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Top 6 Self-Tanning Lotions That Won't Turn Your Skin Orange

Are There Good Self-Tanners?

There are a lot of reasons why you might be considering sunless tanning.

Maybe you live in an area with little sun and a cooler climate.

Maybe you don't want to spend endless amounts of money on minutes in the tanning booth that expire before you get a chance to use them.

Maybe you don't want to look like your dad's favorite leather chair.

Perhaps you're like me and point to the plaster wall behind the associate at the makeup desk when she asks you what skin tone you are.

Whatever the reason is that you have decided to consider fake tanning lotions or sprays instead of frying under harsh UV rays for hours, I applaud you. You have just taken the first step towards practicing safe sun, and you will thank yourself when you are older and skin-cancer free while your other friends resemble various arrays of dried fruit.

There are so many different self-tanner products in different price ranges and eventually, the hunt for the perfect tanner may become overwhelming. So which one will work out best for you? Below are 6 highly popular self-tanning products, their prices, and some information about each. This way, you're saved hours of research on thousands of products.

If you are looking for gradual tanning lotions, you won't find them here. The tanners discussed in this article are meant to leave you glowing immediately after use. These tanners are at the top of their game, and no...they won't turn you orange, I promise!


1. Banana Boat Summer Color Sunless Lotion


Banana Boat has definitely had some flops when it comes to instant sun-tanners. Luckily, they've revamped their products and are now at the top of their game! For an even, flawless glow grab a bottle of Banana Boat Summer Color Sunless Tan at your next drugstore visit.

For starters, it's so inexpensive! Not only that, but for such a small price, you get one heapin' bottle (6 oz) of summer glow and for some, this can mean a sunless tanner that lasts for months. It comes in two tones, however, both will work for all skin tones (A lot of people actually recommend the deep dark tone and believe it to have a more realistic color, even for fair skin).

Another great thing about this self-tanner is that it's oil-free, meaning you can use it on your face with no worries!

Upon opening the bottle you will notice that it consists of a tinted cream. This product is tinted to help ease application and show you where you are putting the product and prevent streaks. Rub the cream into your skin just as you would lotion and you will notice the moisturizing benefits. This cream not only moisturizes your skin as your daily lotion would but the moisturizers also aid in blending and application. Great for sensitive skin, Banana Boat Summer Color won't cause irritation to skin, even after shaving.

After applying one coat you will see immediate results. Still want to be darker? This lotion can be reapplied for multiple days until you've reached your desired tone, and stay beautifully sun-kissed for multiple days.


2. L'oreal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Gelee


L'oreal is a trusted brand for many reasons, and now you can trust them to bring you a beautiful glow all year long. The easy-to-apply gel formula glides onto your skin creating an even, smooth application. The lightweight gel won't feel oily or sticky and leaves your skin feeling moisturized.

This product has a clean, pleasant scent plus vitamin E for extra skin-nourishing benefits. Apply evenly to clean, dry skin and let dry for at least an hour. Full color-development occurs in around three hours. If you desire a deeper tone, you can reapply multiple times, then once every few days to maintain your color.

A big benefit to this product? After it dries completely, you can wear your white shorts without fear of it rubbing off onto your clothes.


3. Fake Bake Flawless


Wildly popular, there is little to complain about Fake Bake Flawless. The naturally derived, streak-free tinted formula makes it easy to see where you're applying the product, and the gloves and professional mitt included promise smooth and clean application.

The tinted formula shows where you are applying, promising a streak-free glow. Exfoliate beforehand to scrub away any dead skin cells, then apply the product to clean, dry skin before you go to bed. In the morning after your normal shower routine, you will be left with beautiful, glowing skin that will last for days!

Note: One of the only bad reviews given about this product are complaints about bottle leakage. This is because the manufacturer made the straw inside the spray bottle a little too long. To prevent this from happening, simply snip the bottom of the straw before putting it into the bottle upon purchase. The straw will no longer press down against the bottom of the container, and your cap will no longer leak!

This picture also includes the Sun Laboratories Exfoliating Scrub and Moisturizing Lotion (can be purchased as a set for around $40)

This picture also includes the Sun Laboratories Exfoliating Scrub and Moisturizing Lotion (can be purchased as a set for around $40)

4. Sun Laboratories Self Tanning


This tanner is great for those with blindingly pale skin (like myself). A decent price will get you a whopping 8 oz of product that will go very far.

One unusual benefit to this product is the smell. Unlike most self-tanners, customers rave about this sweet-smelling lotion. The lotion looks very dark at first, making it simple to see where you're applying it.

Apply to clean, exfoliated skin in smooth, even motions before bed. In the morning, enjoy your beautiful glow. Sun Laboratories recommends following up with their moisturizing lotion to lock in the tone and hydrate your skin.


5. Clarins Instant Self Tanning Gel


Clarins Instant Self Tanning Gel is great for those with pale skin. Its lightweight formula dries quickly and doesn't clog pores. Unlike a lot of instant tanners, Clarins doesn't need to be washed off before dressing, although it would be recommended.

Apply to skin evenly and wear overnight, or for 4–6 hours in order to see results. Your new golden tan will fool everyone.


6. XEN-Tan Dark Lotion


Comparable to St. Tropez, XEN-Tan takes the gold for leaving a beautiful (and believable) tan. An olive undertone promises results with a milky brown finish, never orange. The best part? It's lost lasting, meaning that beautiful smooth tan will be enjoyable for that much longer.

This lotion comes out very dark, so you can easily see where you are applying it. It smells great, rubs in evenly, and dries within 5 minutes.

Apply to clean dry skin, leave on for several hours or overnight, and reveal a beautiful milky-brown glow that will last for a long, long time.

Get beach-ready overnight without damaging your skin with self tanning products

Get beach-ready overnight without damaging your skin with self tanning products


Are you ready to be beautifully tan overnight? These six are some of the best instant tanning lotions available, so pick which one works out the best for you, and wear that safe Summer glow all year long.

Tips to Remember

  • Always exfoliate skin before applying any instant tanner. Dry areas (knees, elbows, ankles) will absorb the product more than the rest of your body, resulting in darker results in those areas. Applying lotion to these areas beforehand will prevent this as well and is recommended.
  • Be careful with your hands! Wear gloves when applying to your entire body, then lightly apply to the tops of your hands at the end with a cloth or tissue.
  • When using a self-tanner overnight, sleep on dark sheets, and keep your 100% Egyptian cotton pure white sheets in the linen cupboard. Even for products that won't transfer, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Almost all self-tanners can be purchased online for a much lower price!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Jessie Miller


Xenda on June 18, 2017:

I think you should use more natural tanning product

Jules on June 08, 2017:

Banana boat and Fake bake both turned my legs orange.

Jessie Miller (author) from Buffalo, NY on September 11, 2012:

Thank you so much!

Brianna W from East Coast on September 10, 2012:

Great hub with useful information! And I love the cartoon at the top haha. I have tried almost all of these products and they work very well. However, I have my found my absolute favorite in Million Dollar Tan. Voted up and shared!

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