The Best Self-Tanners for Every Budget

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not in any way, shape or form a self-tanning pro. I’ve definitely had my fair share of #selftannerFAILS… Just a few nights ago I fell asleep in my self-tanner and woke up in the morning orange. OOPS! Needless to say, I have definitely learned some tips and tricks over the years on how to apply an even and natural-looking tan.

self tanner

As someone who is naturally pale, self-tanner has been a part of my routine since high school. As soon as it gets warm enough to wear shorts and dresses, I lather on the self-tanner to try and hide my pasty legs. The past couple of years, I’ve found some products that are winners that I’ll scream from the rooftop and some that fall short of my expectations and leave me as orange as a carrot. I’ve broken this post down into different categories for the products I use for my body, for my face, and then my top tips and tricks for applying a natural looking tan.


Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer 

Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer has been my go-to for as long as I can remember. It is inexpensive, effective and doesn’t have a nauseatingly strong smell. Plus, it is the perfect multitasking self-tanner. After you shower, all you have to do is pat dry, apply the self-tanner and then allow for the product to dry before getting dressed. In the morning you’ll wake up with a subtle glow.

WHY I LOVE IT: I love this product when I want a subtle glow, but nothing too crazy. A little goes a long way and it is super affordable.    

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil 

I tried out this tanning dry oil for the first time on Sunday night and accidentally fell asleep before I could wash it off. Not my best move. I woke up in the morning completely orange. I think if washed it off after 1-2 hours it would have created the perfect base tan for any beach vacation.

Why I love it: This is the best quick tan if you’re heading to the beach because this tanner sets and begins developing almost immediately. 

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam

I don’t know why it took me so long to realize tanning foam is WHERE IT’S AT! I’ve found that if you have a mitt, tanning foam is so much easier to apply evenly than any other product I’ve ever tried.

Why I love it: This stuff really works. Don’t believe me? Check out my before and after below. The after picture is after only having the product on for an hour. 

Before & After Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam


Alpha Beta® Intense Glow Pad Self-Tanner for Face

Before Dr. Dennis Gross Glow Pad Self-Tanner, I could never find a tanning product I could use on my face without breaking out. This product is AMAZING because it’s an exfoliator and self-tanner all in one. Because I wear SPF 50+ on my face all summer long, my face is normally two shades darker than the rest of my body. I used these self-tanner pads on my face twice a week all last summer and was so happy with the results.


  • If you haven’t used self-tanner before, start small, and make sure you don’t go overboard with too much product.
  • If you’ve never used self-tanner before, leave it on for half the amount of time the packaging suggests then rise it off. This will ensure you don’t turn orange by leaving on the product for too long.  
  • Use a moisturizer on your elbows, fingers, feet and in between your toes before applying self-tanner. This keeps the product from building up and making these areas orange. 



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