The art of self-tanning can be tricky, which is why it’s best to equip yourself with the top products and tools that make your faux glow just as convincing as a real one—minus the harmful UV damage you might experience while soaking up the sun. To make it simple to go from zero to bronze with just a few swipes of a mitt, we’ve done the hard work for you and tracked down the most popular sunless tanners experts, editors, and beauty enthusiasts look to over and over again for a supreme glow. These 15 formulas from holy-grail brands like St. Tropez, Coco & Eve, Isle of Paradise, and more, deliver a streak-free finish with minimal smell, and leave your skin looking extra supple and glowy—never awkwardly and unnaturally orange. Here, read through our short list of some of the best self-tanners on the market to find a new favorite before your next vacation.
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BEST CLASSIC SELF-TANNER
Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
If you’ve struggled with tanners in the past, give this one a chance. It develops the most natural-looking color without streaks when applied with care (and a handy tanning mitt). Over 7,000 Amazon reviewers say it’s the “best tanner ever” especially for fair skin.
BEST SELF-TANNING BUNDLE
Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle
Here’s a three-piece set from the pros at Coco & Eve that includes their non-sticky self-tanner for body—featuring a mango and guava scent—along with a tanning mitt and kabuki brush for expert blending.
BEST SELF-TANNER FOR A SUBTLE GLOW
Self-Tanning Oil Mist
This tanning mist is part body oil, part body mist, and all subtle glow. Shake up to mix the formula—featuring hydrating hyaluronic acid, squalane, and glycerin, along with a moisturizing oil base—then massage in with or without a tanning mitt.
BEST SELF-TANNING MOUSSE
Sunless Tanning Deep Water Mousse
This dye-free, clear mousse applies like a plush cloud and smells like a tropical vacation. Plus, it’s made by Jergens, a brand we’ve been relying on for tanners and moisturizers for years.
BEST EASY-ON SELF-TANNER
Clear Spray Tan In A Can
This clear formula is beyond-easy to apply, even without an applicator mitt. Because it can be sprayed from 360 degrees and goes on in an even layer, you can even get your back without extra help (or straining a muscle).
BEST SELF-TANNING GEL
Self Tanning Instant Gel
For a natural-looking glow for both face and body, this buildable, quick-drying gel is formulated with glycerin to leave skin feeling baby smooth after it’s applied.
BEST SELF-TANNER FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Water
Free of fragrances and dyes, and totally safe for sensitive skin, this tanning water from Bondi Sands is available in two shade options, and hydrates skin while it deposits an even, natural-looking color.
BEST SCENTED SELF-TANNER
5-in-1 Natural Self-Tanner
Formulated with sugar beets (!), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more effective and clean self-tanner on the market. Plus, it smells like vacation-ready coconut, and feels as luxurious your favorite body lotion.
BEST ECO-CONSCIOUS SELF-TANNER
One Hour Express Self Tan Mousse
This Aussie brand is making self-tanning a little safer for the planet and your skin. Not only is their one-hour tanning mousse made with natural and organic ingredients, but when you run out, you can pop in a refill pack—each one uses 83 percent less plastic than a brand-new bottle.
BEST HYDRATING SELF-TANNER
Self-Tanning Water Mousse
It checks all the boxes of a good self tanner (long lasting, streak-free, and lightweight), but it’s also super-hydrating and just makes your skin feel soft and plump.
BEST SELF-TANNING MIST
Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
A tanning mist you only have to spray once might seem too good to be true. But we’re here to tell you this unicorn product does exist—and St. Tropez makes it. This face mist is infused with natural tanning agents to give you the golden tan of your dreams.
BEST INSTANT SELF-TANNER
Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse
Swipe this foamy mousse on and you get a tan that adapts perfectly to your skin tone. As an added bonus, it dries in only 60 seconds.
BEST NATURAL SELF-TANNER
Over 3,000 glowing reviews on Amazon can’t be wrong: this is one of the best organic and natural self-tanners. It’s made with aloe vera and argan oil to leave skin glowing, healthy, and hydrated.
BEST SELF-TANNING PADS
Alpha Beta Intense Glow Pad Self-Tanner for Face
One of our favorite exfoliating pads now also gives us the best natural-looking fake tan. You not only get a hint of color, but smoother and clearer skin.
BEST SELF-TANNING DROPS
The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
If you’re looking for a more bespoke experience, this tanning booster will be your jam. Add the drops to your normal moisturizer, serum, or face oil for radiant and natural-looking color.
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