaks, patches, and turn your palms and knuckles orange. This Versa Spa Sunless Applicator is easy to use. Even better, you can toss it in the wash to clean, unlike the disposable ones that you have to replace after several uses. Put your sunless tanning lotion or foam directly on the mitt and rub in circles, being mindful of blending any lines. If you're using an oil or spray, we recommend spraying it on the skin rather than the mitt and blending from there. Use any leftover residue to lightly run over your fingers and toes to avoid a stark contrast. Some self-tanners can be used on both body and face, but you should stick to products made specifically for your face if you have sensitive skin.
Where to buy: $7.99, Amazon