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The 10 best sunless tanners for a golden glow that lasts past summer — starting at $9

Updated ·4 min read
Get your glow on. (Photo: Amazon)
Get your glow on. (Photo: Amazon)

Many people prefer to have a sun-kissed glow, but getting a tan from the sun's rays isn't exactly great for your skin. Enter the best sunless tanners. These lotions, creams and sprays allow you to get a bronzed glow without damaging your skin, no matter your skin tone.

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"Sunless tanners work by dyeing the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin," New York-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg, founder of Goldenberg Dermatology, tells Yahoo Life. Once your skin is dyed, it can take up to two weeks for the color to fade as the upper layer of the epidermis sloughs off, Goldenberg explains. (Factors like how often you exfoliate, the tanner's exact formula, and what other products you use can play a role in fading, too.)

When it comes to choosing a sunless tanner, Goldenberg suggests "looking for the shade and intensity that appeals to you." And, if you can, he recommends reaching for a tanner from "a reputable brand."

Ready to try out a sunless tanner? Whether you’re looking for a subtle wash of color or a deep bronzing in just a few hours, here are the best of the best.

Amazon

St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse

$37$44Save $7
$37 at Amazon

St. Tropez's tanner is a lightweight mousse formulation that's easy to apply. A cool feature: You can choose the depth of your tan by deciding when to shower.

"I cannot recommend this product enough!" said a happy customer. "I've had a lot of bad experiences with self tanners in the past, and this product solved all of them! I use a regular rubber glove when I'm applying it with ZERO streaking. Sweating doesn't cause me any issues at all. I leave it on for the full three hours, then shower. I'm left with a real tan-looking color that isn't too dark for me, and it lasts so long!"

Amazon

Coco & Eve Self Tanner Mousse Kit

$33$39Save $6
$33 at Amazon

It's unfortunate side effect of sunless tanning: You can stain your hands. Coco & Eve tackles the problem head-on by providing a mitt in this handy kit. It also features coconut oil, botanicals and amino acids to hydrate your skin. Apply the on-page coupon for the full discount.

"I don’t normally leave reviews but I wanted to tell everyone I LOVE THIS SELF TANNER!" said a happy customer. "It smells great. The tan looks natural and the glove makes it easy to apply without streaking. I even applied to my neck and face and it looks great!"

Isle of Paradise

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water

$32
$32 at Amazon

This sunless tanning product goes above and beyond: The spray bottle makes application a breeze, while the mist itself has color-correcting actives to give skin a natural-looking glow.

"This stuff is pure magic!" wrote a happy tanner. "My skin is just glowing! No orange-y ness, perfectly even, and the smell is absolutely fantastic. I was prepared for a slight classic self tanner smell due to some of the reviews on here, but I didn’t get a hint of it at all!"

Loving Tan

Loving Tan 2 Hour Express Deluxe Bronzing Mousse

$42
$42 at Amazon

Loving Tan’s two-hour self-tanning mousse will get you there. Made with a salon-inspired formula, you’ll get immediate color while you develop a darker tan in a couple hours.

"The color is perfection; It looks so even and natural," wrote a fan. "It somehow spreads easy but dries very quickly, smells great, and doesn't feel sticky after. I honestly am never going to buy another product or go spray tanning again. I will be a lifelong customer of this company."

Jergens

Jergens Jergens Natural Glow +Firming Self Tanner

$9
$9 at Amazon

This Jergens lotion does double duty as a self-tanner, moisturizer and cellulite remover. It's infused with collagen, elastin and green tea to reduce the appearance of cellulite within a week.

"I usually buy fancier brands but bought this because it was an add-on item. It was a great surprise!" said a happy customer. "It makes my skin super soft and hydrated with a hint of glow. No orange, and no mess."

Amazon

B.tan Ultra Long Lasting Self Tanner

$10
$10 at Amazon

This best-selling tanner is specially formulated to create a glow that lasts — up to 11 days, to be exact. It's paraben-free and doesn't have a fake tan smell. It also goes on easy and has a light, mousse-like consistency.

"The shade of tan is incredibly natural. I mean, not even a hint of Cheeto-dust orange," said a five-star fan. "There is no staining. You will not smell like a bag of chips."

Amazon

Bondi Sands Dark Self Tanning Foam

$21$24Save $3
$21 at Amazon

Want a deep tan? This formulation from Bondi Sands is up for the challenge. It's dispensed in the form of a lightweight foam and is packed with aloe vera and coconut to pamper your skin while you get your glow on.

"This self tanner gave me the deepest, darkest color I have ever seen in my entire life from a self tan! EVER!" wrote a satisfied shopper.

Amazon

Coola Organic Sunless Tanner Serum

$54
$54 at Amazon

Bronze your complexion while you reap the benefits of an anti-aging product. This serum is made with natural sunless tanner, hydrating Argan oil and hyaluronic acid, as well as plant stem cell cultures to reduce fine lines.

"This serum is great!" said a bronzed user. "I used it for four days prior to a beach vacation in the middle of winter. I would call it a glow, not a tan. I prefer that to my face being fake tan."

Amazon

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner Mousse

$32$36Save $4
$32 at Amazon

This sunless tanner features a foam that gives you a nice, golden glow in just a few hours. It's also vegan, dye-free and certified cruelty-free. Choose from fair to medium and medium to dark shades.

"So easy to use! I love that it’s a clean tanner with safe ingredients," said a satisfied shopper. "I love that it doesn’t leave streaks, it’s not orange and it doesn’t smell so strong! The white foam just blended right in."

L'Oreal Paris

L'Oreal Paris L'Oreal Paris Skincare Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Mist

$10$11Save $1
$10 at Amazon

Prefer to stay mostly hands-off with the tanning process? L'Oreal's tanning mist lets you apply a gentle spray all over your body to get a nice, even glow. You can enjoy your new shade in just two to four hours.

"I've had many compliments on my tan," said a five-star fan. "A lady at Kroger, when I told her it was a L'Oreal spray tan, said 'Wow, I just thought you were tan,' which is the best compliment you can give a product like this."

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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$31 at Amazon

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$29 at Amazon

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Originally published