Our go-to self-tanning products for a bronze glow every day of the year
We review our favourite self-tanners right now
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / November 26 2018
Life is good when you’ve got a gorgeous (fake) tan in tow. A sunless tan is not just safer than the real thing, but a bottled bronze is often so much more flattering (no red undertones!) and flawless - no tan lines here! But finding the best self-tanning products can be a long and orange road fraught with streaks, bad smells and a lot of wasted money on lacklustre results. Which is why we asked our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members to share their self-tanner reviews to find the best self-tanner in Australia. These are our top picks.
#12 / MineTan Micellar Tan Water Everyday Glow Gradual Self Tanner
Micellar water in a tanning formula? Sign us up! This water-based formula is great for pale skin in particular as it gently builds to a golden bronze hue so you can get the depth of colour that’s right for you. The formula is hydrating and sinks in for a flawless coverage. We also love that this self-tanner is vegan and cruelty-free.
The review: “I have quite fair skin so I really like this because it just gives a warm glow instead of an overpowering fake-looking hue. So easy to use, and it's hydrating to skin, which also makes it easy to apply with a smooth outcome.” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
#11 / Kora Organics Gradual Self-Tanning Lotion
What sets this gradual tanning moisturiser apart is the non-toxic naturally-derived dihydroxyacetone (DHA) ingredient in the formula. You’ll also find Kora Organic’s signature noni extract to nourish skin, plus lavender essential oils to give it a calming scent. As for the colour, it looks natural and can be built to your desired coverage.
The review: “This super-hydrating body moisturiser nourishes skin and builds a sun-kissed glow to my medium-fair skin after just a day or two. It’s also organic and created by supermodel Miranda Kerr, what’s not to love?” Sally Hunwick, marie claire’s Beauty Director
#10 / Eco Tan Invisible Tan
Another one of the best self-tanner options for those seeking a vegan-friendly option, you can use this formula on your body and face. It’s free from synthetic ingredients - you’ll find nothing but certified organic and natural ingredients in this cream. The colour fully develops over eight hours and won’t rub off on your sheets while you sleep, which any fake tan enthusiast knows is a MAJOR win.
The review: “My favourite body tan is Eco Tan Invisible Tan because it gives a beautiful warm tan to my lily-white legs. It’s vegan-based, non-toxic and has the best built-in moisturiser, which really benefits my skin.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#9 / Jbronze Dark Tanning Spray
Is a tanning spray more your cup of tea? The colour, formula and ease-of-use of this one is amazing. Vitamin E in the ultra-fine mist moisturises while it bronzes and the end result is a weightless, streak-free tan that looks naturally sun-induced.
The review: “This is by far the best self-tanner I have ever used. I get a natural golden glow that isn't ultra dark as the name suggests. No oompa in sight, just golden goddess.” Anne, SUPERcrew member
#8 / St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil
Boasting a unique dry oil formula that feels luxurious and dries quickly, this formula smooths easily over skin and goes on bronze so you can see where you’re applying it (and reap its bronzing benefits instantly). The formula is vegan, non-comedogenic, contains 100 per cent natural tanning actives and is suitable for sensitive skin. This formula also comes in a face tanner formula - follow these tips for applying a face self-tanner properly.
The review: “As a really pale/alabaster-skinned girl, I have to be super careful with my faux glow. I cannot go past the St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil for a ;just spent two weeks in The Whitsundays’ bronzed-up glow...that is believable, even for my skin hue. It is truly a luxe way to tan, as it has a nourishing dry oil texture that effectively hydrates skin while giving off a beautiful streak-free tan with a subtle shimmery finish (thanks to the added luminous bronzing particles), and it dries in only a few minutes (so no waiting to dress for hours ). If you often find self-tanners to be a bit of hassle (as I have done), this could be the one to change your mind – it is so easy to apply, it dries in minutes, leaves a lovely, sexy glow even BEFORE you rinse off, and with no nasty chemical aroma.” Jacqui, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Foam
The coconut scent paired with a rich but believable bronze tan are synonymous with Australian self-tanning brand Bondi Sands, and are just two of the reasons why this is one of our top choices. If you love a foam formula, add this Bondi Sands variant to cart. The argan oil in it is also a nourishing treat for dry skin.
The review: “One of my absolute favourite tanning ranges is Bondi Sands and the latest edition, Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Foam, has won a solid place in my heart. The colour is always spot-on, it smells delicious (like coconut!) and it’s stocked at heaps of places so it’s easy to find. The price tag is also budget-friendly, which is really important to me in summer when I go through a bottle every other week. The foam is foolproof to apply and what I do is use two mitts at once (one on each hand) to halve the application time (I have my tanning routine down to a fine art!). It gives my neutral-toned skin the perfect golden tan and if I’m wanting to be extra-dark for an evening event, I just apply a second coat half an hour after the first then leave it on overnight.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#6 / Le Tan Fast Tan Deep Bronze Instant Foaming Mousse
An airy mousse that is a cinch to blend and oh-so-affordable, this tinted tanning formula means you can see where you’ve applied it so there’s no risk of streaking. The Deep Bronze shade is a gorgeous caramel tint suitable for fair to medium skin tones, while the Dark Bronze shade is ideal for olive skin. Also good to know: This formula is Australian made and owned, vegan, paraben-free and isn’t tested on animals.
The review: “My two pet peeves about self-tanners are a bad tan smell and feeling like the product is sitting on the surface of my skin. With this one, I don't need to worry about either. The mousse sinks in quickly and feels lightweight, and I love the end result – a deep but not too overly dark bronze tan. I adore the coconut scent, a little product goes a long way, and you can’t beat its really affordable price tag.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew's Contributing Editor
#5 / St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez was one of the first brands to nail the perfect shade of bottled bronze, without an orange streak in sight. We love that this iconic formula is vegan-friendly and made with 100 per cent natural tanning actives. We also can’t get over the true-bronze shade it delivers, and how long-lasting the end result is (expect to get up to 10 days out of your new tan).
The review: “I have been absolutely blown away by St. Tropez Self Tanning Bronzing Mousse, it's definitely worth 5 stars. I have used many tanning potions and lotions over the years but I have never used a mousse, so I had my reservations. I applied the mousse to my tanning mitt and hoped for the best. The application was easy and the mousse went on like a dream! It is the best smelling fake tan around (the scent is very, very faint). It isn’t sticky, fast drying and leaves you with a long-lasting beautiful tan. My skin didn't dry out like it can with other brands and I didn't get even get itchy, so I am in love!” Nicole, SUPERcrew member
#4 / James Read Tan Sleep Mask Tan Body
Pasty at night, tanned by morning. Sounds like a sweet deal to us. This fast-drying formula is colourless (read: clean sheets!) and is enriched with soothing aloe vera and cucumber, hydrating hyaluronic acid and anti-ageing algae extract. You can build up the fragrance-free formula over the course of a couple of days until you get the bronze shade just how you like it - it may sound like more effort than an instant deep tan, but it gives the most believable results - and more importantly, no one will question if your tan is real or fake!
The review: “The invisible gel formula may prove tricky for beginners to use, but it’s surprisingly easy to apply (think, small circular motions) and the colour payoff with one application is seriously impressive. I highly recommend this for those with medium skin tones, as it may look a little too dramatic for those with fair skin.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#3 / Dove Summer Glow
Sometimes you don’t want to go from pale to bronze goddess overnight - a gradual tanner with a built-in moisturiser can deliver a much more realistic result. This budget-friendly formula is easy to slip into your daily bodycare routine and will give you a sun-kissed shade that looks natural. Great for light to medium skin tones that want to take a gentler approach.
The reviews: “I have white skin with blue undertones that does not tan (only turns red & either freckles or peels depending on the location) so I've tried quite a few brands over the years. My all-time favourite is the Dove Summer Glow because it builds up gradually, has good staying power and has a nice scent (some brands smell terrible).” Glenda, SUPERcrew member
“My best self tanner at the moment is Dove Summer Glow. It's like a body lotion but it gradually gives my lily fair light legs a subtle glow to them for the summer months. I love how I actually do two things at the same time, hydrate my skin and get a slight tan. If not happy with the shade, I just reapply some more cream the next day. It doesn't last for ever but for those days I want to have a slight tan, this is perfect for me. I don't want to look like burnt toast.” Amanda, SUPERcrew member
#2 / St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
Don’t like to wait around? This tan gets the job done, stat. Just leave it on for one hour for a softly sun-kissed tan, or up to three hours for a deep, dark bronze. Rinse off once the colour is just how you like it. Easy to use, adjustable colour, streak-free and no bad tan smell - consider all boxes ticked!
The reviews: “This has been my go-to for a few years now (though I have to admit I have cheated a few times – some of the new fake tans on the market are too hard to resist!). I have a medium skin tone (I tend to go quite olive in the summer), and I find that the foam gives my skin colour a nice boost without looking unnatural. I leave it on for the maximum amount of time to get the colour as deep as possible – but even then it still looks incredibly natural.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
“Thanks to my English and Scottish heritage, my skin tone can be described as pale at best and translucent at worst (especially during the winter months). As such, I’ve tried a plethora of different fake tans over the years and one of my all-time favourites in St Tropez’s Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse. While you can leave this tan on for one, two or three hours depending on the level of glow you want to achieve, I tend to apply the mousse in the evening and let it develop overnight for a deep, golden tan, before washing off any excess mousse the next morning.” Kate Niven, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#1 / Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam
It’s hard to fault any of the Bondi Sands self-tanning products - they nail that sun-induced Aussie bronze glow (minus the damaging effects of the sun) and have no nasty fake-tan smell. With this tanning foam, you can take your pick from the light/medium, dark and ultra dark formulas for a lasting, natural-looking tan that best suits your skin tone. Psst, Kylie Jenner is also a BIG fan.
The reviews: “My skin tone is close to that of a milk bottle, so finding the perfect self-tanner that actually looks natural on me can be a *hard* time. I discovered Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam in Light/Medium over a year ago, and it’s pretty much become my go-to. It just does everything a good self-tanner should: it’s easy to apply, doesn’t streak, doesn’t smell gross (I’m actually addicted to that coconut scent!) and it leaves my skin looking like it’s (somehow) nabbed a real tan.” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Beauty Writer
“I have a light skin tone and swear by Bondi Sands' Self-Tanning Foam in Ultra Dark. I apply a couple of pumps for each limb and use their tanning mitt to spread it evenly over my body. It gives an extremely natural-looking tan to the skin without looking orange, and looks great for up to a week. I always make sure the particularly dry parts of my body are moisturised before tanning to ensure a smooth and even application all over.” Alex, SUPERcrew member
Need some guidance on what self-tan is right for you? Read our top tips on how to choose a fake tan formula.
If you prefer a spray tan than an at-home self-tan, make sure you try Kim Kardashian’s tanning hack at your next appointment.
And just for laughs...check out Chris Pratt’s fake tan disaster!
What’s your favourite self-tanning product? Share your reviews with us below - we’d love to hear your recommendations!
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.