9 Best Drugstore Self-tanners, Handpicked by Experts

Written by Anoushka Sinha, Skincare Coach & Writer
Updated on Apr 02, 2024
Best Drugstore Self-tanner
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You can achieve a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV radiation and burning holes in your pocket with the best drugstore self-tanners. As you may be aware, self-tanners are designed to darken the skin, mimicking the effects of sun exposure, through the use of active ingredients like dihydroxyacetone (DHA). 

As per our expertise, a good self-tanner should provide an even, natural-looking tan without streaks or an orange hue. However, differentiating between quality self-tanners and ineffective ones can be a challenging task, especially when presented with a plethora of options. Safe to say, picking the best often comes down to formulation, application method, and user reviews. 

We recommend looking for products with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid to prevent dryness and ensure an even application. Additionally, opt for self-tanners that offer a buildable tan to customize the depth of color. Common ingredients found in self-tanners include DHA, erythrulose, and various botanical extracts. 

With the right product and application technique, drugstore self-tanners can provide a safe and healthy glow year-round. Here we have rounded up the top self-tanners available in drugstores. So read on and take your pick.

9 Best Drugstore Self-tanners

Achieve your deepest tan yet with B.tan Darkest Possible self-tanner. The product is extremely popular for its ability to deliver an exceptionally deep tan, often regarded as one of the darkest achievable from a self-tanner. It promises to provide users with a rich, bronzed look in just one hour, making it an ideal choice for those seeking quick results. 

Notably, it is formulated without the typical scent associated with fake tans, offering a more pleasant application experience. B.tan Ultra Dark Self Tanner prides itself on being vegan and cruelty-free, and that gets it extra points for ethical considerations from us. 

Key Ingredients: Dihydroxyacetone, Glycerin, Argan oil, Macadamia oil 

Size: 6.7 Fl Oz.

  • Long-lasting
  • Offers a deep tan
  • Hydrating
  • Affordable pricing
  • Slight tanning scent may remain for 24 hours
  • Most Pleasant Smell

    Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam Dark

    Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam Dark
  • Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam is a popular self-tanning product known for its ease of use and natural-looking results. It's a lightweight foam enriched with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and coconut, providing hydration while delivering a streak-free tan. 

    The foam formula washes really well under the shower, making the process mess-free. Available in various shades, it ensures long-lasting results, giving you a flawless bronzed look that lasts for days.

    Key Ingredients: Dihydroxyacetone, Aloe Vera

    Size: 6.76 Fl Oz.

    • Pleasant coconut scent
    • No orange color
    • Non-streaking
    • Natural-looking medium-deep tan
    • Not transfer-proof

    Quick Tip:

    Shower with lukewarm water after 1-6 hours (depending on how dark you want your tan to be) for optimum results.

  • Editor’s Pick

    Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Light Bronze

    Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Light Bronze
  • For a light bronze tan instantly, try Jergens Natural Glow Mousse. Its airy mousse texture allows for easy and even application, ensuring a streak-free finish. Formulated for fair to medium skin tones, it offers a natural-looking glow that gradually deepens with repeated use. 

    Users appreciate its quick-drying formula and subtle scent, making it a convenient choice for daily use. One happy customer writes, “Easy application with no streaking. Color is beautiful.”

    Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Dihydroxyacetone

    Size: 6 fl Oz.

    • Dries in just 60 seconds
    • Long-lasting tan
    • Good for people with fair skin tone
    • Mild smell
    • Does not dry out the skin
    • Fades well, without blotchiness
    • None
  • Best Hydrating Formula

    Tan Physics True Color Sunless Tanner

    Tan Physics True Color Sunless Tanner
  • Tan Physics True-Color Formula 12 delivers a rich and natural tan surpassing expectations. Enriched with exclusive anti-aging moisturizers, it hydrates and replenishes skin, eliminating the need for additional moisturizers. This 2-in-1 tanner and anti-ager simplifies your skincare routine, saving time and money. 

    What we love the most is that Tan Physics is hydrating, forgiving, and foolproof, ensuring a flawless tan for both beginners and pros. With no streaks, orange tones, or unpleasant odor, it's a must-try for a believable, natural-looking tan.

    Key Ingredients: Argan oil, Coconut oil, Natural caramel & sugars, Organic aloe vera, Matrixyl

    Size: 8 fl Oz.

    • Easy to apply
    • Has a mild scent that doesn’t linger
    • Long-lasting
    • Natural, even tan
    • Expensive

    Quick Tip:

    Use a gentle exfoliant before using the tanner for optimum results.

  • Most Long-lasting Tan

    Skinerals Californium Bronzing Mousse

    Skinerals Californium Bronzing Mousse
  • You can get your face and body tanned without worrying about chemicals with Skinerals Self Tanner Sunless Bronzer. Say goodbye to uneven application — the natural formula guarantees a smooth, flawless tan with no blotchiness. The radiant, natural-looking glow lasts up to 7 days per application, without any orange tint. 


    Based on our observations, the slightly scented whipped mousse provides instant bronzing for a beach-ready look. For an effortless application, consider using the recommended Skinerals Double-Sided Ultra Soft Applicator Mitt.

    Key Ingredients: Aloe, DHA, Erythrulose, Indian gooseberry, Acai berry, glycerin, fig extract, goji berry extract, green tea, white tea, and vitamins A, C, and E

    Size: 8 fl. Oz.

    • Dries quickly
    • Mild, natural smell
    • Fades evenly
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
    • Paraben & sulfate-free
    • Good price point
    • The pump is slightly hard to press
  • Best Cruelty-free Pick

    Beauty by Earth Self Tanner Tanning Drops

    Beauty by Earth  Self Tanner Tanning Drops
  • Easily achieve your desired tan with these customizable self-tanning drops. You can tailor the color to match your skin tone by adjusting the number of drops used. Formulated with skin-loving ingredients like aloe, jojoba seed oil, cucumber extract, and squalane, it offers a natural-looking tan without the typical self-tanner smell or orange hue. 

    Conveniently travel-friendly, these drops can be mixed with your favorite moisturizer to create a personalized face or body tanner lotion, giving you a nice glow wherever you go.

    Key Ingredients- Aloe, Dihydroxyacetone, avocado oil, jojoba seed oil, Squalane, cucumber extract, vanilla fruit extract

    Size: 1 fl Oz.

    • Usable on face and body
    • Easy to use
    • Moisturizing properties
    • Lightweight formula
    • Cruelty-free
    • The scent may be too strong if used over large areas
  • Best for Quick Results

    Body Drench Quick Tan Gradual Tanning Lotion - Dark

    Body Drench Quick Tan Gradual Tanning Lotion - Dark
  • Body Drench Quick Tan offers a medium deep tan within 3-5 hours of application, making it a convenient choice for those seeking quick results. Its non-messy application and dry oil formula ensure a pleasant experience without the hassle of waiting for drying time. 

    Users appreciate its pleasant scent and gradual tanning effect, allowing for a natural-looking tan to develop over time. Formulated with DHA, it provides a reliable and effective solution for achieving a radiant complexion without exposure to harmful UV rays.

    Key Ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, Dihydroxyacetone, Erythrulose

    Size: 8 fl Oz.

    • Easy to apply
    • Gluten-free
    • Safe for sensitive skin
    • Moisturizing
    • Slightly sticky on the skin
  • Most Easy to Use

    Fake Bake Flawless Mousse

    Fake Bake Flawless Mousse
  • Achieve a flawless tan without the sun with Fake Bake Flawless Self Tanning Mousse. Its streak-free formula ensures a long-lasting, natural glow suitable for all skin tones. The included color guide helps you apply it evenly, from your back to your legs, with ease. This tropical-scented mousse dries quickly, leaving behind a non-sticky finish reminiscent of a tropical paradise. 

    Within 4-6 hours, you'll enjoy a beautifully glowing tan that enhances your skin's unique pigment, thanks to its natural ingredients. With the added mitt and gloves, bronzing has never been easier or more precise.

    Key Ingredients: Dihydroxyacetone, Glycerin, Caramel

    Size: 6.7 Fl Oz.

    • Rapid dry technology
    • Smooth and even application
    • Natural-looking tan
    • Ideal for sensitive skin
    • Tan may not be long-lasting
  • Most Versatile

    BestBronze Self Tanner Mousse- Tinted

    BestBronze Self Tanner Mousse- Tinted
  • Experience the BestBronze Self Tanner Mousse, your go-to solution for a natural tan. This fragrance-free, non-comedogenic face tanner is enriched with healthy, powerful ingredients like DHA, Erythrulose, and Polyglutamic Acid. Achieve a buildable bronze with ease: exfoliate, hydrate, and apply the mousse for a light, medium, or dark tan. What’s impressive is that this product doubles as a bronzer. With its transfer-resistant formula, enjoy a mess-free application and no streaks. Best Bronze offers a lightweight, quick-drying formula for an instant, natural-looking bronze you'll adore.

    Key Ingredients: DHA and Erythrulose

    Size: 5.07 Fl Oz.

    • No streaks
    • Mild scent
    • Lasts long
    • Versatile use
    • Can be mixed with creams/lotions/sunscreen
    • Takes time for the tan to fully develop

    Quick Tip:

    Use sparingly if you have very pale skin as this product works as a bronzer plus tanner, so the tan can build up to become very dark.

    Buying Guide to Pick the Best Drugstore Self-tanner

    When selecting a drugstore self-tanner, consider the following factors to ensure optimal results:

    Ingredients: Look for products containing DHA as the active tanning ingredient. Additionally, seek formulations with moisturizing agents like glycerin or hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated during and after application.

    Formulation: Choose between lotions, mousses, sprays, or the best drugstore tanning oils, based on your preference and skin type. Opt for tinted formulas or guide colors to aid in even application and reduce the risk of streaking.

    Skin Type And Desired Tan Intensity: Consider your skin type (dry, oily, sensitive) and the level of tan intensity you desire. Some products offer gradual tanning effects, allowing you to control the depth of color over time.

    Price And Value: Evaluate the product's price relative to its size, ingredients, and performance. While affordability is a key factor, prioritize value by considering the quality and quantity offered.

    By carefully considering these factors, you can confidently select a drugstore self-tanner that suits your preferences and delivers a natural-looking tan.

    How to Apply Drugstore Self-tanners?

    Achieving a flawless tan with a drugstore self-tanner requires proper application technique. Here are the steps with some additional tips: 

    • Begin by exfoliating your skin to remove dead cells and ensure an even tan. 
    • Moisturize dry areas like elbows, knees, and ankles to prevent excessive absorption of the tanner, unless otherwise specified in a brand’s product usage instructions. 
    • Apply the product in circular motions using a tanning mitt or gloves to avoid streaks. Remember to start with a conservative amount and gradually build up the tan to your desired intensity. 
    • Pay attention to tricky areas such as hands, feet, and face, using sparing amounts and blending well. 
    • Allow ample time for the product to dry before dressing to prevent smudging or transferring.


    The best drugstore self-tanners offer a convenient and affordable way to achieve a sun-kissed glow without the risks associated with sun exposure. By selecting the right product and mastering the application technique, you can achieve a natural-looking tan that enhances your complexion year-round. Remember to prioritize hydration, exfoliation, and even application for the best results. B.tan Darkest Possible Self Tan Mousse offers great hydration whereas Fake Bake Flawless Mousse provides an even application for a flawless tan. With a little practice and the guidance of these tips, you can confidently embrace a radiant, bronzed look while safeguarding your skin's health.


    What are the benefits of choosing a drugstore self-tanner?
    Drugstore self-tanners offer affordability and convenience, providing a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV radiation.
    Are drugstore self-tanners suitable for sensitive skin?
    Many drugstore self-tanners are formulated with gentle ingredients, making them safe for sensitive skin. However, it's recommended to check the product's label for any potential irritants.
    Can drugstore self-tanners deliver a natural-looking tan?
    Yes, drugstore self-tanners can provide a natural-looking tan when applied properly. Opt for products with buildable formulas to customize the intensity of the tan to your liking.
    How long does the tan from a drugstore self-tanner last?
    The longevity of a drugstore self-tanner's tan varies depending on factors such as formulation and application. Typically, the tan can last anywhere from a few days to a week before gradually fading.
    Can I use a drugstore self-tanner on both my face and body?
    Yes, many drugstore self-tanners are suitable for use on both the face and body. However, it's essential to choose products specifically formulated for facial use to avoid potential irritation.
    How can I prevent streaks and uneven color when applying self-tanner?
    To avoid streaks and uneven color, exfoliate and moisturize your skin beforehand. Apply the self-tanner in circular motions using a mitt or glove for even distribution. Allow ample time for the product to dry before dressing.
    Will the self-tanner leave my skin with an orange tint?
    Quality drugstore self-tanners are formulated to provide a natural-looking tan without an orange tint. Look for products with natural ingredients and read reviews to ensure the best results.
    Can I use a drugstore self-tanner on fair or deep skin tones?
    Yes, drugstore self-tanners are available in various shades to suit all skin tones, from fair to deep. Choose a shade that complements your skin tone for the most natural-looking results.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    The selection of the best drugstore tanners curated by Anoushka, our in-house skincare expert, stems from her profound expertise and dedication to delivering top-quality products for our readers. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of skincare needs, Anoushka meticulously evaluated each tanner's formulation, efficacy, and user feedback. She prioritized products that offer natural-looking results, easy application, and suitability for various skin types. Through her extensive research and hands-on testing, she ensured that only the finest drugstore tanners make it to our curated list, providing our readers with reliable options for achieving a radiant, sun-kissed glow without compromising on quality.

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    Anoushka Sinha
    Skincare Coach & Writer

    Anoushka is certified in Professional Skincare and is a Mass Media (Journalism) graduate from Mumbai University. As a More