We Found the Best Beginner tanning lotions for a Natural Glow All Year Round

Do you want to start tanning without risking the dangers of sun damage? If so, then we`ve selected face mists, mouses, and lotions suitable for beginner tanning. Lotions could be your best friend in achieving that bronzy glow. Maybe not, just hear me out.

Tanning lotions provide an easy and safe alternative to traditional sunbathing or visiting a tanning salon – plus they’re super affordable! 

Whether you’re setting foot into the world of self-tanning for the first time with fair skin or simply trying out something new to look like you`ve just spent a week on a tropical beach.

Our beginner tanning lotions and bronzer guide will help you find the best product for your needs and show you how to properly & safely apply it.

You might not have time to read the whole post so here are:

Our Top Picks

1. Most Wished For:-St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Kit

2. Best Drugstore tanner: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning

3. Our Favourite-Jergens Natural Glow Light Bronze Tan

4. Best for mature skin-The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan

5. Best Gradual Tanner-St. Tropez Gradual Tan

6. Most Affordable-Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Moisturizer 

7. Best overall- L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning

8. Best tanner for teens-Jergens Natural Glow Self Tanner

9. Best Gel-Glow Your Own Way

10. Best for face-b.tan Clear Face Tan Mist

The list does not mean that is where we end things, I thought I`d start with a list in case you choose not to read the whole post and learn about other self-tanning products or how to get a perfect tan at home or the tanning process.

What to Look for in a Self-Tanner

While natural sun-kissed skin is a desirable look, it’s important to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. A self-tanner is a great alternative to traditional tanning methods, but not all products are created equal.

It’s essential to find a high-quality self-tanner that provides the results you want without sacrificing the health of your skin. 

  1. Check the Ingredients

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient in self-tanners that leads to tanning results by binding to skin cells resulting in a  temporary darkening of your skin.

DHA is a colorless sugar that reacts with the amino acids in the outer layer of the skin to create a temporary tanning effect. Avoid self-tanners that use harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances.

Ingredients in a self-tanner are one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a product as it will determine the tan longevity

You’ll want to avoid harsh chemicals, such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, which can be harmful to your skin and overall health. Opt for a self-tanner that contains natural and organic ingredients. 

Some popular natural ingredients in self-tanners include aloe vera, green tea extract, and coconut oil. These active ingredients can help moisturize your skin and provide anti-aging benefits.

  1. Consider the Right Shade

One of the most important considerations when selecting a self-tanner is the shade, although, with most self-tanners, you can “increase” by re-applying the tan.

You want a product that provides natural-looking color without looking orange, streaky, or uneven on your skin.

It’s important to choose the right shade for your skin tone. Fair-skinned individuals should opt for a lighter shade as it looks more natural on fair skin, while those with darker skin tones may want a deeper shade.

Many self-tanners come in multiple shades, so take the time to find the best one for you. A shade that will give you a natural glow without looking fake.

Look for self-tanners that are easy to apply and have a smooth consistency, this will help you achieve a streak-free application. 

Spray or mist self-tanners are easy to apply, while lotions and creams provide a better chance for even coverage. Moreover, some self-tanners come with applicators to make the process smoother.

  1. Consider the Application Method

Another important factor to consider when choosing a self-tanner is the application method. Some products come in mousse, lotion, or spray form, while others come in towelettes or drops. 

Consider your preferred method of application and choose a product that is easy to use and won’t leave streaks or blotches.

  1. Look for Long-Lasting Results

No one wants to constantly reapply their self-tanner, so look for a product that provides long-lasting results. Many self-tanners can provide color for up to a week, depending on how often you shower and exfoliate your skin.

Look for a product that is designed to fade naturally without leaving patchy, dark spots on your skin.

  1. Skin Type

It is important to keep one’s skin type in consideration before choosing a self-tanner. Self-tanners are available for different skin types, and it is essential to choose one that suits your skin.

 If you have dry skin, you may want to choose a self-tanner with moisturizing properties. For sensitive skin, it’s best to opt for self-tanners that are free of fragrances or harsh chemicals.

Some self tanners tend to settle more on the skin surface, so find what gives you a natural glow and a natural-looking tan. 

  1. Read Reviews

Before purchasing a self-tanner, read online reviews from other customers. This can give you insight into the effectiveness of the product and the experiences of others.

Look for reviews that are detailed and honest, and read a variety of them to get a well-rounded view of the product. 

Some reviews might be for simple things like “this tanner gave me a tingling sensation or the tanner kind of settled on my fine lines”. Or things like “It got me a darker tan than I wanted” So read negative and positive reviews with an open mind.

Prepare your skin before you apply a self-tanner

But before you jump into applying self-tanner, have you considered preparing your skin first? Prepping your skin can mean the difference between a flawless and streaky tan. 

Don`t worry, it`s really simple


One of the most important steps before applying self-tanner is to exfoliate. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and smooths out rough patches to ensure an even application.

Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt to buff away dead skin cells in the shower. Pay extra attention to areas like your elbows, knees, and ankles, which can be more prone to dryness and rough patches.

2-Shave or Wax

Self-tanners can quickly cling to hair follicles, leading to a patchy or uneven look, so it’s best to shave or wax before sunless tanning. 

Shave at least 24 hours before the tanning session to avoid skin irritation. Waxing should be done 48 hours before self-tanning to allow time for your skin to recover and the pores to close up.

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  1. Moisturize

After exfoliation, it’s important to moisturize your skin. This will not only leave your skin feeling soft and smooth but will also create a barrier between your skin and tanning lotion, preventing uneven absorption. 

Make sure to use a lightweight, oil-free lotion to ensure absorption. Personally, I prefer hemp seed oil or aloe vera. But don`t fret, use whatever you have.

  1. Avoid Oil-Based Products

Many skincare products, especially those with oil, can create a barrier that prevents self-tanner from absorbing into the skin.

Refrain from using oil-based products such as lotions, perfumes, or makeup before self-tanning. Instead, opt for water-based products to help your skin stay moisturized.

  1. Apply with Care

When it comes to applying self-tanner, less is more especially if you have pale skin or very fair skin. Starting with small amounts and working in sections will help ensure an even application. 

Pay extra attention to areas near the hands, feet, and face to avoid a patchy appearance. It’s advisable to use a tanning mitt (unless you are using spray tan) to apply products as this will assist in avoiding uneven results.

Maybe your first tanning experience will not be your best, but believe me, it will improve very fast unless you choose the wrong tan color.

But even then no need to worry, the great advantage of bronzers is that they are temporary.

Now understand that some tanners will appear light and darken with time so don`t overdo things, especially as a beginner.

An example is Skinny Tan wonder serum, this brilliant self-tanner with vitamin E takes up to 8 hours to develop.

Skin tanner should not

  • transfer onto your clothes
  • Make you look orange
  • Leave streaks
  • Leave you with fake-looking artificial glow

Now to some Q&A

Q: How long do self-tanners last?

A: Between 7-10 days due to the natural turnover of skin cells.

Summing it up on Beginner tanning lotions

Choosing the right self-tanner is important to achieve a natural, sun-kissed glow without damaging your skin. When selecting a product, pay attention to the ingredients, shade, application method, longevity, and customer reviews then go for that sun-kissed glow. 

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With these factors in mind, you can find a high-quality self-tanner that gives you a beautiful, natural-looking color. 

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