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I have always loved being tan, but living in Western PA doesn’t always make it easy to attain that sun kissed glow. I never wanted to go to a tanning bed because I have heard so many mixed reviews and cautionary statements against them. Spray tans were a hassle and more expensive than I wanted, so self tanning spray or mousse seemed like the way to go! I was always nervous about not applying it correctly, so I didn’t use self tanner until college when I felt like I understood it more and had close friends to help me (shoutout to my friend Ali lol).

The first self tanner I used was a friends during a time when we were all getting ready for spring formal and frantically trying to look less sickly and get some color back to our skin. I can’t remember what kind it was, but it was GOOD! I wish I could remember because it was such an easy process and a great product. Sadly, it was not mine to keep 🙁

The next self tanner I used was my other friends who used Isle of Paradise before it was super popular (i’m looking at you Maddy) and it was a lovely product, even better than the unknown one from Sophomore year. It did take me a little longer to figure out because the tanning water didn’t give you as great of an indication of where it was applied like the foam does. It felt better to apply on my skin though because it once applied it dried nicely and left my skin feeling normal. Sometimes with mousse/foam my skin is left feeling like it has some sort of residue on it.

The last self tanner I used was the Fake Bake self tanner which I liked as well. It was a lighter foam that was easily applied but left a distinct smell. I don’t usually get phased by a smell, I feel like it’s part of self tanning for this to happen, but I don’t want to return to this product because I’ve had so many other friends recommend new products to me. So I asked on Instagram what products my followers would recommend and here are the top 10 recommendations with descriptions from the brands to help you get to know them better.

1. B. Tan

“when the darkest tan possible just isn’t quite dark enough, where do you go? why, to the darkest darkest tan possible of course 😉 you’re obviously a super obsessed tanning addict with a huge tanning problem, and we’re not here to judge. in fact darling, we’re here to enable.

vegan friendly. paraben free. no gross tan smell. no added nasties.

2. Tanologist

“This is the ONE if you’re looking to hydrate and build your glow over time. You can also mix with your Self-Tan Drops for an even deeper tan.

The easy-to-use tube guarantees a mess-free application, while the adaptable shade suits all skin tones. Once developed, your glow will last up to one week and fade evenly, like your sun tan would. Reapply as needed to build colour. This is *amazing* for keeping holiday skin glowing for longer.

Using our Gradual Tan Lotion will brighten, soften and hydrate with the power of Pink Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Juniper. The non-comedogenic formula is lightweight enough that it won’t clog pores and feels silky smooth on skin. With our signature, fresh Eucalyptus fragrance, Tanologist is formulated at a low pH to minimize the traditional “tanner” scent.”

3. Isle of Paradise

“Get ready to meet your match: these multi-tasking, color correcting tanning drops put you in total control of your glow. Suitable for use on both face and body, supercharge your skincare with ultra-hydrating coconut, chia seed, and avocado oil. Can be mixed with oils, serums, moisturizers, and even foundation. Getting your paradise glow couldn’t be easier: the more you drop, the more you glow!”

Why You’ll Love Me

  • Integrates self-tanning into your existing skincare regime
  • Suitable for face & body
  • Completely customisable golden glow
  • Travel friendly
  • 100% Vegan & Cruelty Free

4. Bondi Sands

“Experience a sun-kissed tan every time with Bondi Sands Dark Self Tanning Foam. Enriched with aloe vera and infused with a scent of coconut, this lightweight self tanning foam will leave your skin glowing like a day on Bondi beach.”

Suitable For: Those with an olive complexion or those who prefer a darker glow.

Australian Made. Cruelty Free. Vegan.

5. Banana Boat

“Look like summer all year round.
Get golden brown with this self-tanning lotion. Slather it on without worry – it’s streak-free and dries in minutes. Its Self Adjusting Color® formula lets you control the shade of your luscious tan.”

Features & Benefits:

  • Available in Light/Medium and Deep Dark colors
  • For all skin types
  • Contains Aloe Vera Extract and Vitamin E
  • Oil-free
  • Streak-free
  • Quick-drying
  • 6oz. tube
  • Reef Friendly (made without oxybenzone or octinoxate)

6. Tan Luxe


“You’re going to be obsessed with The BODY. Our tailor-made self-tanning concentrated drops work in synergy with your existing body care regime to transform your favorite moisturizer into a custom self-tan with skin firming benefits. The revolutionary dropper system allows for total control; the more you drop, the more you glow!”


“Grown in France, our naturally derived DHA is of the highest quality, to give a natural-looking glow that’s totally unique to your skin tone. Designed with hydrating and skin-boosting ingredients such as raspberry seed oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera, plus caffeine-rich cellutone complex to help skin appear firmer. Also pH balanced at 4.5 to minimize the traditional self-tan smell.”

7. Loving Tan

“Made by tan lovers for tan lovers, Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse gives you a natural looking, sexy tan within minutes. The salon inspired formula provides you with an immediate color, while developing into a deeper, darker tan. The color guide technology ensures an easy, streak free application every time. It is both quick drying and deliciously fragrant. This product is best suited to Medium to Dark skin tones.”

8. St. Tropez


For a natural-looking and trusted dark self tan that tailors to your individual skin tone, try St.Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse. This tried and tested tinted tanning mousse has a darker guide colour to guide application and ensure no missed patches, but continues to develop into an intense deep bronzed tan that suits you over 4-8 hours of wear. Best for those looking for an intense yet natural colour, equivalent to two weeks holiday in the sun.

  • Dark natural tan
  • Tinted tanning mousse to help guide application
  • No self tan smell, streak-free & non-sticky
  • Quick-drying, long-lasting & hydrating with even fade
  • 100% clean, vegan-friendly & natural tanning active

10. Jergens

Well, tried to find a good description of these Natural Glow products but almost every page on the Jergens website gave me the 404 error page… So a not a lot to say here, but I feel like this was actually my first experience with self tanner because I used their moisturizer once thinking it was just lotion!! Thankfully it was a pretty mild self tan.

So these are 10 of the brands that were recommended to me (some brands had multiple recommendations of their products) and I’ll be trying 6 of these soon. I started with some of the cheaper options/the ones I was most interested in to start. If I don’t love them, I’ll go on to try the other options! I got a variety of lotions, drops, and foam to get the best idea of the kind AND brand that I like.

Stay tuned for the results, but it seems like these recommendations are pretty good options from the reviews I’ve gotten 🙂

XOXO, Caro

Top 10 Self Tanning Recommendations