5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work

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5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, used as an exfoliator before applying self-tan lotion or spray

Source: Lush, $21.95
5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Clarins Auto-Bronzant

Clairins Lait Auto-Bronzant Broad Spectrum SPF 6- Sunscreen

Source: Amazon, $49.79
5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Jergens Instant Sun Tanning Mousse

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse in Light Bronze

Source: Amazon, $8.95
5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tan

Neutrogena MicroMist Airbrush Sunless Spray

Source: Amazon, $10
5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Sephora Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist

Sephora Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist

Source: Sephora, $18
5 Budget-Friendly Self-Tanners That Actually Work
Tarte Brazilliance Self-Tanner

Tarte Brazilliance Self-Tanner

Source: Sephora, $39

Even though summer is coming to an end after this month, it is not too late to get an enviable tan before Labor Day arrives. Unfortunately, I am too pale and impatient to lay outside and absorb the sun rays, which typically just ends with a painful burn and peeling. I also do not like putting myself at risk for potential skin damage caused by the sun, especially since I am now a quarter of a century old….eek.

Thankfully, there are some amazing, budget-friendly products available that will give you a natural looking tan without even having to step foot outside. As a relatively fair skinned girl, I have tried countless self-tanners in my life- not all have been great. However, after much trial and error, I wanted to share some of my personal favorite products that should give you a natural glow that won’t turn you orange or look streaky. You can find all of my product recommendations and where to buy them by clicking on the image above ↑. Continue reading below↓ for more info about my recommendations.

Always EXFOLIATE Before Self-Tanning

Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, used as an exfoliator before applying self-tan lotion or spray
One key step to achieving a flawless faux glow is to EXFOLIATE your skin before applying any tanning products. Exfoliating will get rid of any dead or dry skin cells that could potentially cause streaking or flaking from sunless tanning products. You can use a body scrub on both your face and body for smooth and fresh skin. My favorite exfoliating product is from LUSH- Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub. It smells like a fruity, tropical drink and always makes my skin feel amazingly soft and smooth. Now, onto the self-tanning products. ↓

CLARINS- Lait Auto-Bronzant Broad Spectrum Self Tanner with SPF

Clarins Auto-Bronzant SPF Self Tanning Lotion
I discovered this awesome self-tanning lotion from my mom, who has been using it for years. Clarins Auto-Bronzant self tanning lotion is one of my favorite products because it also includes SPF sunscreen in it, so you can also wear it outside to help boost your tan. You apply it just like you would apply liquid sunscreen. It has always given me a very natural looking tan that lasts for several weeks and gradually fades, like a real tan. This product takes a few hours to kick in but the clear gel dries on your skin within a few minutes. I recommend not showering for a day after using this lotion and ALWAYS remember to wash your hands thoroughly after applying to avoid orange hands.

JERGENS- Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse in Light Bronze
If you are looking for a cheap and natural bronze instant tan, Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse is the way to go. The mousse-like formula comes out in a dark bronze color and is relatively easy to apply. There is the possibility of it getting a little messy, so I recommend standing over a towel when you apply…I stained my carpet the first time I used it, whoops. But the great thing about this product is that it gives you an instant, natural color without any hints of orange. Also, because the formula has a tinted dark brown color, you can easily tell if you miss a spot when applying to avoid an uneven, splotchy tan. The color typically stays on for a little over a week. To maintain a long lasting glow, I recommend reapplying once a week.

NEUTROGENA- Micromist Airbrush Sunless Spray

Neutrogena MicroMist Airbrush Sunless Spray
This product is great for a quick tan fix. I used this a lot in the spring to give my pale legs and arms some color before going out. Neutrogena’s Micromist Airbrush Sunless Spray works pretty instantly and dries within minutes. I recommend using this spray if you are wanting to slowly build up a tan because the color is not super dark. It requires a few coats to obtain a darker tan. However, it is a great product and the color always looks natural and does not streak. I also feel comfortable applying this product on my face to add some natural color that is not splotchy or too dark.

SEPHORA- Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist

Sephora Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist
I have always been a huge fan of the Sephora brand Self-Tanning Body mist. The self-tanning body spray mist is easy and quick to apply, giving you an instant glow. This is great for temporary use since the tan usually does not last over a few days and washes off easily in the shower. I typically do not use this type of spray on self-tanner for an all over body tan, mainly because it can be difficult to evenly spray everything without missing some spots. The body mist dries within minutes and the full color usually appears after 30 minutes-so if you do end up missing some spots, you can quickly reapply to even out the color for a flawless glow.

TARTE- Brazillance Plus Self-Tanner

Tarte Brazilliance Self-Tanner
Tarte has revamped their best-selling Brazillance self-tanning lotion, which I have always been a fan of- minus the smell. Thankfully, the new version smells much better and is easier than ever to apply- now coming with an application mitt. The lotion comes out in liquid gel form that will give you a sun-kissed, natural looking glow for several days. The tan gradually fades but can be maintained by reapplying once or twice a week.

So, there you have it- my favorite self-tanning products. Hopefully you will never have to worry about looking like this again…..

Yikes!
xo,

Jenn

Jenn Lee

Web Designer, Digital Media Specialist

Graduate Student👩‍💻 | Digital Media Specialist | Georgia Bulldog Alum 🐾

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