A curated list of the best over the counter self tanners

Top 11 Best Over the Counter Self Tanners (TRIED & TRUSTED) in 2020

A curated list of the best over the counter self tannersSo you want to show off a sunbathed skin on the Gram but you’ve never been to a beach since last year?

No WORRIES.

We have a QUICK FIX.

And it’s SAFER than the UV you would get from the hours spent in the sun.

The best over the counter self tanners will leave your skin soft, smooth, and with a natural tanned look that turns heads!

Discover these over the counter wonders and forget about sunburns.

This research took time and effort, so that you don’t have to waste your time and bucks on helpless trial and error.

As compensation, Amazon will give us a small commission when you click on the links here and better your life with a purchase. This comes at absolutely no extra cost to you.

11 Best Over the Counter Tanning Lotions

Whether you’re looking for the best tanners for beginners, the best streak-free tanner, the best self-tanner for face, or even the best organic self-tanners, we have the top choices for each of them.

Get that gorgeous, sun-kissed glow with these easy-to-use, streak-free gems right away…

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Name

Key Features

Editor's Remark

Price

  • You get a smooth and soft tan in 2-4 hours

  • 6 towelettes per pack

Best for streak-free tan

  • Short treatment duration

  • Dark tan is achievable with repeated application

Best self-tanner for beginners

  • Ideal for men and women

  • Dries in 15 minutes- quick fix

Best self tanner for sensitive skin

1. L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes- best streak-free tanner

L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes, best streak-free self-tanner, best for natural looking Tan, a pack of 6 towelettes, one of the best over the counter sunless tanners

The Good

  • Instant results
  • Contains Vitamin A and E
  • Easy and convenient to use
  • Gives a smooth and soft tan
Not so Good

  • Each pack only contains 6 towelettes

2. Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam | Lightweight, Self-Tanner Foam Enriched with Aloe Vera & Coconut

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam, Lightweight, Self-Tanner Formula Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut to Provide a Streak-Free Tan. It's one off the best over the counter tanning lotions

The Good

  • Best for beginners
  • Enriched with Aloe Vera and coconut
  • Short treatment duration
  • Nourishes the skin
  • Fades naturally without leaving patches
Not so Good

  • You have to exfoliate for excellent results

3. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse- best self tanner for sensitive skin

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, 8 Fl Oz, one of the best drugstore self tanners, best self tanner for sensitive skin, best tanning lotion for beginners

The Good

  • Has a tint that works as a guide
  • Best for light-skinned folks
  • The smell goes away fast
  • The self-tanner is ideal for all genders
  • Best bronzing mousse for beginners
Not so Good

  • Lasts for a short duration
  • Needs thorough exfoliation before application

4. Jergens 20937 Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse, Light Bronze Tan

Jergens 20937 Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse, Light Bronze Tan, 6 Ounce Sunless Tanning, best over the counter sunless tanner

The Good

  • Easy to apply and fast-drying
  • Hydrate and protects the skin
  • Enhances natural tone without patches
  • Doesn’t stain your towel
  • It is tined for precise application
Not so Good

  • The tan lasts for only 4-5 days

5. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water Medium – Golden Glow Full Size

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water Medium - Golden Glow Full Size, one of the best over the counter self tanner

The Good

  • Has no guide color that can block pores
  • It is 100% vegan
  • Quite easy to apply
  • Ideal for all skin types
  • Doesn’t stain clothes or bedsheets
Not so Good

  • It may leave some parts unattended since it has no guide color

6. Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray

Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray, Gradual Sunless Indoor Tanner with Witch Hazel, Alcohol-Free, Oil-Free and Non-Comedogenic Formula, best over the counter spray tan, best over the counter tanners

The Good

  • Hands-free application
  • Gives a deep color tone
  • Alcohol and oil-free
  • Ideal for hard to reach areas
  • Doesn’t clog pores
Not so Good

  • It takes longer than other tanners to dry

7. Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid | Streak-Free, Long-Lasting Sunless Natural Glow For All Skin Tones

Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid, Best Streak-Free Tanner, long-lasting sunless natural glow for all skin tones, black coconut scent, best professional tanning mitt, best over the counter self tanners

The Good

  • Works with every skin type and tone
  • It is easy to apply
  • Comes with the required application tools
  • Fast-absorbing formula
  • You can get a tan at any time
Not so Good

  • Some buyers complained of stained bedsheets

8. Beauty by Earth Self Tanner with Organic & Natural Ingredients– best organic self-tanner

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner - With Organic Aloe Vera & Shea Butter, Sunless Tanning Lotion and Bronzer Buildable Light, Medium or Dark Tan for a Natural Looking Skin Tone, best inexpensive self tanner

The Good

  • Organic ingredients
  • Ideal for all skin types
  • Helps to moisturize your skin
  • Prevents early aging signs
  • Good for both men and women
Not so Good

  • Takes a bit longer than other tanners to dry

9. Skinerals Californium Self Tanner Mousse – Sunless Tanning Lotion with Organic and Natural Ingredients

Skinerals Californium Self Tanner Mousse - Sunless Tanning Lotion with Organic and Natural Ingredients for Fake Tan, 8 Oz Bottle, best natural self-tanner, best fake tanning lotion for fair skin

The Good

  • The tanner is paraben-free
  • Contain natural skin-nourishing ingredients
  • Animal cruelty-free
  • One treatment lasts for up to 7 days
  • Counteracts fake orange tan
Not so Good

  • Takes long to completely dry

10. Versa Spa Gradual Tanning Spa Butter, 6 Ounces

Versa Spa Gradual Tanning Spa Butter, best over the counter sunless tanner, best lotion for tanning

The Good

  • Contains natural tanning agents
  • Enhances collagen production
  • Virtually eliminates tanning odor
  • Keeps the skin moisturized
  • Safe for use on any external body part
Not so Good

  • The price is notably higher than for other brands

11. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Intense Glow Pad for Face- best self-tanner for face

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow for Dull Skin Lacking Radiance and Glow, best self tanner for face drugstore, best drugstore face tanner

The Good

  • Contains no animal products or parabens
  • Developed by a dermatologist
  • All in one face tanning solution
  • Botch-free results in 3 hours
  • Ideal for use at any time
Not so Good

  • If you apply two layers of the tanner, it may look patchy
  • Some tan may come off with makeup

A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Self-Tanner

If you haven’t been a victim of self-tanning gone wrong, you have probably seen it on another person. For you to avoid getting streaks or turning orange after tanning, here are some tips to guide you in choosing the best over the counter self tanning lotion.

(a) Choose the Right Base Color

Every shade of self-tanner has an undertone that works to counteract any undesirable coloring. For a light skin person, a green-based tanner will help to counteract your skin’s redness. All the same, green works for almost everybody.

For darker folks who would like to achieve the deepest tone, a violet-based-formula is the best for them.

(b) Get the Best Form

Self-tanning products are available in different forms, such as sprays, lotion, gels, and mousses. Mousse delivers a deep tan, dries quickly, but may not be long-lasting. Lotions are easy to apply, making them the best over the counter self tanners for beginners.

For hard to reach areas, sprays are the best. All the same, if you aren’t careful, they may get a bit messy.

(c) Tinted or Not Tinted

Some products are colorless, and it is hard to tell the tan’s evenness as you apply. Especially for beginners, this can be disastrous.

On the other hand, tinted tanners will guide you as you apply the product. If you don’t have pro-like skills in self-tanning, a tinted fake tan would be the best for you.

(d) Drying Time

Depending on the form of the product you choose, you will get different drying times for different products. Some will dry in a minute or so while others may take almost half an hour. The best self-tanner is one that will absorb quickly without making you feel greasy or too dry afterward.

(e) Gradual or Instant Tan

For a gradual tan, you will have to apply the products daily over some time and gradually build a tan that looks natural. In contrast, some products will make your skin look bronzed overnight with a single application.

Best Over the Counter Self Tanners- FAQs: 

Q: What makes your skin tan?

A: When the UV rays hit the skin surface, its cells go into protection mode. The sun rays trigger melanocytes to produce a darker pigment known as melanin. Therefore, melanin is the substance that causes tanning. The darker the skin, the deeper the tan.

Q: What self-tan do Kardashians use?

A: Some of the self-tanners that the Kardashian sisters use include St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse, Vita Liberata Foaming Tan Water, and Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs.

Q: Can you self tan your face?

A: Yes, you can self tan your face without any problem: get the correct self-tanner for the face. When it comes to application, make sure you apply past your jawline and to your neck. If you don’t, your tan will be screaming, “FAKE!”

Q: Can you sleep with self tanner on?

A: If you apply your self-tanner before going to bed, you need to make sure that there won’t be any skin to skin contact. Sleep in loose pajamas and wear some socks on your hands to prevent chances of blotching. Most importantly, let your tanning cream to dry completely before going to bed.

Wrapping Up

You no longer have to risk your skin’s health under the sun’s UV rays to get a bronzed skin. By investing just a few bucks, you can get the best over the counter self tanner that will almost instantly leave your skin sun-kissed.

The good thing is that most of the products contain natural skin-nourishing ingredients. Besides, you are not limited by seasons since you can apply the tanner at any time all year round.

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