We all love the look of a healthy, sun-kissed glow. Using a self-tanner is the easiest and safest way to achieve it. However, those with sensitive skin types have to be cautious about the products they apply to their skin. If your skin is sensitive to certain chemicals, if you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, you need a gentle self-tanner that won’t irritate your skin or cause redness and inflammation.
While there are so many self-tanners on the market right now, some are better than others. In this guide, we are listing down some of the best, streak-free and easy-to-use self-tanners that won’t cause skin irritation among users with sensitive to extra-sensitive skin.
Read on to see our top picks for the best self-tanner products, plus some helpful tips for self-tan prep.
Fake Tan for Sensitive Skin – 7 Self Tanner Products Reviewed
A few things to keep in mind before we jump into the round-up:
- Always do a patch test first, especially if you have experienced irritation with self-tanners in the past.
- Also remember, that just because it doesn’t cause irritation or outbreaks for some, it doesn’t mean it won’t for you.
Eco Tan Organic Face Tan Water
If you’re after bronze without the breakouts, try the highly-rated and best-selling Face Tan Water by Eco Tan.
One of the reasons this product is so loved by users is its ability to deliver a beautiful, subtle and natural-looking glow thanks to a formulation of natural and organic ingredients. These include natural hyaluronic acid and glycerine for hydration, vitamin C for anti-ageing benefits and fighting free radical damage and aloe vera for soothing irritated skin.
You can read my full review of Eco Tan Face Tan Water here.
Moo Goo How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tan
Those with sensitive skin will know the challenge of finding a self-tanner that actually provides colour without causing irritation.
How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tan from Moo Goo is considered to be a ‘holy grail’ for those with sensitive skin, eczema and psoriasis.
The formula combines two natural tanning ingredients Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and Erythrulose (glucose-based tanning agent) to create a deep golden glow that doesn’t turn orange or streaky. Additionally, users love that it has a subtle scent that’s not as overpowering as other
The lotion is ultra-moisturising and nourishing thanks to a combination of natural oils such as Sweet Almond, Coconut and Olive Oil.
With this product, beware that it does contain Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) from a canola-based source.
Check out YouTuber BusybeeCarys explain why this is her go-to self-tanner for sensitive skin:
Vichy Capital Soleil Moisturising Self-Tanning Milk
• Antioxidant Vitamin E for hydration
Lightweight yet hydrating, the Vichy Capital Soleil Moisturizing Self-Tanning Milk is a self tanning lotion that gives a radiant, natural tanner that deepens progressively an hour after application. This beautifully formulated sunless tanner is enriched with vitamin E that softens and hydrates the skin. Although hydrating, it doesn’t leave a greasy film on the skin. It just melts and sinks into the skin quickly and is easy to apply.
Some gradual tans can be quite tricky to use because over-application could lead to discolorations, streaks, or heaven forbid, a decidedly orange Oompa Loompa look and no one wants that! It’s hard to over-apply the Vichy Capital Soleil Moisturizing Self-Tanning Milk because it produces a realistic-looking tan an hour after the first application. If you want to deepen your shade, give the product enough time to develop then apply another layer. The streak-free, stain-free formula means you don’t have to deal with stained palms and clothes, uneven colour, or unnaturally dark tan. A plus is that it can build upon different skin tones.
If you have sensitive skin then you will love Vichy Capital Soleil Moisturizing Self-Tanning Milk. It’s free from preservatives and chemicals that irritate the skin. It’s also enriched with Vichy thermal spa water that soothes the skin. This sunless tanning lotion is also hypoallergenic and tested under dermatological control with Vichy Mineralizing Thermal. It’s also certified paraben-free.
The problem with sunless tanning is that some products produce a tan that turns dull days after the application. That’s not a problem with the Vichy Capital Soleil Moisturizing Self-Tanning Milk because it contains moisturizing ingredients that extend the radiance of your tanner. You’ll look fresh, healthy, and glowing for days! And as long as you reapply every 2 to 4 times a week (depending on your desired results), you can enjoy a golden kissed glow for as long as you like
The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan
The Organic Pharmacy is known for its high-quality range of Ecocert approved sunless tanning products. One of my favorites from the brand is simply named the self tan, which is a tanning spray that gives a healthy, natural-looking tan that glows. If you have sensitive to extra sensitive skin then you will love this certified-organic product, I promise. Even beauty guru Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan!
The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan spreads easily and blends like a dream. The formula is thin yet hydrating. It leaves the skin silky smooth to the touch and it produces a subtle, even tan that you can build depending on how deep you’d like your tan to get. This tanner contains a unique Ecocert-approved DHA derived from sugar beets so the glow you get is incredibly balanced and natural-looking.
I love products with a lightweight formula and the Organic Pharmacy Self Tan feels like nothing on. It’s suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin. It does have a faint citrusy fragrance so if you prefer your sunless tanners to be fragrance-free, this might not be the product for you. I will say that the fragrance dissipates quickly so it shouldn’t bother those with sensitive noses. Also, it’s a fairly expensive sunless tanning lotion but if you are in the mood to splurge, try this tanning spray.
Vita Liberta Body Blur
When I need a healthy dose of colour in an instant, I always reach for the Vita Liberata Body Blur. This body makeup transforms the skin into a flawless, photo-ready finish. Although it’s meant to give the skin a lovely, even glow, the Body Blur also conceals minor skin beauty imperfections, including cellulite, spider veins, and skin blemishes. Vita Liberata Body Blur is also designed to blur lines and pores, think of this tanning product as Photoshop in a tube!
What I like most about the Vita Liberata Body Blur is its soothing, hydrating formula. It’s enriched with vitamin C and E as well as aloe vera to softly hydrate and condition the skin. The Vita Liberata Body Blur is also formulated with glycerin, which has anti-aging and healing properties. It’s quite an emollient formula so it’s best used on mild days or if your skin is extra thirsty.
This product is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin because it’s free from all the bad stuff, no harsh chemicals, parabens, artificial fragrances, and animal derivatives. It’s also free from petrochemicals, sulfates, and silicones so it won’t cause irritation or breakouts.
The Vita Liberata Body Blur is great for anyone who needs an instant color that washes off in the shower. It does, however, leave light stains on clothes so my advice would be to give the product enough time to sink thoroughly into the skin. Be sure to blend well so the product is fully absorbed by the skin.
Sisley Self-Tanning Hydrating Body Skin Care
Sisley is best known for its skincare products (I’m such a huge fan!) but the brand’s tanning products are just as fabulous. The Sisley Self-Tanning Hydrating Body Skin Care is one of the brand’s most underrated products and though it’s expensive, it’s worth the splurge if your look just isn’t complete without a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow.
This self-tanner has a luxurious, deliciously rich texture but it goes so light on the skin. It’s non-greasy and quick absorbing. Blend the product all over the skin and you get the most natural-looking tan that deepens to a lovely bronze. The buildable formula is so mild that it’s suitable for people with sensitive skin.
The Sisley Self-Tanning Hydrating Body Skin Care combines the self-tanning action of DHA with erythrulose. These self-tanning molecules give a long-lasting, streak-free color within an hour or two after application. The lotion is formulated with plant-derived ingredients – including wild pansy and chestnut extracts – that hydrate and condition the skin.
This product blends like a dream because the lotion melts upon contact with the skin. It does have a light, refreshing scent but the fragrance is non-irritating. The Sisley Self-Tanning Hydrating Body Skin Care dries quickly, by the way, so it won’t stain your clothes or your furniture. However, you have to work fast so the product won’t dry mid-application.
Botanic Tree Self Tanner + Pre Tan Exfoliator Set
Personally, I would always choose plant-based, organic products over chemical-based products and this applies to my fake tans too. If you want a cruelty-free product that’s free from irritating, harsh chemicals/ingredients that you could barely pronounce then you will love the Botanic Tree Self Tanner + Pre Tan Exfoliator Set. This set is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin because the formula is mild, non-irritating, and free from harsh chemicals that could cause skin irritation. It’s scented but I find the fragrance pleasant and not irritating to the nose.
The texture of the lotion itself is creamy, quite emollient though it spreads easily. It’s not as fast-absorbing as I would like so don’t use this if you’re in a hurry! You want to give the product enough time to blend on your skin. Once it dries, it gives a subtle tan that deepens more to a medium, natural-looking bronze that lasts for days.
As far as longevity goes, the tan will last for several days. The color isn’t orange at all, it’s neutral with no streaks. The Pre-Tan exfoliator is a great partner for this tanning lotion because it made the overall results look even better! The best thing about using this bronzing product is that it never made my skin break out. Overall, this is a great set to get if you love a good medium colour. The exfoliating product buffs the skin and preps it well for the tanning lotion, which hydrates and conditions the skin deeply.
Golden Star Sunless Tanning Lotion
The Golden Star brand has always been a favourite of mine when it comes to fake tanning products and the Sunless Tanning Lotion gets top marks on our list of the best
If you have Sahara dry skin and you need intense hydration, this product is definitely for you! This self-tanning oil is made with a number of natural ingredients like certified organic oils, including luxurious argan oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil that nourishes and softens the skin deeply. It’s also fortified with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.
Hyaluronic acid is a type of glycosaminoglycan that’s naturally present in the human body. This substance attracts and collects moisture that’s why it’s often used in anti-aging skincare products. A gram of hyaluronic acid could hold six liters of water so imagine how hydrating this substance will be when applied to the skin. If you have sensitive skin, don’t worry. Since hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, it won’t irritate the skin.
The Self Tanner Sunless Tanning Lotion is a dry-oil tanning product so it goes light on the skin but is surprisingly quick to absorb. The skin doesn’t feel grimy or sticky after application although you have to blend and give the product time to be absorbed fully by the skin. And once the application is done, the colour deepens to a fabulous holiday glow.
The tanning process itself is gradual and the results do last! There are no bad streaks, no product transfer, and the application is a no-brainer. If you haven’t tried using a dry oil tanner or you are using a tanning product for the first time + you have sensitive skin, you cannot go wrong with the Self Tanner Sunless Tanning Lotion.
5 Tips for a Streak-Free, Sunless Tan
The secret to a glowing tan is proper prep. No matter how user-friendly or expensive your tanning product is, if you’re not preparing your skin before application, you’ll get blotchy, streaky results. Here are ways to get the perfect glow using any tanning product:
The skin sheds dead skin cells every 28 days and if you’re not exfoliating your body regularly, the flakes will pile up on the skin. When this happens, any product you apply on your skin will cling to the flakes, even your tanning lotion. So before applying a tanning product, buff your skin with a loofah or a bath lily, whatever works for you. The important thing to remember is to make sure that your skin has been exfoliated properly before using a self-tanner for streak-free results.
If you have dry skin, regular exfoliation may leave your skin extra parched. Applying an oil-free moisturiser before applying a self-tanner gives the skin an extra boost of hydration so your skin will look smoother after getting a
Start from the Bottom
People apply bronzing products differently and in my experience, starting with your feet and then gradually working your way to the top is the best way to get an all-over bronze. I don’t get dark spots, weird lines and unsightly marks when I start from the bottom because I’m not bending down all the time to apply the product.
Correct Mistakes Immediately
If you’re seeing streaks or unevenness as you apply the tanning product, don’t wait until the color develops before doing something about the mistake. Correct the mistake immediately so you don’t end up with a blotchy look. Once the color has developed, it will be hard to make any corrections, especially with some gradual tanning products.
Working with Your Skin Type
Getting a realistic, sun-kissed glow is easy to get if you are paying close attention to your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, use a formula that’s designed specifically for sensitive to extra sensitive skin. You don’t want rashes or inflammation to ruin a great tan! This tip also applies to anyone with acne-prone skin or those who suffer from rosacea or eczema.
It’s also worth noting that some tanning products are designed for the body, others should be applied on the face only so knowing the difference will help prevent breakouts. Always read the label, check the ingredients, and be sure that the product you are using is not laden with irritants that could cause adverse reactions.
If you have dry skin, opt for an emollient, hydrating tan formula but the texture should be quick-absorbing and lightweight. This way, the tanning product won’t sit uncomfortably on the skin. If you have oily skin, opt for tanning sprays, wipes, water or gel formulas. These formulas won’t clog the pores and are lightweight so they don’t leave a sticky film on the skin.
There is nothing worse than a sticky tan that takes ages to dry. We suggest adding a
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Applying a tanning lotion may seem intimidating if you’re doing it for the first time but with the right product, you’ll get a lovely tanned appearance that gives the skin a healthy glow. And if you have reactive skin, our list of the best
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