The Best Self-Tanners for Bronzing Your Body

The Best Self-Tanners for Bronzing Your Body
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Photo: Allison Kahler

When it comes to getting glowy in the summer, there’s no competition between baking in the sun and self-tanning; in our eyes, the latter will always win. It takes less time, fades away over time, and above all: it’s safer! Even with sunscreen, extended sun exposure leaves us vulnerable to skin disorders and disease, especially since we rarely reapply it throughout the day.

MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Spray Tanning in the Winter

Spray tanning or using a self-tanner allows you to harness all the benefits of a traditional sun sesh, and more often than not, the formulas are also chock-full of ingredients that nourish the skin in addition to tinting it. Bronzing the face can be tricky depending on the skin type category you fall under, but the body isn’t so intimidating, as long as you’re cognizant of the differences in application.

“For your body, you want to make sure you have exfoliated and shaved, and if you have waxed, wait about 24 hours before applying, just so that your hair follicles/pores have time to settle,” says Sophie Evans, skin-finishing expert for St. Tropez.

MORE: The 13 Best Self-Tanners for Your Face

For the face, make sure that all makeup is removed and you’ve lightly exfoliated. Evans also recommends steering away from retinol creams and using in conjunction with a light layer of moisturizer and/or eye serum instead.

“A lot of people ask if you can use body self-tanners on the face, and the answer is yes, but you would combine with other skin-care products,” she says. “Self-tans designed for the face have premium anti-aging ingredients and are formulated perfectly for the delicate face area. The face has a tendency to develop a little darker due to a higher pH level in the facial area, so self-tans designed for the face are formulated a little lighter.”

Since we’ve already shared the best self-tanners for the face, ahead are 10 body-specific options that’ll give you color without the streaking and icky transfer.

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STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
St. Tropez Self-Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse

After exfoliating the body, use a mitt or your hands to apply this foam in long, sweeping motions to the body—no rinse needed! In four to eight hours, you can expect to see a gradual, natural-looking tan. Oh, and this one's vegan-friendly, too.

Available at Amazon

Photo: St. Tropez
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan
Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan

This scent-free, moisturizing mist also includes sun protection for when you're spending more time than usual outside.

$38 at Supergoop!

Photo: Supergoop!
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | St. Tropez Self-Tan Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez Self-Tan Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse

Apply this mousse all over the body and rinse after four hours for a dark tan or eight hours for a more intense one. This provides best results on fairer skin tones.

Available at Amazon

Photo: St. Tropez
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | tarte low with the faux foaming self-tanner
Tarte Glow with the Faux Foaming Self-Tanner

Vegan, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free, this limited-edition tanner is suitable for all skin tones but is especially kind to sensitive skin.

Available at Amazon

Photo: tarte
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Viva Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse
Viva Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse

Exfoliate but don't moisturize before using a tanning mitt to apply this cream in circular movements to the face and body. Wait four hours before rinsing off to reveal a natural-looking tan that lasts for weeks.

$54 at Viva Liberata

Photo: Viva Liberata
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Tan Luxe The Butter
Tan Luxe the Butter

Chock-full of the good stuff (vitamin E, raspberry seed oil, cocoa butter) and free of the nasties (parabens, mineral oils, sulfates), this luxurious formula should be applied to dry skin for a bronze glow.

Available at Amazon

Photo: Tan Luxe
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist
COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist

Made with 70 percent certified-organic ingredients and transfer-resistant, this lightweight spray can be applied over another self-tanner or used alone to brighten up the skin.

Available at Amazon

Photo: COOLA
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel
Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel

This non-oily, quick-absorbing gel dries fast so you tan on the go and harness the softening benefits of its plant extract ingredients.

Available at Amazon

Photo: Clarins
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Mist
Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Mist

Use this spray once to brighten a dull complexion, twice to see a natural-looking tan, and three to intensify the color even more. Also infused with glycerin and aloe vera to moisturize and soothe the skin after sun exposure.

$52 at Nordstrom

Photo: Guerlain
STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Josie Maran Juicy Mango Whipped Argan Oil Self-Tanning Body Butter
Josie Maran Juicy Mango Whipped Argan Oil Self-Tanning Body Butter

The argan oil base is mixed with shea butter, coconut oil, and a caramel tint to nourish and provide the skin with a sun-kissed glow simultaneously.

Available at Amazon

Photo: Josie Maran

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Moments
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | St. Tropez Self-Tan Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | tarte low with the faux foaming self-tanner
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Viva Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Tan Luxe The Butter
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Mist
  • STYLECASTER | Best Body Self-Tanners | Josie Maran Juicy Mango Whipped Argan Oil Self-Tanning Body Butter

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