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Best Self Tanner for Beginners: Top 10 Easy & Natural-Looking Options (2024)

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best self tanner for beginnersRemember the golden glow of summer you used to chase? Well, it’s much easier and safer to get that tan now with self-tanners, especially if you’re a first-timer.

In this guide, we have rounded up our list of best self-tanners for beginners: ten easy options to get a natural-looking, glowing skin tone without harmful UV rays.

From lotions to mousses, we shall discuss the basics of how to choose the right self-tanner and take you through an application so you gain a streak-free, confident, easy tan

Key Takeaways

  • Say goodbye to streaky, blotchy self-tanning experiences! These top-notch self-tanners are designed to make your skin glow with a natural, golden hue, even if you’re a complete novice.
  • Just like Cinderella’s glass slipper, finding the perfect self-tanner is all about choosing the one that fits your skin type and tanning goals. Whether you prefer a subtle glow or a deep, sun-kissed look, there’s an option here for you.
  • Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to self-tanning. Give the product time to work its magic – don’t be tempted to pile it on or rinse it off too soon. Trust us, the results will be worth the wait!
  • Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use self-tanner, the more comfortable you’ll become with the application process. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different products and techniques until you find the one that gives you the confidence to rock that sun-kissed glow all year round

10 Best Self-Tanners for Beginners

Choosing the right self-tanner can be a game-changer for achieving a natural-looking tan at home. In this guide, we’ll cover the top 10 beginner-friendly options that are easy to apply and deliver a beautiful glow

1. Vita Liberata Gradual Tanning Lotion

Vita Liberata Fabulous Gradual TanningView On Amazon
Vita Liberata Gradual Tanning Lotion is a perfect choice for beginners. This untinted, paraben-free cream gives you a natural-looking tan without streaks or transferring to clothes. It’s hydrating and can even be used on the face, making it versatile.

You’ll notice results after just one application. Be sure to use a lot of product, though, and consider using a mitt to prevent staining your hands. It’s a gradual process, so patience is key to achieving that radiant tan

Best For: Gradual tanning beginners looking for a natural-looking glow

  • Natural-looking tan
  • Results after just one application
  • Hydrating
  • May have a strong smell
  • May stain hands
  • Need to use a lot of product

2. Tan Luxe Gradual Illuminating Lotion

TAN-LUXE The Gradual - GradualView On Amazon
Tan Luxe Gradual Illuminating Lotion offers an effortless way to achieve a natural, buildable tan. It’s designed like a regular moisturizer, making it simple to apply.

This lotion contains raspberry seed oil and hydrolyzed silk, which nourish your skin while providing a radiant glow. Plus, it’s paraben-free.

Just apply daily or as desired, and within 2-4 hours, you’ll notice a tan developing. For best results, use a self-tanning mitt and blend evenly, especially if you have dry skin

Best For: Those looking for a natural, buildable tan with nourishing ingredients.

  • Lightweight and easy to apply
  • Contains raspberry seed oil and hydrolyzed silk for a radiant glow
  • Paraben-free
  • May leak due to lack of seal under lid
  • May appear patchy on dry skin
  • May not be suitable for very pale skin

3. Jergens Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Lotion

Jergens Natural Glow Sunless TanningView On Amazon
You can’t go wrong with Jergens Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Lotion if you want a subtle, gradual tan. This product provides a natural-looking, streak-free color perfect for beginners.

Enriched with antioxidants and Vitamin E, it nourishes your skin while delivering a mild bronzing effect. The fresh scent makes it pleasant to use daily, ensuring your skin stays hydrated and smooth.

Jergens takes a bit longer to show effects, but it’s worth the wait for that healthy, golden glow

Best For: Those seeking a natural, gradual tan without streaks or harsh chemicals.

  • Gradual, natural-looking color
  • Enriched with antioxidants and Vitamin E
  • Fresh scent and daily hydration
  • Takes a while to show effects
  • May cause acne on face
  • Lotion takes a long time to absorb

4. Dr Bronners Baby Unscented Soap

Dr. BronnerView On Amazon
Dr. Bronner Baby Unscented Soap is an excellent choice, working great in preparing your skin for self-tanning. The organic nature of the ingredients makes it gentle and so apt for sensitive skin; this soap won’t irritate it at all.

Biodegradable ingredients with no additives make this base purely clean in nature and thus provide an even base for tanning. An unscented smell won’t conflict with any fragrances from the self-tanner.

Versatile and multifunctional, this isn’t only for the skin—it is use on anything you need to clean in your house. Dr. Bronners gives a gentle yet effective cleanse. This is important for the best application results for self-tanners

Best For: Individuals seeking a gentle and versatile soap for sensitive skin and multiple cleaning purposes.

  • Organic and Fair Trade ingredients
  • No harsh chemicals or detergents
  • Multifunctional use for skin, laundry, and cleaning
  • Relatively high price point
  • May be too gentle for some cleaning tasks
  • May prefer a larger size

5. Earth Therapeutics Hydro Exfoliating Gloves

Earth Therapeutics Hydro Exfoliating Gloves,View On Amazon
The Earth Therapeutics Hydro Exfoliating Gloves are perfect for prepping your skin before self-tanning. Made from 100% nylon, these gloves effectively unclog pores and buff away dead skin, leaving you smooth and ready for an even tan. Just gently exfoliate in circular motions, rinse, and hang to dry.

They last for ages and are gentle enough for most skin types. Remember, don’t over-scrub—your skin will thank you! Start with a light touch, and you’re on your way to a flawless tan

Best For: Those looking to deeply exfoliate and prep skin for self-tanning

  • Effectively unclogs pores and buffs away dead skin
  • Long-lasting with everyday use
  • Gentle enough for most skin types
  • May be too harsh for some skin types
  • Requires a gentle touch for first-time use
  • Do not over-scrub

6. Necessaire Body Exfoliator Eucalyptus

NĂ©cessaire The Body Exfoliator. Eucalyptus.View On Amazon
The Necessaire Body Exfoliator Eucalyptus an excellent choice to set your skin up before self-tanning. With a blend of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, it gently exfoliates the skin to give a nice, smooth canvas for your tanner.

Refreshing with eucalyptus, the aroma will make you feel like you’re being pampered at a spa in your daily routine. Hypoallergenic and tested by dermatologists, it works well on all skin types while aligning with sustainability through eco-friendly packaging.

This exfoliator sweeps away dead skin cells for a more even and long-lasting tan

Best For: Individuals seeking a gentle yet effective exfoliation treatment for a smoother canvas before self-tanning.

  • Infused with AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs for gentle yet thorough exfoliation.
  • Hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested for use on all skin types.
  • Eco-friendly packaging aligns with sustainability goals.
  • May not be suitable for individuals with extremely sensitive skin.
  • Eucalyptus scent may not be preferred by all.
  • Can be drying if used too frequently

7. Biossance Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub

Biossance Squalane + Enzyme SugarView On Amazon
Biossance Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub is your go-to for smooth, tan-ready skin. Packed with natural exfoliants, it gently sloughs off rough, dull layers without disrupting your skin’s moisture barrier.

The thick, gritty texture feels like a spa treatment, enhancing texture and clearing up red bumps. Its pleasant scent makes the process enjoyable. Some users find the packaging challenging, but the benefits far outweigh this.

Integrate this scrub into your routine to achieve a flawless, even tan application

Best For: Anyone looking for a gentle yet effective body scrub that leaves skin smooth and radiant.

  • Natural exfoliants gently remove rough, dull skin without disrupting the moisture barrier.
  • Thick, gritty texture provides a spa-like experience and enhances skin texture.
  • Pleasant scent makes the exfoliation process enjoyable.
  • Packaging can be difficult to use.
  • Not all reviewers agree on the scent.
  • Some users find the texture too gritty

8. Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion

Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion,View On Amazon
Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion is very likely one of the better choices when prepping your skin before self-tanning. It’s fragrance-free, dye-free, and paraben-free, so you know it’s excellent for sensitive skin types.

This lightweight lotion quickly absorbs and repairs with 48-hour moisture for an even tan. Dermatologist-recommended to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier and help prevent dryness, it’s best used after showering.

Double-duty as both a hand and foot lotion, this product works wonders in keeping these areas hydrated

Best For: Individuals with dry and sensitive skin seeking an effective and gentle moisturizer.

  • Fragrance-free, dye-free, and paraben-free formulation
  • Lightweight and fast-absorbing, leaving no greasy residue
  • Repairs and hydrates for up to 48 hours, boosting moisture and preventing dryness
  • Not suitable for individuals with severe skin conditions
  • May not be moisturizing enough for extremely dry skin
  • Does not contain SPF protection

9. Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion Sensitive Skin

Lubriderm Fragrance Free Daily MoistureView On Amazon
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion is perfect for sensitive skin, offering reliable 24-hour hydration without the fuss. This lightweight, fragrance-free formula contains Pro-Ceramide, Shea Butter, and Glycerin to keep your skin moisturized and smooth.

It’s non-greasy, allergy-tested, and free from parabens, phthalates, and dyes, making it ideal for everyday use. With dermatologist-tested ingredients, it absorbs quickly and provides a perfect prep base for beginners venturing into self-tanning, ensuring an even and natural-looking tan each time

Best For: Individuals with sensitive skin seeking a fragrance-free, lightweight moisturizer for daily use.

  • Clinically proven 24-hour moisturization
  • Non-greasy and absorbs quickly
  • Dermatologist-tested and free from fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and dyes
  • May not be suitable for very dry skin
  • May leave a slightly sticky feeling on some skin types
  • Could have a stronger scent for some individuals

10. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion forView On Amazon
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a fantastic prep step for self-tanning beginners. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula hydrates your skin for 24 hours, ensuring a smooth base for your tan.

Packed with three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, it restores your skin’s barrier and keeps it moisturized. It’s fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and holds the NEA Seal of Acceptance.

Developed by dermatologists, it’s suitable for all skin types, making it a go-to option for a flawless self-tanning experience

Best For: Individuals with all skin types seeking a non-greasy lotion that provides long-lasting hydration.

  • Holds NEA Seal of Acceptance
  • Fragrance-free and allergy-tested
  • Restores skin’s protective barrier
  • Ingredients list not provided
  • Size not specified
  • Price not mentioned

Choosing the Right Self-Tanner

Choosing the Right Self-Tanner
Choose the right self-tanner, considering color types, application ease, and drying time to pick one that suits your skin type and your lifestyle—looking for a finish that’s as natural as possible and perfect skin compatibility. This will provide an even, streak-free glow.

Color Range

When choosing a self-tanner, focus on the shade range that matches your skin tone. Look for products that provide natural color depth without application streakiness. It’s essential to pick self-tanners with strong transfer and stain resistance, ensuring a seamless tan. Check the drying time to confirm it sets quickly, minimizing the risk of smudging

Ease of Application

When seeking out a good self-tanner, ease of application is critical. Products that contain guide colors, like self-tanning mousses, go on with accuracy. DHA content in options ensures a customized shade that lasts long. An application mitt helps distribute self-tanner evenly; exfoliating beforehand guarantees nice and smooth results. Follow these simple steps to ensure streak-free, natural-looking tans.

Drying Time

Drying time is also one of the significant factors to be considered when choosing a self-tanner. Gradual self-tanners usually dry more slowly, giving you enough time to spread the product evenly without streaking.

Instant self-tanners, like mousses, dry out quickly for convenience but may require practice to achieve a perfect finish. Prepping your skin by using exfoliating gloves and a body scrub before the application helps in creating smooth, even results.

Thorough preparation reduces blotches and allows for a better consistency in tan

Natural-Looking Finish

What matters for a beginner is getting a natural finish.

  1. Select products with a guide color to go on the makeup without blotches and streaks.
  2. Go for formulas with a reputation for depth and gradual fade, like La Mer and Vita Liberata.
  3. Give attention to the pleasant smell, and go for something like Tan-Luxe’s Hydrating Self-Tan Water.

Skin Type Compatibility

Choose your self-tanner based on skin tone and possible allergies.

If you have sensitive skin, look for fragrance-free and dermatologist-recommended self-tanners. The vegan choices help with ethical concerns regarding applications.

Application mitts ensure even coverage, while non-active body lotions prepare your skin for the job.

For fragrance sensitivity, stick clear of tanners holding harsh ingredients.

Keeping that sun-kissed glow in check will further be supported by body oils

Types of Self-Tanners

Types of Self-Tanners
Choosing the perfect self-tanner starts with understanding the different types available, including mousse, lotion, gel, cream, and spray. Each type offers unique application methods and varying results, ensuring you find the best fit for your skin type and tanning needs


When choosing a mousse self-tanner, consider these tips for ease of application and achieving a natural tan:

  1. Guide Color: Opt for products with guide color for even application and an immediate bronze effect.
  2. Application: Use a mitt to avoid streaks.
  3. Depth of Tan: Look for options with buildable color.
  4. Maintenance: Exfoliate regularly and use hair-removal cream to speed up tan removal


Lotions are great and very easy to use, especially for beginners. A gradual tanning lotion, like Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops, is an excellent choice for offering a natural-looking glow while putting in minimum effort.

These lotions are skin-compatible, allow smooth application, and usually smell nice. In addition, unlike some options, they barely stain clothes.

Remember to exfoliate with an exfoliating scrub pre-application for best results


Gel self-tanners, such as NKD SKIN Tinted Tan Mousse, are a brilliant middle ground. Mostly, they dry in no time and give off a natural finish with just a hint of glow—perfect for those first-timers who could be scared of streaking.

Not to mention how skin-friendly they are, being fitting for various skin types and minimizing sun damage concerns, thus really extending the length and fade of the tan to bag those extra points for effort!


Cream self-tanners offer an oil-based consistency, making them a great body lotion alternative that hydrates your skin while providing even coverage. They’re travel-friendly and perfect for those seeking simplicity. Popular picks include Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water and L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Tanning Mist. Enjoy the added benefit of a bronzed glow with ease and moisture!


When considering sprays, their ease of application and even coverage can’t be beat. The L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Tanning Mist is a top pick. Benefits include:

  1. No tanning mitt required
  2. Quick-drying formula
  3. Even, streak-free finish
  4. Buildable color

    However, the lingering smell can be a drawback. Remember to exfoliate and moisturize for best results

Self-Tanning Application Tips

Self-Tanning Application Tips
For streak-free self-tanning, exfoliate your skin before providing an even application. Use a tanning mitt or a brush in circular motions to apply the product, and after that, let it dry entirely with your clothes off.

Exfoliate Skin

Before applying self-tanner, pre-tanning exfoliation is key. Use an exfoliating scrub or gloves to remove dead skin cells, ensuring an even tan. Scrubby gloves like Earth Therapeutics are effective. Aim to exfoliate 1-2 times per week, especially before tanning. Consider scrubs like Necessaire Eucalyptus or Biossance Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub for the best results

Use a Mitt or Brush

Applying a tanning mitt or self-tanning brush will ensure even coverage and a streak-free finish. This will help in spreading the product evenly all over your skin surface, avoiding those uneven patches and streaks. The method of application is essential for an even tan. Slip on the mitt, apply a small self-tanner, and work it in for a flawless finish.

Apply in Circular Motions

Apply self-tanner in circular motions—this will help guard against streaks and ensure an even finish. Start small, controlling the amount, and blend well to avoid streaks. Here’s a simple approach:

  1. Begin with a small amount of the product itself.
  2. Apply this in a circular motion to spread it evenly.
  3. Blend well at joints and edges.
  4. Use sparingly at wrists and knees

Allow to Dry Completely

Apply self-tanner in circular motions; then, let it dry completely. This will ensure an even and streak-free finish. Avoid dressing or sitting on furniture immediately after applying. It would take some time to dry, so at least wait 10-15 minutes with loose apparel on. Hence, patience at this stage guarantees the best, flawless finish and a natural-looking tan.

Moisturize Daily

Once your self-tanner is dry, you should moisturize every day to keep the tan even and not dry. Good moisturizing with the suitable body lotion will help to make the tan last longer. Reach for lotions that have nourishing ingredients in them.

  • Body lotion for daily hydration
  • Avoid dry skin patches
  • Rich lotion ingredients like shea butter

    – Apply after shower

  • Enhance vibrancy of tan

Maintaining Your Self-Tan

Maintaining Your Self-Tan
To keep your self-tan looking fresh, exfoliate regularly and reapply as needed to maintain an even tone. Avoid hot showers and baths, and use gradual self-tanners and DHA-infused body washes to extend the lifespan of your tan

Exfoliate Regularly

To keep your tan looking fresh, exfoliate regularly. Use exfoliating scrubs or an exfoliating mitt to slough off dead skin cells. This helps your self-tanner apply evenly. Consider an exfoliating brush for hard-to-reach areas or exfoliating soap for a gentle daily option. Remember, consistent exfoliation is key to maintaining a smooth, natural-looking tan

Reapply as Needed

You will need to keep your self-tan topped up for it to survive the harsh daily regime. Touch up after a couple of days to maintain the freshness and evenness of the glow. Follow these steps:

  1. Product Selection: Try a beginner-friendly formula.
  2. Application Best Method : For best results, use a mitt.
  3. Timing: Apply in the evening, and let it develop overnight.

This ensures long-lasting gorgeous color.

Avoid Hot Showers and Baths

Avoiding hot showers and baths helps maintain your self-tan. Hot water can cause tan fading, uneven application, patchy results, and skin irritation. Opt for lukewarm or cool water to preserve your tan longer.

Recommend Avoid Reason
Cool showers Hot baths Tan fading
Gentle washes Harsh scrubs Patchy results
Mild soaps Heavy oils Uneven application
Lukewarm water High heat Skin irritation

Use a Gradual Self-Tanner

Using a gradual self-tanner helps maintain your glow effortlessly. Incorporate gradual tanner drops into your daily routine to build and sustain color. Unlike instant self-tanning oils, gradual tanners allow you to control the depth of your tan. This method reduces common tanning application mistakes, ensuring a more natural look. To correct any issues, keep self-tanner removers handy

Use a DHA-Infused Body Wash

Using a DHA-infused body wash can help prolong your self-tan by maintaining color and keeping your skin hydrated. Here’s what to look for:

  • Benefits: Extends tan, moisturizes skin.
  • Ingredients: DHA, hydrating elements.
  • Brands: Jergens, St. Tropez.
  • Alternatives: Gradual tanning lotion.
  • Reviews: Positive feedback on effectiveness and ease of use.

Engage these options for a lasting glow!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the easiest fake tan for beginners?

Try the Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel for an easy application. Its gel formula spreads smoothly, avoiding streaks, and provides a natural-looking tan, perfect for beginners aiming for a flawless, sun-kissed glow

What type of self-tanner is easiest to apply?

The easiest self-tanner to apply is a mousse with a guide color, like Vita Liberata’s pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse. It provides visible coverage for even application, making it beginner-friendly while delivering a rich, deep tan

What is the most natural looking self-tanner?

Looking for a natural sun-kissed glow? Slap on some Tan-Luxe Hydrating Self-Tan Water in Light. The fluid applies easily to leave your skin subtly sun-kissed but streak-free and devoid of orange tones.

How to self tan for beginners?

To self-tan for beginners, exfoliate your skin first, then apply a gradual tanning lotion evenly. Use a mitt for smooth application, avoid rich lotions, and wait eight hours before showering for the best results

Can self-tanner be used on tattoos?

Coincidentally, you can use self-tanner on tattoos, but it won’t affect the ink. Instead, it can help your tattoos appear more vibrant by enhancing the surrounding skin’s color, giving a more even, polished look

Does self-tanner stain clothing permanently?

Self-tanner can stain clothing, but it’s usually not permanent. Wash the stained items as soon as possible, following care instructions. Use stain removers for stubborn marks. Avoid wearing tight, light-colored clothes immediately after application

Can self-tanner react with other skin products?

Don’t worry; these self-tanners can’t magically become disaster zones alone. They do react with skincare products that have retinoids or AHAs, and this could result in streaky applications. Be sure that your skincare routine is compatible with perfect results.

How to remove excess self-tanner from nails?

To remove excess self-tanner from your nails, soak them in a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice for a few minutes. Gently scrub with a toothbrush to lift the stain, then rinse thoroughly

Does self-tanner affect existing skin conditions?

Absolutely, self-tanner can exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. It might make dryness, irritation, or flare-ups worse. Always do a patch test and consult with a dermatologist before use


Just like painting a masterpiece requires the right tools, achieving a flawless tan needs the best self-tanner for beginners. With these top 10 options, you can confidently select the perfect product for your skin type and desired look.

Follow our tips for application and maintenance, and you’ll enjoy a natural, golden glow without the risks of UV exposure.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.