Ready for a healthier way to tan? Say goodbye to the sun and (gasp) tanning beds and check out the top self tanners for men and women this way!
There’s no shame in your game if you want to have a healthy looking glow all year round. Sunless tanners aren’t just for women anymore and, in fact, they’ve actually come a long way over the years.
One of the most common fears in using a self tanner is that you’ll turn into Snooki (aka orange!). Men also fear that they’ll look streaky, too tanned, or that it’ll look like they’re wearing makeup. Well, worry no longer because we’ve checked out some of the top self tanning brands and chose the ones that look the most natural, won’t mess up your skin, and will keep you looking like you just stepped off the beach earlier that day.
If you’re almost ready to give it a try, first-things-first; you gotta prepare for it. Yes, really. Here are 4 must-do’s before you start:
- Shave Before You Use Self Tanner on Your Face: We’re not saying you have to shave before use, but it’ll really help keep the self tanner even and not get clumpy in your beard.
- Try Exfoliating Your Skin: We think this is something you should be doing anyway but, either way, be sure to get rid of that dead and dry skin on your face and all over your body before you apply the tanner. Sure you can buy an exfoliator, but if you don’t feel like it (or forgot to buy it) you can actually create a quick and easy exfoliator right at home. Use your face wash (or applicable body wash) and add some sugar to it. Rub it around a little (not too much so it dissolves) and then lightly apply it to your face and body, rubbing in a circular motion, and then rinse. You’re good to go.
- Protect Your Eyebrows: Lightly add a thin layer of Vaseline over your brows before you apply the self tanner. This will help decrease the chances they’ll get discolored. Once ours had an orange tint to them and, well, that was the worst.
- Stay Dry: Make sure your face and body is totally dry, especially if you’ve just taken a shower. Of course a towel works, but kick on your blow dryer onto a cool setting and give yourself a once over.
[ Update ] We’ve updated our article to feature items that are great for women too since, you know, we received some feedback (bless the Internet) that anyone can use any product for any reason. We learned our lesson and are now working on being more inclusive to all. Welcome women! Hello men!
Shop some of the best self tanners (for men and women) so far in 2021!
The Popular Choice
St. Tropez Mousse Sel Tanner
Amazon Ratings: +8,000
If you don’t love a drippy runny lotion, this just may be the best sunless tanner option for you. This self tanner from St. Tropez is a mousse, so it’s light, foamy, and super easy to apply. It even dries in as little as 60 seconds so you don’t have to stand there naked for 15 minutes waiting to ensure the bronzer doesn’t get on your clothes.
This tanner gave a nice bronze look (without looking too tanned) and definitely didn’t give any orange vibes at all. Not that we don’t love Snooki, but still. Overall it looked like a pretty natural tan and didn’t leave any streaks.
We recommend picking up the ‘Applicator Mitt’ so you can more easily get those harder to reach places like your back (it’ll help cut down on the streaks there too). Your tan fades pretty evenly over time and should last up to around 10 days. As a bonus we loved that it was free of paraben, sulfate, and phthalate. Plus, it smelled pretty good! Learn more here!
The Best Overall Choice
Tan Towel Self Tanner for Face and Body
Amazon Ratings: +2,000
$21.75 (25% Off!)
If you’re paranoid over an uneven tan or (gasp) streaks like we are, Tan Towel eased all of those fears for us. This self tanner is perfect for your face and your body. It comes with 10 towels and are super easy to use. You basically just wipe down where you want your tan and you’re done. Ok, it takes a little bit more than that, but it’s still so easy.
Every Tan Towel has its unique clear liquid tanner in it so all you have to do is unfold it and, using circular motions, rub it over your body. We recommend to make sure your skin is clean and totally dry. Like, 100% dry. It just makes the process all that much easier. Within around 2-4 hours you’ll start to see your tan shine through and this one will last up to around 7 days.
Thanks to the towel you definitely don’t have to worry about streaks or missing a spot (hello ankles and elbows!). Learn more here!
The Drugstore Choice
Neutrogena ‘Micro Mist’ Self Tanning Spray
Amazon Ratings: +2,300
$8.99 (22% Off!)
If you don’t want to spend a ton and simply want to swing by your favorite drugstore to kick up your tan, this micro-mist from Neutrogena is your best bet. This one will spray on evenly and you don’t even have to rub it in. Plus, it’ll increase your tan by about two shades so you don’t have to worry about looking “overdone.”
We love, like with most products from Neutrogena, that it’s oil free and won’t clog your pores. You’ll start to see your tan kick in anywhere from 2 to 4 hours and it’ll last for a few days. You should be able to get this one for under $10. Learn more here!
The Best Face Choice
Dr. Dennis Gross Glow Pad
Dr. Dennis Gross
Nordstrom Ratings: +160
If you’re just looking to give some color to your face and neck, this is one of the best and easiest ways to do it. It’s a top seller from major luxury retailers like Nordstrom and Sephora and we’re fans too! It’s actually pretty cost effective too. One box will provide you with 20 individually packaged towelettes. These also help with some of your exfoliating issues too! Learn more here!
The Organic Choice
Beauty By Earth Organic Self Tanner for Anyone
Beauty By Earth
Amazon Ratings: +11,000
This is one of the best organic options with natural ingredients on the market today. It has great ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, green tea, and more. It’s perfect for your face and body, doesn’t take too long to dry, and you’ll start to see results in around 4-6 hours. Plus, your tan will last anywhere from 4-7 days. Learn more here!
The On-Trend Choice
The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water
Isle of Paradise
Amazon Ratings: +1,200
Nope, you don’t drink it! Self tanning water is all the rage this season especially for those of us who are tired of ruining their sheets, pillowcases, comforters, towels, white t-shirts and, well, pretty much anything else we come in contact with! It’s vegan-friendly and organic and is super easy (and refreshing) to apply. It smells pretty rad too! Learn more here!