The Best Self-Tanning Lotions and Sprays


Hello, Minnesota winter. Goodbye golden skin tone. Yes, I know that all took place a few long months ago, but I’m still combating with the pale skin blues. I’m not one where my skin looks beautiful in a light tone. Some people can pull that off so wonderfully. I cannot. So, over the course of the last year or so, I’ve tried enough self-tanning products that I’ve got a good idea of what’s out there and how well they work so I wanted to share what I have learned. Here’s my review of the following products and at the end I will share which is my favorite.

Self tanner comparison guide-2

1. Jergens Natural Glow Tanning Lotion ($8.50) This is the stuff that first came out when I was in college. I thought it was wonderful back then. I had it down to a science. I’d shower, dry off and then use the lotion while my pores were still open. Then I’d use the wet towel to wipe between my fingers and on the base of my palm, as these are the spots I found that the lotion would build up and look a little orange. It always made for a flawless application. No streaks, spots, or blotches. It takes a little while to show up, at least a few applications before you notice a big difference. The unfortunate part was that the lotion made my face break out. Then they started making the face lotion but I never ended up trying that, I’m sure it’s gotten more advanced.

2. Fake Bake Original Self-Tan Lotion ($10.99) I found this lotion on Amazon and thought that since I’d had luck with lotion in the past, I’d like this as well. Although I did like the instant glow of this lotion, I didn’t like how long of a process it seemed to take me. It comes with rubber/plastic gloves with which you apply the lotion which makes it kind of awkward to apply. Plus, my hands are left white and pasty, with kind of an odd line around the palm base. The end result was nice though, and the tan seemed to last.

3. SUN Self-Tanning Lotion Ultra Dark ($15.99) This was a popular option on Amazon as well. I had searched through the top reviewed and fan favorites to see what everyone else was liking, and this product is what they lead me to. Ironically enough, this was probably my least favorite. The result was okay, but again the process was too long for my short attention span and it sometimes seemed a little streaky.

4. Neutrogena Micro Mist ($9.99) This item is extremely easy to use. You spray your body and the mist evenly applies. This was my first sort of attempt at tanning sprays so I was hesitant to try it, but when I did, I loved it. There are no splotches and the color doesn’t look orange. It gives an awesome glow, but it does take an hour or two to start to develop. This one is great for the quick spot treatment when you’re on the run. Wearing a lower cut shirt? Or maybe you put on the shorts or capris and realized you needed a little color. This is perfect and so quick to use at these times. The downside of this one is that the bottle doesn’t seem to last very long and your floors may end up a little sticky.

5. Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid ($13.00) This item was actually recommended to me by a friend. It’s a spray, but you actually spray the tanner on a mitt and then apply to your skin. I used this for quite some time (and went through a couple bottles actually) but again, it’s time consuming and I just don’t have the patience to mitt up my whole body. However, this is probably the best of the five at giving an instant color, and it lasts quite a while as well.

6. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse ($24.95) – This has become one of my favorite self-tanners because the results are great. It’s a bit time consuming though, as you have to evenly spread all of your body with the mitt. Because it takes a little while to apply, I don’t end up applying it as often as I should. But when I do need a nice, real-looking tan, it’s my go-to. It also lasts quite a while as well, so it’s been worth the price tag.


  1. Longest Lasting – It’s a tie between: Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid & SUN Lotion.
  2. Best Bang For Your Buck – The Fake Bake Flawless Liquid
  3. Easiest Application – Neutrogena Micro Mist
  4. Best Color – This is also a toss up between the Neutrogena Micro Mist and the St. Tropez
  5. Overall Favorite – St. Tropez Mousse

Did you see that overall favorite coming? I tried to make it suspenseful as we traveled along those reviews there. If there is a certain self-tanner that you love, leave a comment and share!

Hearts, Sarah

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