The Ultimate Guide to Self Tanner – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Self Tanning

The Ultimate Guide to Self Tanner – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Self Tanning



The Best Self Tanners

  • The Best Self Tanners of 2022
  • Self Tanners Recommended by Beauty Bloggers
  • The Self Tanner Everyone is Buzzing about: Beauty by Earth
  • 10 of the Best Sunless Tanners for Summer
  • The Best Self Tanner

Applying Self Tanner

  • How to Apply Self Tanner
  • How to use self tanner — 8 tips you may not know
  • Expert-level tips on how to apply self tanner to the hardest spots
  • A guide to clean self tanner: Everything you need to know about sunless tanning
  • How to Create a Self Tanner Contour
  • How to get the perfect self tan — even during winter!

Self Tanner Frequently Asked Questions

Self Tanner Ingredients

  • Worst ingredients commonly found in self tanners
  • Hydrating ingredients you want in your self tanner
  • What is DHA

Self Tanner Results

The Best Self Tanners - 2022

If you’re not caught up with just how much we love self tanning around here, let us remind you again babe! We love to glow, and we live for finding new and safe ways to get our bronze on all year ‘round. And while we might adore our BBE self tanners the most (ok, guilty), there are other gems out there that we think also deserve some serious props. If you’re obsessed with being a glowing goddess as much as we are, check out 20 of the best self tanners out there, right now.

Beauty by Earth – Self Tanner (the OG, must-have self tanner to have in your bathroom vanity at all times)

You already know that this one is a keeper. Safe for even the most sensitive babes, this vegan self tanner is still blowing up the internet 6 years later . . . For real, you make us blush guys! We will always make our self tanner with the best vegan, and organic ingredients out there. Oh and, we guarantee we will never be responsible for making you look like Cheeto. Nope. Just streak-free, glowing self-tans around here, baby.

Why Beauty by Earth’s Self Tanner Lotion is Queen

  • BEAUTIFUL GLOW: Our self tanner transforms your skin from pale to a natural glow. Transforms even the most fair skin from “meh” to “marvelous” without any of those nasty streaks, orange color, blotches, or dark spots.
  • CRUELTY-FREE: This baby is certified Leaping Bunny Cruelty-Free! That means no animals were harmed in the making of this beauty.
  • ZERO DYES or Harsh Chemicals: Perfect alternative to brands that sell chemical filled tanners containing artificial colorants and fragrances among other toxic ingredients. Instead this tanner is filled with ingredients like organic aloe vera, shea butter, extracts and DHA. This vegan sunless tanning lotion is also certified cruelty free.
  • NO ORANGE: If you have sensitive skin or are just plain pale, this is for you. Men, women and even teens use our tanning cream and look like they have just returned from travel a beachy vacation spot.
  • LOVE IT OR MONEY BACK: We know you’re gonna love what our self tanning moisturizer can do. Your satisfaction is our promise to you.

Isle of Paradise – Self Tanning Water

A self tanning water? Who would have thought? We love this product for how easy it is to apply, and how evenly it goes on. What’s more, it’s easy to layer up with it if you decide you need just a little more bronzy goodness after your results develop. Plus, if thick creams aren’t your jam, this Isle of Paradise gem is an excellent alternative.

St-Tropez – Gradual Tan Watermelon Infusion Body Lotion (that was a mouthful)

Not only does this stuff smell delicious, it is the perfect self tanning option for the babe who is a rookie in the glow game. Because this product gives you a gradual glow, you don’t have to worry about waking up in the morning looking all kinds of wild. Simply apply this bad boy as you would your regular body moisturizer, and watch your tan appear at a rate you can totally deal with.

L’Oreal – Sublime Bronze Self Tanner

Old school but good school, we’ve all tried a L’Oreal self tanner at some point in our lives! But hey, the results speak for themselves and we love how lightweight this lotion is. Moreover, l’Oreal offers this product in a small range of shades, so you can be in control of just how tanned you get!

Coco & Eve – Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam

A self tanner that helps reduce the appearance of cellulite? Sign us up, honey. Formulated with CellushapeTM to help hydrate and firm your skin, Coco & Eve’s bronzing foam is high up on our list of favorites. On top of that, it’s vegan and only contains natural DHA, or as they like to say “no nasties”. Yep, we can definitely get behind that.

Dr. Dennis Gross – Alpha Beta Gradual Glow Pad Self-Tanner (a.k.a. the best self tanning cloths for your face)

Ok this little self tanning invention is one we think every busy girl needs. Let’s face it. On some mornings, throwing on some concealer and mascara just won’t cut it. If you’re feeling (and looking) tired, a quick self tan on that pretty face can change your day for the better. Having these gradual glow pad self tanners on hand is a must when you need a quick pick me up, sans oompa loompa vibes.

Jergens – Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse

Talk about an easy to use, blendable formula that you can *conveniently* find at any drugstore. Not to mention, a super affordable option that works for rookies and pro self tanners alike. We love that Jergens continues to make this product in shades like “light tan” all the way to “deep bronze” so everyone can pick their perfect glow, easily.

Bondi Sands – Pure Self Tan Water

Ok, we’ll admit it. This self tan water thing is pretty cool. Bondi Sands has also come out with their own version of this self tanner, and it delivers gorgeous results. On top of that, it is fragrance free and safe for sensitive skin. We also dig how they added Vitamins C & E to their formula to give your skin that extra bit of love it so deserves.

Tarte – Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner

Check this bad boy out. Tarte’s Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner sure packs the “plus” in its name. We’re talking a tinted bronze gel that not only steps your glow game way up, but that also exfoliates and nourishes your skin at the same time. What’s more, this self tanner leaves no icky smell behind which in our books, is a huge plus (pun totally intended).

Clarins – Self Tanning Milk

If you’re looking for a little luxury in your life, why not incorporate it through your self tanner. Clarins’ self tanning milk is like a slice of heaven, for real. We love using this after a nighttime shower to hydrate, and wake up looking fab. This guy is packed with hydrating ingredients, and leaves a scent of figs behind. Suffice it to say, this is one of our fave classic self tanners that you can always count on for consistent results.

Coola – Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion

If you’re a sucker for any body lotion with the word “firming” in it, this one’s for you babe. And honestly, why not get your multitasking hat on and firm up while glowing up. That’s exactly what this next product on our list of the 20 best self tanners does. Coola’s sunless tan firming lotion has a pina colada sent that will have you feeling like you just stepped off the beach, and caffeine to help your skin look its firmest and best.

Josie Maran – Argan Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil

The queen of argan oil, Josie Maran does it again with this liquid gold self tanning oil. And while some of us might not gravitate towards a body oil for tanning purposes, this product will have you rethinking your self tan habits! Ultra hydrating and scented like vanilla apricot, this stuff will take your tan to another level. Not to mention, the argan oil in this self tanner will leave your skin feeling smooth, and instantly nourished.

Body Drench – Quick Tan Self Tan Dry Oil

And since we are on the topic of self tanning oils, this next option by Body Drench has to be mentioned. This dry oil instantly sinks into your skin, and provides some impressive results. Apply this to your gams if you’re showing them off, and you’ll get that glowy sheen effect that makes your legs look fab. Pro tip: we also love this stuff applied to your décolleté for an extra little something something on your next night out.

Vita Liberata – Ten Minute Tan for Face & Body

Next up is this luxurious self tanner for babes on the go. And when they say ten minute tan, the babes at Vita Liberata were not playing. This self tanner gives an *almost* instant pick me up to the skin, and takes seconds to dry. Moreover, it provides a deep and rich shade of bronze that can quickly become addictive (we warned you!).

Alba Botanica – Sunless Tanner

Inexpensive, natural looking color in less than 3 hours? Yes, you heard that right. Alba Botanica’s sunless tanner made our list of the 20 best self tanners for good reason. It’s non-greasy, non-streaky, and will never break the bank. Oh and, it sure doesn’t hurt that it is cruelty free and formulated without nasty parabens. All and all, this easy to apply self tanner is a must-try for tanning rookies and veterans alike.

Skin Authority – Sunless Tanner

If you’re looking for a self tanner that has Vitamins C, D, and E and exfoliating properties galore, this is it babe. We love Skin Authority’s formula for how hydrating it is, and how it delivers a dark and luxe hue of tan. Moreover, the results look natural and actually last. Let’s just say, this self tanner does not play babe, and it is totally worth the try.

Elaluz – Overnight Facial Glow

If you want to wake up moisturized, glowing, and all kinds of fabulous, we definitely recommend giving the Elaluz overnight facial glow cream a try. Formulated with Brazillian skin conditioners such as cacay and babassu seed oils, your skin will drink this stuff up. What’s more, it provides a gradual glow so you don’t need to worry about not-so-natural-looking results.

Loving Tan – 2 Hour Express Tanning Mousse

Highly reviewed and highly popular, this 2 hour express tanning mousse from Loving Tan is a fave amongst self tanning junkies everywhere. Easy to apply, and ready to rinse off in just two hours – this product is just what you need before a night out on the town or when you simply need a little glow in your step. Fast, streak-free results? We’re into that.

Clinique – Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion

We had to include this classic go to lotion in our list of 20 of the best self tanners. Clinique’s self sun body tinted lotion was made to mimic a golden tan, and that it does. You’ll notice sun kissed results within a few hours of applying this product, and sensitive babes will love how non-irritating this formula is.

And last but certainly not least: BBE’s new Self Tanner Mousse

In our humble opinion, we saved the best for last beautiful. BBE’s new self tanner mousse is the vegan, result-delivering formula you’ve been waiting for. With the help of your trusted tanning mitt, this fluffy and lightweight mousse applies *so* evenly to your skin.

What’s more, what makes this latest self tanning innovation from BBE stand out from the rest is none other than natural grape seed oil. It’s moisturizing, anti-aging, and will keep your glow lasting for longer. Trust us when we say, you’ll wanna add to cart on this one.

How to Create a Self Tanner Contour

Just when you thought the contour trend had calmed down, in comes another face sculpting hack that is taking the internet by storm. If you love the look of snatched cheeks and a chiseled nose, why not keep it going on long after you’ve washed off your makeup? Check out how you can create a natural-looking self-tanner contour, down below!

First thing’s first… You need a clean canvas.

Make sure your face is squeaky clean. That means no makeup, no moisturizers! If you have dry patches and don’t want your self-tanner to cling to them, apply a bit of moisturizer and wait at least 20 minutes for it to really sink into your skin before you move on to the self-tan contouring magic.


Pro tip: We recommend using a lightweight foaming wash that won’t leave any residue on your pretty face.

Line up all of your tools.

You’ll only need a few things, so don’t stress! We love using a flat kabuki brush, or any other tapered brush we typically reach for when contouring.

And of course, you’ll need the all-star natural face self-tanner or another from our line up.

Time to contour!

Now comes the fun part. Contouring takes practice, and we definitely recommend figuring out your own contour preferences by first trying them out with makeup. Because hey, taking makeup off is a little simpler than getting rid of a self-tan, #amirite?

There are a few simple tricks you can use when contouring:

  1. Suck in your cheeks to see exactly where your cheekbones need contouring.
  2. For the illusion of a smaller forehead, take your contour up into your hairline.
  3. Slim out your nose by simply running your contour along both sides of it.

If you need a visual aid, YouTube is where it’s at babe! Trust us, it’s easy and you’ll be contouring like a pro in no time.

If you can, hit the hay.

We recommend doing this ritual at night so that your tan has the time it needs to set in. So settle in for a solid 6-8 hours, and let that self-tan contour work its wonders!

Wake up contoured and glowing baby.

The next morning, take a look at the beauty of your hard work! You can lightly rinse your face, but try to forego using a cleanser for this first wash. Apply some moisturizer, and carry on as you normally would!

Voilà, gorgeous! You’ve just mastered how to create a self-tan contour! Those cheekbones are looking pretty sculpted and glowy, if we do say so ourselves 😉

How to Get the Perfect Self Tan – Even During Winter!

If the sudden switch in weather has you wishing you were on an island (Fiji, Tahiti – any of these would do at this point), we feel you, babe. And although there are a *ton* of things we are going to deeply miss about summer (bye, long warm nights), a tan certainly isn’t one of them. You see, no matter what the season, we don’t believe in baking out in the sun’s harmful rays.

We do, however, believe in looking tanned and glowing no matter what the temperature is outside. Having the right products is one thing. But the tips to go along with them is what will make you graduate from being a rookie to a self tanning pro. Trust us, girlfriend. You’ll want to send this one to all of your friends. Here is everything you ever needed to know about how to get the perfect self tan – even during winter!

Prepping your skin is everything, no matter what the season.

Let’s be honest. The number one fear when it comes to giving yourself an at-home self tan is looking streaky and orange. And honestly, we totally sympathize with those concerns. So many self tanners do not apply evenly, are hard to blend out, and just have the wrong color pigmentation. That being said, we sorta changed the game when it comes to self tanning products. However, prepping your skin before you use these gems is still absolutely essential for your tan to be a glowing success.

In comes the stellar line-up of BBE body scrubs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a coffee bean-loving babe or more of a lavender citrus goddess. Any of these body exfoliators will get rid of dry flakes. Thus, ensuring that your skin is ready for your self tanner application. And if you want to get your complexion glowing, opt for BBE’s facial scrub that will take care of prepping the skin on your cute face, too. Getting rid of dry flakes means that your self tanner will go on smoothy and that you’ll avoid those blotchy, undesirable results everyone screeches at.

We should also mention that not all exfoliators are created equal. Some of these guys can dry out your skin after using them, which is counterproductive to what you want, pre-self tan. BBE’s body scrubs get rid of dryness while infusing moisture back into your skin. Meaning, you’ll be completely self-tanner-ready when you hop out of the shower.

In the winter months, consider using a body wash that is infused with hydrating oils pre and post-self tanner application.

So you’ve got the exfoliating part down packed. Not to mention, you’re now pretty obsessed with the results that BBE scrubs deliver. We can’t blame ya, babe. However, if you want to get and preserve the perfect self tan even during winter, this next tip is vital.

Forget using body washes that strip your skin of the moisture it needs. Not only will this feel uncomfortable during the dry winter months, but it will also diminish how long your self tan lasts. Instead, opt for a body wash that is packed with nourishing essential oils. You know, something like BBE’s options, right here.

The right tools are always essential to getting the perfect self tan.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the 4th of July or Boxing Day, gorgeous. The right tools are always crucial to getting the self tan of your dreams – at home!

Think of these as investment pieces on your journey to becoming a pro self tanner. Hey, it’s the little things that will separate you from being an uneven-looking oompa loompa and a glowing tanned queen. Plus, you don’t have to wish you had a partner when you have a self tanner back applicator, #amirite? Nope. With one of these babies, you can get even results all over like the independent babe you are. In addition to that, using mitts to apply self tanner to the rest of your body and face will prevent the dreaded orange palms aftermath everyone dreads. On top of that, it will ensure that your products are evenly applied and perfectly blended.

Winter is the time to build your self tan.

If there’s one pro-tip you should take away from this How to Get the Perfect Self Tan – Even During Winter blog, it’s this next one. We all know that winter is a time where your skin might feel dryer. Therefore, layering up on self tanner can be an easy way to nourish your skin and keep your glow game strong.

But babe, not so fast. Not all self tanners are formulated with nourishing essential oils and ingredients that actually make your skin healthier. So before you go frantically looking for a cheap flight to Bora Bora (ps. there is no such thing), check out BBE’s lineup of luscious and moisturizing self tanners that will make winter seem a little less glum. Oh and, that are completely easy to re-apply and build as much as your heart desires!

The Self Tanner Lotion

Beauty junkies have called this gem an amazing body moisturizer where the self tan part is just a plus. This bad boy is loaded with hydrating coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and argan oil that all act as serious hydrators for your skin. During the winter months, we recommend re-applying this self tanner lotion every 2-3 days to keep your skin glowing and silky smooth.

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