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Self tanners have come a long way—gone are the days of streaks, patches, and tacky orange hues. So, what is the best self tanner? Get vacation-ready with a little help from TFG readers who share their favorites!
The Best Self Tanning Products 2021
Written by: Michelle Nati
Table Of Contents
While self tanners have been on the market for several years, it’s only recently that they have come into their own, as beauty brands have perfected their formulas to make product application easy. From instant to gradual self-tanning products, TFG readers share their picks for the best self-tanning products!
Best Self Tanner Reviews From Readers
The Best Self Tanner for Face Coverage
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Towelettes
These L’Oreal easy-to-use wipes have a mild scent which dissipates quickly after application. One wipe will cover your entire body, and you’ll begin to see a natural looking glow within 2-4 hours. Repeat applications will increase your color.
Formulated with Vitamin E and AHA, these will leave your skin as smooth as it is tanned! Readers say this is the best face self tanner, as it gets the job done while on the go!
You’ll want to look your best when you travel! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!
Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sunless Tanning
Jergens has been an iconic name in beauty for decades, and the company continues its success streak with its tropical and fruit-scented self-tanning mousse, which is a favorite among TFG readers. Just one application produces instant results!
One reader says she’s tried everything, from spray tans to expensive creams but Jergens won her over. “A friend told me to try it after a shower on damp skin. I bought the lightest shade and it’s the best thing I have found.”
Another, who prefers the brand’s medium to dark shades, agrees: “It’s the most natural looking and I love the scent! I use it all over and look like I have a nice glow.” Readers have spoken, this is one of the best self tanner lotion choices!
Here are some tips for dry skin prevention on your next travels!
Fake Bake Self-Tanning Liquid
Readers rave about Fake Bake! This tropical-scented tanning liquid is non-sticky, dries quickly, and starts to appear on your skin in about 4-6 hours. The product even comes with a built-in color guide so that you can see where you’ve already applied it and an applicator mitt to make the process even more foolproof!
It works well on the fairest skin tones, according to one red-headed reader who says, “It will only get as dark as your normal pigment will allow! It looks very natural!”
Check out this post on winter skincare tips for travelers!
Tan Towel Self Tan Towelettes
Whether you’re attending a destination wedding in Majorca or hanging out on the beach in Tulum, Tan Towel gives your skin a bronze “glow on the go” with their self tanner which dries in seconds. Non-streaking and easy to apply, the pulp from the towelettes exfoliates as it tans your skin.
TFG readers tout the convenience and results self tan towels give with one saying, “I love that you can throw one of these in your bag and tan while on vacation. It dries fast, isn’t super dark and doesn’t smell.”
Ever heard of the Korean skincare routine? It’s incredible for post-travel skin. Learn more!
The Best Self Tanner for Legs
Banana Boat Sunless Lotion
A reef-safe sunscreen that leaves an irresistible glow? Sign us up! Oil-free and enriched with aloe and vitamin E, you can use Banana Boat daily for a deeper tan or maintain a healthy glow by spacing applications out. Summer beauty is in your control!
This product wins raves from TFG readers who have sensitive skin and are prone to break-outs and you can use it all over your body, too! One says, “I have tried many brands and this is the only one that does not break out my legs with little bumps.”
Side tip: also works as the best face self tanner for acne prone skin too!
Suffer from acne? This is how-to on avoiding break outs while traveling!
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Self-Tanning Milk
Easy to apply, streak-free, and hydrating, L’Oreal Sublime gets major props from readers, who love its supple feel and quick color. Wearers also rave about its natural coconut scent and say it’s the best at home self tanner they’ve tried.
One TFG reader recently purchased the milk and said she was shocked at how quickly it took. “It only takes two to three applications and you are nicely tanned; it does not stain your clothes. Smells yummy and works fast—I Iove it!”
Find out why body oil is a great moisturizer while traveling!
Bondi Sands Liquid Gold
Australia knows tanning and Bondi Sands oil adds to the county’s “glowing” reputation! Infused with coconut and Argan oil, you’ll smell as tropical as you look. Bondi Sands’ fact-acting, quick-drying formula will produce a tan in about 2-3 hours. Reapply every half an hour to deepen your skin tone.
One reader, who has tried all types of tanners, including sprays from high-end salons, says: “Bondi Sands gives a nice, warm brown color. Not orange at all.”
These are our favorite natural beauty products to take on your next adventure!
Tan Physics Formula 12
Tan Physics will not only give you the cooper tan you’ve always desired, but it’s anti-aging moisturizer will leave your skin fresh, supple, and soft. Kiss your old self tanner and moisturizer goodbye. This puppy does it all
One reader is a new convert, saying, “I swear by Tan Physics. It’s very subtle and lasts quite a few days.”
Find out what our readers recommend as the best makeup remover!
Vita Liberata Body Blur
We’ve all tried body tanners in which the product ends up anywhere but on our body and our sheets and clothes end up paying the price. Not so with Vita Liberata. According to readers, it doesn’t go anywhere but on your skin—you can even wear white with it!
One of the best organic self tanners on the market, it adheres easily to the skin and gives the wearer instant color and a smooth finish. If you plan to use it on your face too, you can apply it as a primer or mix it with your foundation for an instantly bronze face.
Check out the best moisturizer with SPF for travel!
The Best Gradual Self Tanner
Jergens Natural Glow
If you’re looking to ease into your tan, look no further than Jergens. It creates flawless color while moisturizing your skin with its blend of antioxidants and vitamin E. Light and freshly scented, simply use it as a daily body lotion to keep your gorgeous glow maintained.
Long time fans have nothing but praise for this product. One reader, however, says it should be applied regularly to maintain a supple glow, as the color lasts about a week.
Learn how to care for your skin on the road!
Amir Argan Oil ‘Touch of Tan’ Moisturizer
Amir Argan gets readers’ vote for best organic self tanner. Its “Touch of Tan” offers subtle color, but when it does build up it looks natural and smells great. Due to its moisturizing properties courtesy of argan oil and acai berry extract, you can wear it every day and leave your skin looking gently sun-kissed.
Sensitive skin types can use this moisturizer, as there’s no irritation after application. For fairer skin types, its gradual, natural look can’t be beaten!
Going on a hot-weather vacation? Try out these sweat-proof makeup options!
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
If you long for a copper tone that comes on gradually, Isle of Paradise offers big results in small packages and is one of the best natural self tanners on the market. Their drops offer sunkissed skin without streaks and a special hydrating formula with avocado, chia seed, and coconut oil.
According to one happy reader, you mix the drops with the lotion of your choice to achieve a natural, gradual look. “You control how much color you’re getting.”
These are the best tinted sunscreens to keep your skin looking smooth and flawless!
Product Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|The Best Self Tanner for Face Coverage|
|L'Oreal Paris Sublime Self-Tanning Towelettes||One wipe will cover your entire body, and you’ll begin to see a natural looking glow within 2-4 hours.||Check Price|
|Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse||“It’s the most natural looking and I love the scent! I use it all over and look like I have a nice glow.”||Check Price|
|Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid||“It will only get as dark as your normal pigment will allow! It looks very natural!”||Check Price|
|Tan Towel Tan Towelettes||“I love that you can throw one of these in your bag and tan while on vacation. It dries fast, isn't super dark and doesn’t smell.”||Check Price|
|The Best Self Tanner for Legs|
|Banana Boat Self Tanning Sunless Lotion||“I have tried many brands and this is the only one that does not break out my legs with little bumps.”||Check Price|
|L'Oreal Paris Sublime Self-Tanning Milk||“It only takes two to three applications and you are nicely tanned; it does not stain your clothes. Smells yummy and works fast—I Iove it!”||Check Price|
|Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil||“Bondi Sands gives a nice, warm brown color. Not orange at all.”||Check Price|
|Tan Physics True Color Formula 12||“I swear by Tan Physics. It’s very subtle and lasts quite a few days.”||Check Price|
|Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant Finish Bronzer||One of the best organic self tanners on the market, it adheres easily to the skin and gives the wearer instant color and a smooth finish.||Check Price|
|The Best Gradual Self Tanner|
|Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer||It creates flawless color while moisturizing your skin with its blend of antioxidants and vitamin E. Light and freshly scented, simply use it as a daily body lotion to keep your gorgeous glow maintained.||Check Price|
|Amir Argan Oil 'Touch of Tan' Moisturizer||Amir Argan gets readers’ vote for best organic self tanner. Its “Touch of Tan” offers subtle color, but when it does build up it looks natural, and smells great.||Check Price|
|Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops||“You control how much color you’re getting.”||Check Price|
How Does Self Tanner Work?
Most sunless tanning products include dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When you apply DHA to your skin, it reacts with dead cells on the skin’s topmost layer to darken it. As you slough off the skin cells, the tan will wear off.
How Long Does Self Tanner Last?
It lasts from about three to 10 days, depending on its quality. To achieve a deeper color, you’ll need to routinely reapply the product.
How to Remove Self Tanner Streaks?
If you’ve ever wondered how to remove self tanner, you’re not alone! If you’re not happy with your color, take a warm bath with three capfuls of baby oil, then exfoliate using a loofah or mitt. You can also rub lemon juice on streaks or spots for two 2-3 minutes to lighten them.
Readers caution to remove streaks before reapplying more self tanner or you’ll come out with an uneven looking tan!
How to Apply Self Tanner to Back Area by Yourself
Applying self tanner in hard to reach places is not easy, but it can be done with the help of a mirror and a tanning mitt at the end of a wooden spoon. To get rid of any lines that the mitt left behind, use a spray to even it out.
Preparing Toiletries for Travel
You’ve packed your carry-on and everything fits perfectly. That is until you need to fit in your toiletry bag!
While It certainly can be daunting to plan ahead which toiletries you will need and which to leave behind, there are methods for making sure you have the essentials and also follow TSA guidelines while saving space. Start with the video below on how to resize toiletries to pack them more efficiently.
Watch this video to learn how to downsize your toiletries for travel!
For more help, you can also download our Ultimate Packing Guide for Toiletries. It’s FREE! You can click here or click the image below to open the editable file.
The list features unique categories to help you pack for your trip efficiently. It includes all the items listed in various categories and has spaces where you can fill in your own information.
With this guide, you can:
- Write in an item’s weight (lighter items means less overall baggage weight).
- Note if you need to purchase something or if you already own it.
- Organize where you’ll pack each item including suggested packing organizers like these.
Now that you have the best rated self tanner products to choose from ( by readers, of course) to get that vacation glow, use tips on how to downsize your toiletries, and remember not to skip the sunscreen when you hit vacation with that self-made tan!
What do you think are the best self tanner 2020 picks? Share and comment below!
For more travel beauty tips, please read:
- Beauty-licious Beach Essentials For A Winter Escape
- How to Care for Your Skin and Hair Post-Travel
- 6 Ways to Prevent Acne Skin Breakouts While Traveling
- After Sun Skin Care: 5 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Skin Post-Vacation
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