The 18 Best Self-Tanners on the Market in 2023 to Shop for a Natural-Looking Glow

These top-tier, affordable options will leave you bronzed in no time.
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When it comes to finding the right sunless tanner, there are several criteria to keep in mind. Not only do you need to find the proper shade for your faux glow, you’ve also got a variety of formulas to choose from—including foams, sprays, serums and lotions, to name a few—and, if you’re planning to fake bake on a regular basis, affordability is a must.

No matter what format you choose, there are a few essentials to keep in mind when it comes to self-tanner to prepare your skin and maintain your sunkissed-look. Before application, make sure to prep your skin by exfoliating. You want to apply the product on clean, hydrated skin, so use a moisturizer on your face and entire body for more even color distribution.

When it comes to making your tan last longer, hydration is again key! Moisturize your skin regularly and avoid taking super hot showers to extend your time in between applications. Before you repeat the process, remove your existing self-tanner by exfoliating in the shower before applying again to avoid patchiness.

As for the best products to use, we’ve done the research for you so you can find a self-tanner from the list below that suits your needs. Take a look at these eight SI Swimsuit-approved picks and you’ll be sun-kissed (safely!) in no time.

St. Tropez Bundle, $53 (amazon.com)

This tanning mousse is a staple on SI Swimsuit photoshoots for a reason. It’s easy to apply, is streak-free and fast-drying without that sticky feel some self-tanners leave behind.

Jergens Natural Glow, $9.97 (amazon.com)

If you’re looking for an affordable daily moisturizer that will subtly build your glow over time, this is your go-to.

Neutrogena Build-A-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion, $14.24 (amazon.com)

New to the self-tanning game? Try a buildable formula like this one that allows you to gradually add more color.

SOL by Jergens Medium Water Mousse, $9.45 (amazon.com)

This water-based formula is infused with coconut water and is available in both medium and deep shades. Reviewers agree that the mousse is easy to apply and creates streak-free color.

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner, $33.99 (amazon.com)

A vegan option without sulfates, parabens or phthalates, this tanning lotion is packed with organic shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil and argan oil. In addition to hydrating your skin, it’ll give you a glow within six to eight hours after application.

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Towelettes, $10 (amazon.com)

These single-use tanning towelettes are great for on-the-go application, and are foolproof for beginners.

Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Self Tanner Mousse, $35 (amazon.com)

Available in medium and dark shades, this lightweight and fast-drying mousse formula is developed specifically without orange undertones.

COOLA Suncare Sunless Tan Sculpting Mousse, $48 (nordstrom.com)

In addition to easy application due to the mousse formula, this product contains caffeine and green coffee extracts that are designed to firm and smooth the skin.

Tan Towel Self-Tan Towelette, $30 (amazon.com)

Want to boost your bronze on the go? Throw a few of these wipes, suitable for both face and body, in your bag and you’re good to glow.

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Natural Glow Face Drops, $32 (sephora.com)

Packed with vitamin C, avocado and aloe, these drops are meant to be added to your moisturizer and guarantee a glow within four to six hours.

Dolce Glow Self-Tanning Mist, $48 (ulta.com)

Get streak-free application thanks to the 360 degree spray coverage of this Miley Cyrus-approved brand.

Tan-Luxe The Gradual Illuminating Tan Lotion, $34 (sephora.com)

This hydrating formula is both paraben- and cruelty-free, and many reviewers point out that it provides a realistic-looking tan that doesn’t transfer to sheets or clothing.

Tanologist Daily Glow Hydrating Gradual Tan Lotion, $13.99 (ulta.com)

Another affordable option, this formula is available in two shades and boasts ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane. Apply it like you would your typical body lotion.

Clarins Self Tanning Face Booster Drops, $36 (ulta.com)

Mix two to three drops into your go-to face moisturizer for a natural, sun-kissed glow year round.

Tanologist Express Tan Mousse, $19.99 (ulta.com)

This water-to-foam mousse formula can be applied directly to skin and and blended with a tanning mitt. Reviewers note that it’s a great natural-looking option for those with pale skin.

Marrakech Sun, $32 (whind.com)

These face bronzing drops are infused with hyaluronic acid, so they hydrate as they build your faux-glow. Massage drops directly onto your skin or mix with your favorite moisturizer or face oil.

Self-Tanning Mist, $40 (petajanebeauty.com)

This fast-drying spray doesn’t require a mitt for application, and can be used in place of a finishing spray as the last step in your makeup routine for an instant glow.

N°32 Original Hydrating Self-Tanning Cream, $36 (luxunfiltered.com)

This non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free formula is available in two different scents: Rosewood and Santal, and is packed with hydrating ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter. One happy customer called the rich body cream a “holy grail product.”

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Published
Cara O’Bleness

CARA O’BLENESS

Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.