I’m a faux tan fan. If there was ever a time in my life that I’d be compared to the shade of a Cheeto, it would have been the summer of 2002 when friends and family wouldn’t be able to identify me in a lineup. Foams, lotions, and oily sprays were all the rage in self-tanning almost 20 years ago, and thankfully, brands are keen to consumer’s needs and have perfected most of the self-tanning products on the market.
In this post, I’m going to talk about self-tanning products that I’ve tried personally, and those that I have not tried, but heard rave reviews about (ones that are on my wishlist). Summer is creeping up quickly, ladies and gents! Let’s get our tan on!
I am an avid user of Bioderma’s skincare products. They are reliable, gentle, and offer a wide array of products that serve different needs. My first trial with Photoderm Autobronzant proved it to be a winner in my book. This product is a spray-on product that delivers a very fine mist. Without rubbing or worrying much about the product running as you apply it, this mist is fine enough to cover body parts without leaving missed areas. I spray my face, neck, decolletage, arms, and legs if I’m not doing a full bikini bod.
This self-tanner dries fast, so I can stand in a towel for just a minute or two before I can dive into my clothing. The tan is very natural and soft and is buildable. According to the Bioderma website, you are supposed to use the product once per day for three days straight, then once every two days.
PROS: Moisturizes the skin by almost 50% more than before you applied it, even tan, long-lasting tan, easy to use. Paraben-free. Affordable.
CONS: Wish I could find it in a bigger size! You also have to wait for your tan to develop–takes about an hour to 3 hours for the results to appear.
Made with 100 Percent Natural DHA–derived from sugar cane and sugar beets, St. Tropez is queen when it comes to self-tanners on the shelf. The price is $6.57 per ounce if you want to break it down. If the price is holding you back from trying this brand, I wait until the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in late summer to grab a deal on a giant size of this tanning foam.
The product is very easy to apply with their tan applicator mitt (sold separately), and I have yet to see any unsightly streaking with this product.
PROS: No streak formula, easy to apply, not messy. Your tan appears instantly! The product is already tinted. CRUELTY-FREE!
CONS: With this product, I noticed some dry patches. Those who moisturize daily may not experience that.
I have not yet tried on this lovely brand, but I saw someone who did and I was blown away by the natural-looking tan that this woman had! I am going to Hawaii this summer, and I definitely need this product with me. Just looking at the before and after shots from real customers, I am sold on this golden olive tone that looks like I’ve sailed straight in from the Bahamas.
PROS: Loving Tan products are cruelty-free, vegan, and all-natural. Looks very natural from what I’ve witnessed.
CONS: It is not easily available in stores. I only see it at Ulta.com and LovingTan.com. If you know where we can buy it in-store, leave a comment below!
This is my tanning BFF from back in the day! I bought this on a whim many summers ago, and I looked like such a beach Barbie! This formula is probably the least orange of the bunch that I’ve tried–sometimes a little warmth adds color for some folks–but this one is very olive and can get pretty dark. I’d say this one is not for beginners! The spraying process itself can be difficult, but worth the effort.
PROS: Good value for the price, and it also includes the application mitt. Looks very tan, if you are going for that type of look.
CONS: In my experience, this is extremely messy. You need to stand on a towel and make sure it doesn’t get on clothing or rugs, or any surface! It does stain.
COOLA Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum $54
I am a big fan of the COOLA SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray–it is the best I’ve tried for my oily skin, and I’ve tried many. Naturally, I got excited when I saw this sunless serum by COOLA that has anti-aging benefits. Another item on my wishlist, this eco-certified product contains argan oil, which is awesome for natural hydration. I’d like to note that most of the self-tanners above are not to be used on the face, which is why I included this one since it looks really promising.
PROS: Anti-aging is always good. I love the list of organic ingredients as well as the packaging itself.
CONS: You might be thrown off by the price, but it is a skincare product that will help firm and give your skin elasticity. The only con is that it is not on my bathroom counter. Wishlist!
That about does it for my list of fabulous faux tanning products for the summer! We will see you next year for another round.
Hello! I am a makeup artist veteran with almost 20 years of experience in the retail, freelance and editorial world of beauty. I’ve been beauty blogging for 10 years, with a focus on color cosmetics and skincare. Want me to review something? Just give me a holler!