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The Best Sunless Tanners of 2019, Ranked

Sunless Tanners: The Best of 2019

The summer season is almost over, and that means the time to get a summer-like glow is going to be far past us. But, just because summer is over, that doesn’t mean that you have to forego a great tan until next season. Sunless tanner has been around for a while now in one form or another, and although the results were originally sketchy, modern incarnations have improved vastly in terms of quality and application. Sunless tanner is something that you can use to get a tan without ever having to lie in the sun, and that’s something that most people like about it. Life is so hectic... who has time to stay and tan all day? Sunless tanner takes the guesswork out of creating a beautiful tan on your skin.

We all yearn for that golden complexion at some point or another in our lives, and the current crop of sunless tanners will give you a pleasant glow without the potential risk to your skin. Sunless tanner is generally made from natural ingredients which makes using it a far better alternative than laying down in front of the harmful UV rays, not to mention the fact that some sunless tanner also doubles as a sunscreen. We are going to be comparing the best sunless tanners to choose from, all of which offer an intrinsic value for those who want to get that golden glow without having to wait for the beach season.

The world of self-tanners is full of reputable brands that promise exceptional results and finding one that will give you a natural-looking tan can seem like an overwhelming task. Getting a real tan can be a bit of a challenge if you have a busy schedule, which is why many users turn to self-tanners to get some sort of quick fix.

The Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner is a great way to get a natural tan with very little work, offering a pleasant blend of natural ingredients that combine to make a standout natural tan. The Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner is infused with the likes of sunflower seed oil and aloe, which combine to create a silky smooth skin.

The Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner comes in a squeeze bottle which is easy to apply, creating a notably natural tan in just a few days of usage. The natural ingredients make this self-tanning lotion a perfect fit for vegans and animal lovers alike, and you can’t beat the natural look of the finished result. The Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance PLUS+ Self Tanner is available in quite a few different shades, and you can expect the lotion to go on with a nice smooth finish.

Key Features
  • Natural maracuja for the benefit of fatty acids on the skin
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Aloe
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 7 x 1.9 inches
  • Drying TIme: 1 hour
  • Consistency: firm
Pros
  • Natural exfoliant
  • Deep-toned natural tint
Cons
  • No smell
  • Squeeze bottle is not very large

Building on a great tan is never an easy thing to do, but the right sunless tanning lotion can create a realistic tan with far less effort than having to lie in the sunlight for hours at a time. When it comes to a standout product that will help you get that one-of-a-kind glow, the St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion is a step ahead. The first thing that most people will notice right off the bat is just how smooth the coloration is, with nice natural tones that blend into the skin perfectly. The St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion is more than just a lotion, and with the built-in moisturizing properties, you just can’t go wrong with this one of a kind tanning lotion.

The consistency of the St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion is quite thick, and a little goes a long way. You won’t have to worry about streaking, but you will have a long-term color that will blend nicely with your natural skin tone. When it comes to choosing a sunless tanning lotion you don’t want something that looks fake, and this is why a lot of consumers try to steer clear of sunless tanning lotion. But, the St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion will give you a natural glow that also manages to moisturize your skin.

Key Features
  • Transformation formula for an adjustable tan
  • Mood-boosting fragrance
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 7 x 1.9 inches
  • Drying TIme: 1 hour
  • Consistency: Thick
Pros
  • No tan smell
  • Built-in moisturizer
  • Tan goes from light to dark depending on how much you use
Cons
  • Drying time can take a bit
  • Formula is a bit thick

Summertime is among us and we are all striving for that perfect golden tan, but sometimes our daily schedules are just too busy to spend time at the beach or laying in the sun. Sunless tanning lotion is a great way to get that beautiful brown tan right from the comfort of your own home, but there are so many different sunless tanning lotions on the market so how can you choose? Well, the Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion is targeted toward vegan customers who want a natural-looking tan without all of the side effects that come with most generic brands. Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion is made from a paraben-free, vegan formula, and the formulation absorbs into the skin quickly for a great on-the-go look.

Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion is not greasy like most sunless tanning lotions, and because it's infused with Shea butter you can best believe that your skin is going to get the nourishment that it deserves. Most sunless tanning lotions will leave some sort of orange film on the skin, and that's why many people try to stay away from these. But, Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion doesn’t leave any type of orange film on the skin which means that you’ll get a quick natural-looking tan that looks great in any outfit.

Key Features
  • Long lasting, 3-5 days
  • Quick drying formula
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 3 x 5 inches
  • Drying TIme: 10 Minutes
  • Consistency: Thin
Pros
  • Vegan friendly
  • Won't streak or stain clothing
  • Nourishing Shea butter for moisturizing
Cons
  • Bottle will only last about a week
  • Tone might not be dark enough for all tastes

When it comes time to use a self-tanning lotion, the market is flooded with choices, but the natural choices are rapidly becoming the way to go. The James Read Tan Instant Bronzing Mist is a great way to get a natural-looking tan that will build up after a few days of application. You’ll notice that most self-tanners are either a lotion or a mousse, but this bronzing mist is another great way to get a natural coloration with minimal effort.

The James Read Tan Instant Bronzing Mist has an all-natural formula, which is great for animal lovers and vegans alike. If you want a natural-looking tan without all of the chemicals that most self-tanners have the James Read Tan Instant Bronzing Mist is a great choice.

You can create a darker tan by applying the James Read Tan Instant Bronzing Mist daily for a week, and you’ll notice the difference right away. The James Read Tan Instant Bronzing Mist takes a few hours to develop, but once it does you’ll notice that it offers a nice and even bronze color that will make your skin look great in the wintertime and the summertime.

Key Features
  • 360 degree nozzle
  • Tan lasts for five days
  • Lightweight mist
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 8 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 6.9 inches
  • Drying TIme: Develops in 3-5 hours
  • Consistency: Mist
Pros
  • 360-degree nozzle is perfect for spraying
  • Tan comes out looking very natural
  • Ultra-lightweight
Cons
  • Takes 2-5 days to develop
  • Might not be right for all skin tones

The thing that most people are looking for in a self-tanner is instant results, and although this can be a great thing there are self-tanning lotions that also take a bit longer but they create a moisturizing effect as well. If you suffer from dry skin, the last thing that you want to do is have a self-tanner dry onto it, but the Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask offers a different way to get a golden tan and still have smooth skin.

The Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask, which is available in a lotion bottle, is 100 percent natural and paraben-free, utilizing a mixture of aloe vera and other certified organic products. This self-tanning lotion creates a moisture-locking effect that also slowly creates a golden brown tan.

The Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask slowly creates a natural golden tan with daily use. You won’t have to worry about tan lines or that hideous orange glow that many self-tanners will leave, and instead, you’ll get a seriously golden tan any time during the year. If you have been seeking a beautifully natural golden tan without the harsh chemicals that many self-tanners have in them, the Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask is a great way to get an awesome-looking tan.

Key Features
  • Hydrating lotion
  • Exfoliates the skin in addition to creating a smooth tan
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 3 x 6.8 inches
  • Drying TIme: 15 Minutes
  • Consistency: Thick
Pros
  • 100% Organic formula
  • Zero scent
  • Zero transfer to your clothing
Cons
  • Very thick formula
  • Lotion bottle can get messy if you squeeze too hard

Vying for a summertime glow can be a hard thing to accomplish for most of us who have busy schedules during the day, making beach time out of the question. But, you still want to have that nice golden tan throughout the year. There is a product that will give you that signature glow with very little effort, and it's the L'Oréal Paris Self-Tanning Water Mousse.

While most products make use of a thick lotion, this product is a self-tanning mousse that goes on nice and thin without creating a mess. The L'Oréal Paris Self-Tanning Water Mousse gives you a gradual tan that develops over a few days of usage, it will start very light and work its way to a darker tone as the days go on.

The L'Oréal Paris Self-Tanning Water Mousse is very much similar to how a real tan would develop, which makes this product a one-of-a-kind solution. The formula is enriched with Vitamin E and natural coconut water which works together to hydrate your skin like never before, truly this is a standout self-tanning lotion that creates a natural and beneficial tan. The L'Oréal Paris Self-Tanning Water Mousse is a step above most of the self-tanners that are currently on the market. If you want a natural-looking tan that will also hydrate your skin, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Key Features
  • Enriched with coconut water
  • Mousse goes on nice and light
  • Quick drying mousse for long term results
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 1.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Drying TIme: 4-8 hours
  • Consistency: Mousse
Pros
  • Beach smell leaves skin with a pleasant scent
  • Lightweight mousse is easy to apply
  • A little goes a long way
Cons
  • Don't expect short term results; this takes a few days to develop
  • Not available in a bigger size

Tanning is something that we all dread, because it can take a bit of work to actually get that signature summer glow that you see in the magazines. But, what do you do when it comes time to use a self-tanning lotion? Well, Jergens is a brand that's known far and wide for their summer moisturizers and the company thinks that they have the answer to your problem.

The Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse is a light and airy mousse that with time will gradually give you a nice even tan, which for many of us is all we are looking for. The Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse uses an advanced color complex which tints your skin, and over time builds on a natural looking summer glow.

The light mousse is a breeze to apply and you'll notice that it doesn’t leave the signature orange film that most sunless tanning lotions are famous for. The Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse stands out from the crowd thanks to its exceptional formula and natural results. You can’t expect to have a perfect tan, but with Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse you’ll get pretty darn close to it.

Key Features
  • Quick drying formula
  • Tinted formula gradually builds on a tan
  • Streak free dry
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Drying TIme: 60 seconds
  • Consistency: Mousse
Pros
  • Easy to use bottle
  • Quick drying formula is perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle
  • Gradual tint creates a nice even glow
Cons
  • Not a lot to go around
  • Will not be suitable if you are looking for an instant tan

Sunless tanners have come a long way over the past decade, evolving from an orange lotion that would leave a nasty unnatural film to formulas that manage to create a realistic tan from scratch. The Isle Of Paradise brand has long been known for creating one-of-a-kind natural formulations, and the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse is no different.

Available in a lightweight formula that feels great all year, this self-tanning mousse is a step above the rest in terms of quality and design. You’ll notice that the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse goes onto the skin nice and light, but as the days go on you’ll gradually develop a deeper tan which is very appealing for most. The natural ingredients make the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse a very good choice for vegans, and just about anyone who wants a chemical-free tan.

If you don’t have time to hit up the tanning salon or go lie out on the beach, the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse is the perfect way to get those natural results. The Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse is available in a generous size, which will last most users for a good deal of time with regular usage. This makes this tanning mouse not only great in terms of quality but it's also economical as well.

Key Features
  • Transparent liquid
  • Paraben free
  • Cruelty free
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Drying TIme: 1 Minute
  • Consistency: Mousse
Pros
  • No smell
  • Lightweight mousse
  • Dries fast
Cons
  • Tan might not develop fast enough for most people
  • No built-in moisturizer

The self-tanning lotion is all the rage for those who have no free time to spend at a tanning salon, so choosing the right lotion is crucial to getting a realistic tan that will impress. Natural tanning lotions are becoming the norm as consumers were generally tired of those classic orange tanning lotions that would leave you looking like a bad dream instead of a golden brown tan.

The Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam is another excellent foam-based self-tanning lotion that will give you a smooth and natural tan with the power of coconut. Bondi Sands is a brand that you can trust, and their natural-based line of self-tanning lotions has been around for a while now. Once you get a dab of the foam-based Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in the palm of your hand you’ll feel the difference.

The natural brown glow comes out strong and will cover every inch of your body, while the quality of the liquid is top-notch and will not leave any form of orange streaking. The Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam is available in quite a few different shades which makes it the perfect choice for someone who isn’t quite sure how deep of a tan they want. You’ll get a quality tan that looks and feels natural, with the benefit of the soothing coconut smell instead of a toxic tanning lotion smell that many of the self-tanners are famous for.

Key Features
  • Quick drying with no streaking
  • Clean coconut scent
  • Will not fade in water
Specifications
  • Product Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 8.8 inches
  • Drying TIme: 3-5 minutes
  • Consistency: Silky
Pros
  • Mousse liquid is easy to apply
  • No orange residue
  • Clean coconut scent is pleasant to wear
Cons
  • Spray bottle takes a couple of pumps for a good lather
  • Foam-based lotion might not be right for all skin types

What To Look For In A Sunless Tanner Lotion?

When it comes to choosing the right self-tanner there are a few things that you’ll want to look for that will make the self-tanning lotion stand out from the crowd. Tanning, in general, can be extremely rough on your skin, especially if you are in the sunlight without the right amount of UV protection. The benefit of self-tanning at home is that you can avoid the harmful UV rays from the sun or a tanning bed, but you’ll still experience the harsh chemicals that are in many self-tanning lotions. You’ll want to seek out a self-tanner that has built-in moisturizing properties.

Look for ingredients like aloe and cocoa butter that will moisturize the skin as it adds a natural-looking tint because this is how you’ll get the best and most natural-looking tan. The right self-tanner will keep the skin looking and feeling smooth, which is what you want to achieve when you are using a sunless tanner. There are quite a few self-tanning lotions that utilize natural ingredients to create a vegan-friendly paraben-free tan, and these are the self-tanners that you’ll want to look for in the hunt for the perfect tan.

The Right Self-Tanning Lotion Makes All The Difference

For years consumers have complained about how sunless-tanning lotions come out with an orange hue, or that the tans come out with lines and an uneven look. But, the right self-tanning lotion will go onto the skin nice and smoothly creating an even look. Ideally, you want the self-tanning lotion to create a natural look, an appearance that looks like you just left the beach. There are self-tanning lotions that will give you this natural effect, it's just a matter of seeking them out and finding the one that works right with your skin. Using a self-tanner mitt can help smooth out the application, too.

Self-tanning doesn’t have to be a nightmare, in fact it can be a fun experience that will give you a nice even glow. But, you’ll want to take the time to research the various self-tanning lotions and see which one fits your body and skin the best. You don’t have to spend a ton of time at the beach or in the sun to get the perfect looking tan, and with the right sunless tanner, you can get a perfect looking beach body any time of the year.

Resources—Paula's Choice, Allure

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