people's choice

The Best Self-Tanners on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

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Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written before about Carole Radziwill’s favorite tanning wipes, heard from the Cut about their favorite self-tanners for the body, and celebrated a certain airbrushing Sally Hansen spray for legs, here, we’re diving into the best self-tanners on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

The Best Self-Tanning Spray

Fake Bake Flawless
Photo: Copyright: Jon-Paul Davis, all moral rights asserted.
Fake Bake Flawless

“I am extremely picky because I am pretty fair-skinned and I always look orange when I try sunless tanners. This product is so different. It’s so natural-looking! It has much more of a red undertone and complements my skin so much! Not to mention it has a really summery, coconut smell and you can immediately see color, so that helps with application. I love the spray-bottle liquid over the lotion also! It leaves much less streaking, if any at all! This is my Holy Grail for sunless tanners. And for $12, this is a steal!”

The Best Self-Tanning Lotion

Tanceuticals CC Cream Self-Tanning Body Lotion

“I tried a few different self-tanners this spring and Tanceuticals is my favorite. The color payoff I get from their ‘dark’ shade is really beautiful. It’s just very even, smooth, and natural-looking (not too dark). I can barely tell my tan is from a tube. I can say the smell of Tanceuticals is to die for. It smells REALLY, REALLY good. As for application, this blends easily and dries super quick with no stickiness. I used the mitt and got a really good result overall. Very pleased customer.”

The Best Self-Tan Wipes

Tan Towel Self-Tan Towelette (10 Count)

“I have tried almost every self-tanner product on the market today. But when I tried the Tan Towel, I knew I had found the perfect fit. I’ve never once had any kind of blotching, streaking, or that obvious orange color that self-tanners often have. The towelettes are so easy to apply. You just simply drag the towelette over any part of your body that you want tanned and let it dry for a while. Within a few hours, the beautiful color will begin to develop. The color has always looked very natural and makes my skin feel soft and healthy.”

The Best Self-Tanning Serum

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Serum

“This serum will be my self-tanner (for medium tan) from now on. My biggest problem has always been streaks. If it doesn’t look natural or it screams ‘self-tanner,’ I stop using it. I’ve tried them all from Fake Bake, Jergens, Banana Boat, Nivea, and even the L’Oréal self-tanning wipes, and all gave me horrible streaks. The trick is to cut this with body lotion. I do a squirt of body lotion to three pumps of self-tanner to do away with streaking. The only downside is, it takes much longer to get a good base tan, so next year, I’ll be starting in the spring.”

The Best St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

“As a tanning connoisseur, I’ve been through many products. I started out with the inexpensive ones because I initially refused to pay so much for a self-tanner, but after going through many (Jergens, Neutrogena, Fake Bake), I found something wrong with each of them, and I was still trying to find a product that was better than the last one. I think St. Tropez is by far the best self-tanner and is worth the money. Pros: no awful smell, the color dries perfectly natural, no orange residue, lasts for around 7 to 12 days.”

The Best Self-Tanning Lotion for Face

Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer

“I hate saying it, but I just look so much healthier and prettier when I consistently use this product! I am naturally pretty pale, especially during the winter. It gives very natural-looking and subtle results, and I have never had any problems with uneven application. I would suggest avoiding this in the under-eye area (if you have dark under eye circles like me). This is not a deep moisturizer, so if you have dry skin like me, you’ll also need something more quenching on top. I also love the price and that it has SPF 20! Have tried many self-tanners, and this is just as good as the pricier options.”

The Best Drugstore Self-Tanner

Banana Boat Self Tanning Sunless Lotion

“I love this stuff and I am on my second tube. I read fantastic reviews about this tanner and gave it a shot. It gives me a golden tan without being orange, and it looks natural, provided I reapply every three days. I also apply Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer every morning, and I make sure to put lotion on at night to keep the tanner hydrated, which helps it from fading in strange ways or looking patchy. I am extremely fair, and this stuff is amazing. The only areas I need to be careful with are my toes, so I try to be very light-handed in those areas so it doesn’t look too dark and patchy.”

The Best Dark Self-Tanner

Ultra Dark Sunless Tanning Lotion

“This lotion is awesome! Much better quality than any drugstore tan in a can crap. Smells amazing, like a cherry lotion. Apply it before bed and wake up at least three shades darker easily. Color doesn’t transfer to clothes or sheets so that is a big plus. Lasts me a few days, usually about three showers before it’s all the way faded. You must exfoliate once a week, it makes a huge difference. I just apply regular lotion in between applications, and it doesn’t cause any streaks or fading. Very happy with this product!!”

The Best Medium Self-Tanner

Bahama Tan Self Tanning Lotion for Face and Body

“I absolutely LOVE Bahama Tan Sunless Tanner!! I have used so many tanners on the market and so far, this is my favorite. This time around, I chose a product without all the ‘bad’ stuff in it (parabens, etc.) and hoped for the best. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I am very fair-skinned and was a little worried ‘medium’ was going to be too dark or orangey. It’s NOT. People keep telling me how nice I look, and honestly I only put it on one time!! I would not need to do multiple days in a row, otherwise it would be too dark. But that’s even better: less hassle, with immediate results. Also, it applied VERY easily with absolutely NO streaking. Love it, love it, love it.”

The Best Light Self-Tanner

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse for Body

“This stuff actually works! The mousse was very easy to apply and blended well. I have very pale skin, but it gave a nice instant glow and hint of color. It is now an hour and a half later, and I’ve got a very natural, light brownish or tan color on my legs, arms, and chest (the areas where I applied). It is kind of amazing, actually. It also doesn’t smell bad at all! Highly recommended.”

The Best Oil-Based Self-Tanner

Beauty by Earth Sunless Tanning Lotion for Face and Body

“Bought this as part of my detox of beauty products. At the time of this review, this product rates a 1 on the EWG Skin Deep website. I didn’t have high hopes for this because I bought this as a replacement for a self-tanner I’ve used for three years, but to my surprise, this is a winner: No orange tint, and it gives me an even, natural-looking tan that seems to last. Yes, the price is a little steep, but a little of this goes a long way. I use a little larger than a pea size to cover my lower leg. Much more than that and it’s like putting on zinc oxide and takes a lot of rubbing to get rid of the white appearance. The smell is nice without being overpowering. Definitely will repurchase.”

The Best Plant-Based Self-Tanner

Skinerals Self Tanner

“I am a dermatologist, and when it comes to tanning, we tell patients to buy it in a bottle. I’ve never been one to use a self-tanner myself until this year. I searched ‘best-seller self-tanner’ on Amazon, and this popped up. The reviews from experienced self-tanners were impressive, and the price was right. After this rookie tried a few times, I’m hooked! The product goes on colored, but deepens with time. It is a really nice color, too. I find it lasts about five days, but I work out three to four times a week and swim, and that is harder on the color. Nonetheless, the product persists. I’ve received many compliments and inquiries about it, and now I’m the one sharing this self-tanner gem with my patients!”

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The Best Self-Tanners, According to Amazon Reviews