Best Self-Tanning Products

Achieving the faux glow you’ve been wanting can be tough to get right, but with the right self-tanner, you should be able to easily and safely fake tan at home.

There’s a variety of mousses, tanner sprays, body lotions, and oils on the market to choose from, and knowing what to look out for can help you have natural, bronzed skin all year long. Continue reading...

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Based on 1,161 reviews
Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse

Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse 🏆 2024

4.6  (166)
 Summary
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Jords
JordsVIC5 posts
  Ultra Dark
This is the Best of the BestThis Tan is the ultimate self tanner there is no other comparison to it on the market. You really won't believe it until you just go ahead and buy it , you WILL NOT be disappointed Show details ·  1
Loving Tan 2 HR Express

Loving Tan 2 HR Express 🏆 2024

4.4  (155)
 Summary
Cath
CathVIC10 posts
  Medium
Man Tan AminoTan 200ml Mousse

Man Tan AminoTan 200ml Mousse 🏆 2024

4.2  (152)
 Summary
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Kenny
KennyNSW6 posts
 
OrdinaryIt didn’t do much for me unfortunately a slight difference but not enough, I’ll stick with Le tan Show details
MAN TAN
MAN TAN   DM   
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Dove Summer Glow Tanning Lotion

Dove Summer Glow Tanning Lotion

4.0  (138)
 Summary
HMG
HMGMelbourne6 posts
  For Medium to Dark Skin
Lovely natural tanGreat product Easy to use Natural look tan
Moisturising Non staining Show details
Sol Native Kissed By The Sun Self Tanning Drops

Sol Native Kissed By The Sun Self Tanning Drops 🏆 2024

4.9  (26)
 Summary
Polly P.
Polly P.NSW2 posts
 
My new go to…Just one drop to your favourite moisturiser and over the course of the day, skin is glowing with a sun kissed look (without the sun damage). I repeated this over a few days for a deeper glow and had so many compliments. I LOVE the fact that I can add it to my own moisturiser so it doesn’t disrupt my regular skin routine. Show details
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze

3.5  (64)
 Summary
Samantha
Samantha
  Body Lotion
Ella Baché Great Tan Without Sun

Ella Baché Great Tan Without Sun

4.5  (17)
 Summary
Shikkra
Shikkra19 posts
 
Good colour but greasy texture and expensive to bootColours good and applies easily enough but I’ve since switched to the modelco express tan which you only have to wear for a couple of hours and is a third of the price of the Ella Bache. The colour is also just as good if not better. The only advantage the Ella has is it’s easier to apply Show details
MooGoo How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream

MooGoo How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream

4.1  (24)
 Summary
Sharon L.
Sharon L.QLD4 posts
 
not a tanning cream at allThis is a lovely moisturiser but it has absolutely no colour, even after several applications. I love moo goo products & was really excited when they released a tanning cream but sadly it just isn't. Show details
PureTAN Pure Bronze

PureTAN Pure Bronze

3.5  (45)
 Summary
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Carly M.
Carly M.VIC
  Instant Tan Lotion Dark
So disappointing! It was completely green!!So so disappointed in this product!! I purchased to use before my cousins wedding and it was completely GREEN!! Lucky I didn’t put it all over my body without realising it wasn’t normal because it stained my fingers green!! What a waste of $30.
Le Tan in Le Can

Le Tan in Le Can

3.8  (19)
 Summary
rose
roseQLD33 posts
  Medium/Dark
Garnier Body Summer

Garnier Body Summer

2.9  (49)
 Summary
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Sarah M.
Sarah M.
 
Garnier summer body gradual tan darkHi I used this after my natural tan going abroad to keep it fresh 1 month on and use it about twice a week works very quick I use the dark one and always looks like I’ve just came back from holiday would highly recommend, drys quickly takes around 5 mins to do face arms n legs I use before bed and wake up feeling fab n tanned Show details
Bondi Sands Light Medium Foam

Bondi Sands Light Medium Foam

4.2  (12)
 Summary
CAS32910
CAS32910QLD19 posts
 
Bondi Sands Self Tanning Lotion

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Lotion

2.7  (60)
 Summary
kylie c.
kylie c.QLD10 posts
  Ultra Dark
What happened?Doesn't last and colour is light, I have been using this tan for many years however the last few bottles I have bought I have found that the tan only lasts a day It is not deep and dark and it goes patchy. Something has changed in their ingredients.
Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil

3.0  (23)
 Summary
Bozza2caroline
Bozza2caroline
 
Le Tan Uber Stay Self Tanning Foam Violet Base

Le Tan Uber Stay Self Tanning Foam Violet Base

4.8  (6)
 Summary
rose
roseQLD33 posts
 
Bali Body Watermelon Tanning Oil

Bali Body Watermelon Tanning Oil

3.2  (13)
 Summary
Abbey
AbbeyVIC
 
Love this product!This product is my go-to! I didn't burn while being at the beach all day and left my skin feeling super moisturised! Show details
Le Tan Fast Tan Lotion

Le Tan Fast Tan Lotion

3.7  (9)
 Summary
Jo B
Jo BQLD42 posts
  Deep Bronze
Dr. Lewinn's Sunless Self Tanning Lotion

Dr. Lewinn's Sunless Self Tanning Lotion

5.0  (5)
 Summary
Helen
Helen2 posts
 
Fantastic productApplies evenly giving a great natural colour, it taking a short time to apply. Dries quickly and lasts for one to two weeks. Worth the money, l would highly recommend.  Show details
Eco Tan Organic Invisible Tan

Eco Tan Organic Invisible Tan

2.2  (52)
 Summary
Peter Jensen
Peter Jensen
 
Libbie
Libbie
 
I loved this product!!Bring it back! Best colour, nice smell, lasts and doesnt stain hands.. This was one on the best valued products on the market it is a Shame it was taken off.

 Show details

Le Tan Express

Le Tan Express

4.0  (6)
Jude
Jude2 posts
  Mousse
St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

3.1  (10)
 Summary
Lily rose
Lily roseNSW
  Express
DO NOT BUYthis is the worst tan i have ever come across. Horrible horrible horrible, no words. And I have been tanning for 10+ years and tried every product under the sun. I’m shocked to know that this company is even still in business with their awful products. DO NOT WASTE UR MONEY AND GET INFLUENCED BY THE FAKE PAID REVIEWS. Show details
Tuscan Tan Original

Tuscan Tan Original

5.0  (4)
Kye johnson
Kye johnsonVictoria
 
Le Tan Wash Off

Le Tan Wash Off

3.6  (7)
 Summary
Sonia Hales
Sonia HalesQLD3 posts
  Coconut Water Spray
I’m addicted to this productI’ve been using the coconut water wash off for a few years, it’s quick and easy and is flawless. People ask about my tan and are always surprised that it’s fake. It’s like makeup for your whole body. Love it Show details
Natio Sun-Kissed Glow Gradual Tan Lotion

Natio Sun-Kissed Glow Gradual Tan Lotion

4.3  (4)
 Summary
Bec
Bec
 
Eco Tan Hempitan

Eco Tan Hempitan

2.2  (12)
 Summary
Kate M.
Kate M.SA
 
Eco Tan Winter Skin

Eco Tan Winter Skin

3.2  (5)
 Summary
AngelaB
AngelaBNSW2 posts
 
Great moisturiser, no discernible tan thoBought from Myer @29.99 (but used a $10 voucher to reduce the price). Read on their website to use twice a day if colour was not deep enough…have done that for nearly two weeks, still have very little tan colour on legs or arms. Don’t mind the smell, will finish it off as it does moisturise, but will not buy again. Show details
RHi k
RHi k2 posts
 
Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

1.7  (17)
 Summary
mona
mona
 
burns and stinks BUT gets the tan offBURNS!!!! and stinks !!! but it gets the tan off well lol…. good product overall but i genuinely felt like ripping my skin off whilst waiting the five mins it recommends before washing off! the smell and pain is actually so bad it makes me lightheaded but yes it works Show details
Nourished Life Life Basics Gradual Tanning Gel

Nourished Life Life Basics Gradual Tanning Gel

5.0  (2)
 Summary
lolli5ft
lolli5ftWA4 posts
 
This was the best gradual tanner !!!Im so sad that it is not longer available!! Was the easiest gradual tanner to apply and the colour was amazing!! Show details

Types of self-tanning products

Tanned woman applying lotion on her shoulder in the bathroom

Self-tanning can be tough to get right, but with the right product, achieving the perfect tan doesn’t have to be a mere pipe dream.

Here are some of the formulas available:

  • Mousse: Mousse or foam is the most popular type of self-tanning product, as it’s quick drying and can help you achieve a deep tan. It’s recommended to use a tanning mitt to apply mousse evenly onto your skin.
  • Lotion: Tanning lotion or tanning cream is the second most popular type of tanner - lotions are similar in consistency to moisturisers and are generally easy to apply which makes them popular for first time tanners. They do however typically have the longest drying times.
  • Spray: A spray or tanning mist allows you to reach the parts of your body that can be awkward to apply product to, such as your back. If you don’t have someone around to help you with your tan application, and you’re not particularly flexible, then a spray might be a good option for you.
  • Oil: Tanning oil is usually quick-drying, nourishing and hydrating for the skin, and tends to more gradually develop colour.

What to consider when choosing a self-tanner

Should I get an instant tanner or a gradual tanner?

An instant tanner will usually develop over the course of around 6 to 8 hours, giving you almost immediate results. They’re a great option for those who want to tan for a special event, or for those who like to sport a deeper tan most days.

A gradual tanning lotion is generally a good option if you’re non-committal or new to tanning - these give you more control over the colour. For a gradual tan, look for gradual tan moisturisers that you can apply daily without having to worry about washing off after some hours.

Colour

What looks natural on your best friend may make your tan look a little, well, fake, so you should find a colour that suits your unique skin tone and will also get you to your desired skin shade.

Self-tanning products are usually available in around 3 shades - this could be Light, Medium, and Dark, or Bronze, Deep Bronze, and Dark Bronze, but every brand has different ways of categorising the different colour intensities they offer.

If you’re in doubt, try a lighter shade first so you look sun-kissed rather than orange.

There are also some brands that consider your undertones to direct you to the most suitable shade for your unique skin colour.

For example, some brands will carry a self-tanning product with a:

  • Violet base. Because violet cancels out yellow tones, violet-based tanners are marketed as better suited to warm, already tanned skin, and olive or darker skin shades.
  • Green base. Green cancels out red tones, making green-based tanners better suited to those with pinker skin, and those who experience skin redness.
  • Ash base. Ashier tones are well-suited to people with fairer skin.

Longevity

No one wants to apply their dream tan only to have it all peel off in a few days, which is why you should find a self-tanning lotion that’s long lasting and makes the fiddly application worth the hassle.

Digging through the discount bin at your local chemist for the cheapest product probably won’t leave you with salon-worthy results, so look for a quality product that will last you up to a week - most brands advertise their products as lasting from 5 to 7 days.

It’s normal for a bit of your tan to wash away with every shower you take, but a shower shouldn’t completely remove the rest of the product. Reading through reviews to see how long a product has lasted on other people is usually a great indicator of the self-tanner’s quality and longevity.

If you’re not already using a tanning moisturiser, keeping your skin hydrated with a body lotion will help you maintain an even tan. Remember, a quality, long-lasting tan will ultimately mean less maintenance for you, as you won’t need to reapply as often.

Ingredients

The ingredients you should look for in a self-tanning product will largely depend on your skin type and your personal preferences when it comes to the type and consistency of the formula - we’ve listed a few pointers below.

  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin, it may be a good idea to steer clear of tanning oils or other products with a heavy consistency - sprays or mousses are lighter and will be less harsh on your skin. Keeping an eye out for a tanner with natural soothing ingredients like vitamin E can also help prevent an acne flare up.
  • For those with dry skin, look out for moisturising ingredients such as argan oil and coconut water, and be vigilant about regularly moisturising after you’ve tanned.
  • If you’re easily itchy, the most suitable self-tanners for sensitive skin will generally be ones with natural ingredients that are fragrance free.
  • Facial tanners, such as face tan water or mist, will usually have gentler ingredients. Look for a non-comedogenic product with moisturising ingredients (such as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid) that will keep your face glowing without clogging your pores and causing breakouts.

There’s also growing concern about how ethical and sustainable our cosmetics are, and self-tanning products are no exception.

For those who also shop for the planet, looking for cruelty-free products that haven’t been tested on animals is a great place to start - they get an extra tick of approval if their ingredients are sustainably sourced or are completely vegan.

Smell

The scent of the fake tan is going to be an important factor in which one you decide to go with, as this smell can linger on your skin even after you’ve washed it off. Because smell is so subjective, it’s generally a good idea to try to smell a tester of a tanning product before you decide whether or not you want to buy it.

Many fake tans try to emulate a “summery” feel, so they often smell like coconut. Even if you like the smell of a tanner, consider whether it will clash with the perfume or cologne you wear.

Drying times

Looking for a quickly absorbing and quickly drying fake tan can help prevent the risk of it staining your clothes, towels, and bed linen. It can also just help quicken the tanning process and let you get on with your day.

While many self-tanning products, particularly mousses, may require you to leave them on for up to 8 hours before washing them off to get the desired results, there are some that can be washed off in as little as an hour or two.

It’s difficult to tell whether a product will stain your other items just by looking at the packaging in store - the easiest way to get an idea about how transferable the tanner is is to read reviews.

Ease of use

How easy your tan is to apply will largely depend on the type of tanner you use and its quality. The design of the packaging can also affect its ease of use - if you’re looking for a mousse, look for one that comes in a simple pump bottle that lets you extract an exact amount of product without making a mess.

A tinted product also lets you see where you’ve applied the product on your body, so you can easily create an even tan layer that isn’t streaky once dried.

Untinted fake tanners usually develop color on your skin due to a chemical reaction between it and the tanner over time, so while it may be more difficult to see whether you’ve applied an even layer, you often won’t get the same stark results as an instant tan.

Price

A fake tan usually lasts around a week, so if you want to use it regularly, the costs of tanning can add up pretty quickly.

Value for money isn’t just about the price of a self-tanning product - a product’s longevity, smell, and how good it makes you feel are just some of the things that can make even a pricier self-tanner well worth the amount you fork out for it.

Instant tanners can set you back anywhere from $5 to $100 and upwards, although most will cost somewhere between $20 and $35.

Gradual tanners can cost you from $5 to $40, although most are in the form of lotions or moisturisers and cost between $10 to $20. You should expect to fork out more if you’re looking for a product with more natural or organic ingredients.

Tips for self-tanning

  • Even if your self tanner contains SPF, you will still need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from sun exposure. Self-tanning products with SPF will only provide you with protection for a few hours after you first apply it, not for the entire duration of the tan being on your skin.
  • Exfoliate your body using a scrub or loofah before self tanning - removing dead skin cells should help you achieve an even, deep tan.
  • If you’re using a tanning product for the first time, test it on a discreet patch of skin to see if the colour suits you.
  • To maintain your tan for as long as possible, ensure you moisturise immediately after tanning and every day you have the tan.

Should I visit a professional?

If you have a one-off event that you want to bronze up for, then seeing a professional to give you a flawless finish may be a handy option that will also give you some peace of mind if you’re not particularly confident in your self-tanning ability.

Professional spray tans involve a tanning specialist spraying a tanning solution onto your skin with an airbrush. You can either go to a beauty salon to do this or have a mobile specialist come to your home. They usually cost significantly more than a DIY job, but last longer.

Wrapping up

Whether you’re after a golden glow or a deeper bronze, finding the most natural looking self-tanner can take a bit of trial and error. Choosing a quality skin tanner, prepping your skin, and maintaining your colour with moisturiser should help you achieve and keep a perfect tan.

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