Best Fake Tan – Ultimate Guide to Fake Tan For Face and Body

Last Updated: June 26, 2020

When it comes to fake tan, Australia can proudly claim the home of the best fake tan brands. Many international brands also find success in a beauty market that embraces a sun kissed glow. Even in winter there is dedication to getting a perfect tan, usually with the help of a great fake tanner.

Many people are recognising the impact of long-term sun exposure on your skin, and turning to self-tanning in order to still achieve a glow. As the popularity and use of fake tan continues to grow, new brands are popping up on the market and more established brands are becoming staples in beauty routines.

I have tried many, many fake tan products in the 10 years I have been using it I have developed an understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to a “good fake tan”. 

With this in mind, we have created the ultimate guide for the best fake tan products on the market. Whether you are after a face tan, foam tan or gradual tanner, we have you covered. Read on to see which self tanning products are right for you.

Quick Guide – Best Fake Tan

Best Spray Tan 

Bondi Sands Aero

Best Fake Tan for Face 

Eco Tan Face Tan Water

Best Gradual Tan

Loving Tan Deluxe Gradual Tan

Best Fake Tan Mousse

Tanologist Express Extra Dark Self Tan Mousse

Best Fake Tan Water or Oil

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold

Best At-Home Spray Tanners

Bondi Sands Aero

Bondi Sands Aero Self Tanning Foam
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Aero hit the market a few years ago, launched at Coachella by a well-coordinated influencer campaign. It’s a great marketing tactic, but is it a great spray tan?

In terms of “tans-in-a-can”, it’s actually a pretty good option. Like most of the Bondi Sands products, it has a great coconut scent and lightweight consistency.

This is also a nice option for those with fair – medium skin tones. You will be able to achieve a gorgeous natural-looking colour.

Le Tan in Le Can – Classic Tan

Le Tan in Le Can Classic Tan Medium/Dark
$16.49
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The Classic Tan by Le Tan, is what you call a “gateway” tanner. Like many others, this is one of the products that got me into tanning all those years ago.

If I could think of a word to describe this fake tan it would be reliable.

It’s not life-changing, nor the best fake tan I have ever tried but I will keep 1 or 2 cans of this on hand. It’s consistent, you know exactly what you are getting with this tan — a nice golden colour and super-easy application.

If I am running low on a foam tanner, I use this for a little top-up or in the past have used it on my face or hands/feet.

Best Face Tanners

Eco Tan Face Water

Eco Tan Face Tan Water
  • All-natural and organic ingredients 
  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid for hydration
  • Buildable, natural colour


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There is a lot to love about Face Tan Water — the au-naturale ingredients, no breakouts and it creates a subtle and stunning glow on your face.

My only gripe with this product is that it will fade very quickly — especially if you are using active ingredients in your skincare routine.

I am not the type of person who could pull off solely wearing a gradual tanner on my face. My eye bags and transparent skin would just not make that possible. For those that can, this is an awesome product to restore a few layers of glow to your skin.

Despite some tough competition, I believe this is the best fake tan for face as it allows you to build the colour and due to how natural looking it appears once it has developed.

Tan Luxe The Face

Tan Luxe THE FACE Self Tan Drops, Medium/Dark
$49.75
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09/21/2021 03:33 am GMT

One of my biggest fears when it comes to using any face tanning product is waking up with an orange face. I want an even, natural result that won’t break my skin out.

Tan Luxe is well-loved by those in beauty community for good reason — it delivers!

There are two colour options; Light to Medium or Medium to Dark which develops over several hours.

You add the drops into your moisturiser, serum or face-oil, meaning it won’t disrupt your skincare routine and is buildable.

Tanologist Face & Body Tanning Drops

Tanologist Face & Body Tanning Drops - Dark
$19.99
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While this is not the best fake tan for face I have ever used, it did have a few benefits. Mainly being that it didn’t cause my skin to breakout like i have experienced with other tanners. This is thanks to a mix of a skin-saving trio of pink grapefruit, goji berry and juniper which also works to soften and hydrate the skin.

These self tanning drops have a clear consistency and are designed to be mixed with your skincare, makeup or bodycare. Adding more drops will result in a darker tan. The face tanner comes in three shades; Light, Medium and Dark. As someone who has a fair complexion, I would recommend going for the lightest shade and building from there.

The downside of this product is the final result. I initially purchased the medium and found as it developed it was way too dark. Despite using it sparingly with a moisturiser, the results look like an orange mask rather than a ‘vacay bronze’ as the brand claims.

It’s hard to comment on dry time as it was mixed with a serum or moisturiser on application but overall the drops were easy to apply. I will generally look to face self tanners that can be easily integrated into my skincare routine.

Best Gradual Tanners

JERGENS® Natural Glow® + FIRMING Daily Moisturiser

Jergens Natural Glow Plus Firming Daily Moisturizer
$7.49
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09/21/2021 03:43 am GMT

This is a super-affordable but very effective option for those who want a buildable fake tan. In my experience using product, it has always delivered a bronzed glow, never orange.

There are two shades available; Fair to Medium and Medium to Tan.

One of the key ways to maintain a fake tan is to keep the skin hydrated and moisturised. That is why I would recommend having this on hand throughout summer to top up a natural tan or when your self tan starts to fade.

This product is quick drying too, meaning you won’t have to worry about feeling sticky all day.

Dove Summer Glow

Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion Fair to Medium Skin, 250ml
$7.99
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09/21/2021 03:37 am GMT

You don’t have to opt for exxy brands to achieve a gradual glow.

This is another product that has stood the test of time.

This product builds SO nicely into a subtle bronze glow — all while moisturising your skin. This is perfect to top up a fading tan or for those who prefer to build their colour.

Tan-Luxe The Gradual

TAN-LUXE THE GRADUAL
$47.60
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09/21/2021 03:40 am GMT

One reservation I have with gradual tans, is that when they develop you can often find streaks. That is not the case with The Gradual.

So, what else is different about this self tanner? It’s an oil/lotion hybrid that begins to warm within an hour of application. It is quickly gaining reputation as one of the best gradual tanning products on the market.

This is an ideal product for a low-maintenance gal, who wants a natural-looking golden glow.

Eco Tan Invisible Tan

Eco Tan Invisible Tan
$34.90
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09/21/2021 03:36 am GMT

Compared to many other gradual tanners, I really love the natural-looking colour Eco Tan Invisible Tan produces. To set expectations, this is not going to make you several shades darker overnight but you will be able to build a nice colour.

Additionally, this is moisturising AND super easy apply. 

Loving Tan Deluxe Gradual Tan

Loving Tan Deluxe Gradual Tan - Medium
$29.95
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The Deluxe Gradual Tan by Loving Tan uses an advanced colour-guide technology to deliver a streak-free application, transforming your skin into luminous, sun-kissed glow.

Theres a lot to love about this gradual fake tan. The product itself has a lightweight consistency that develops into a natural looking olive undertone shade once applied.

Consistent application over 1 – 3 days will build a beautiful deep tan. This is a great product to use to prolong or top up a tan. As you would assume, those with fair – light skin tones will want to choose shade Light, those with light-medium will want to choose shade Medium and those with medium-deep skin tones will want to opt for shade Dark.

It has a pleasant smell as is packed with some amazing ingredients such as Acai berry, coffee seed extract and shea butter which work in tandem to hydrate, soften, revitalise and protect the skin from external environmental aggressors.

This is easily one of the best fake tan products I have tried for a gradual sun kissed glow.

Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk

Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Lotion
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This is the gradual tanning lotion is part of the Bondi Sands Pure range recently released. What’s different about the Pure range, is that they have combined the iconic Bondi Sands glow with skin loving ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, Vitamin C for radiance and Vitamin E for repair. The skin is further moisturised by a rich blend of Cocoa and Shea Butter.

If you’re looking for a skin nourishing gradual tanner that would be the product for you.

As with any fake tan product, you may need to try it a few times to perfect an application, but the results with the Pure Gradual Tanning Milk are worth it. After one application it delivers a light natural looking golden hue that can be intensified with continuous reapplication every 1 – 2 days.

Tan Luxe The Butter

Tan Luxe - The Butter Self Tanner
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The Butter by Tan Luxe does exactly what you assumed it would — melts into the skin like super-soft butter. Easily one of top rated gradual tanning moisturisers on the market, it delivers an effortlessly bronzed look.

The Butter is formulated with a mix of vitamin E and raspberry seed, oat and coconut oils, plus cocoa and shea butter. These ingredients work to hydrate and nourish the skin while delivering a perfect golden glow.

A highlight of this gradual tanner is the ‘Cellutone Complex’ (a combination of caffeine and palmitoyl) which reduces the appearance of cellulite, intensely nourishing skin as it gradually builds into a sun-kissed tan.

Best Foam and Bronzing Mousse Tanners

Minetan Colour Base Self Tan Foam

MineTan 1 Hour Express Self Tan Foam
$24.99
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09/21/2021 03:42 am GMT

I would be lying if I said I have tried all the shades in the Mine Tan Colour Base range. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as there are A LOT of shades to choose from.

For anyone who is new to tanning or is looking for their perfect colour, different tanning formulas vary in their colour base. Green-based tans tend to be the most popular and often produce a very deep, dark finish. Violet-based tanners produce a warmer colour and work to counteract yellow and orange undertones.

The Mine Tan Colour Base range has 6 colours to choose from, so you can image there really is a colour for everyone.

I would probably not recommend this to anyone who is new to tanning. You should try a few other brands first to establish what colour and formula works best for your skin type first.

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam

Bondi Sands - Salon Quality Self Tanning Foam
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Bondi Sands is going to make a few appearances on this list – why? Simply because they have so many great tanning products.

For this product in particular, well, I like it. Would I wear it every day? No, that’s purely because I like darker shades. However, this is a perfect tanner for those who want a really subtle look, perhaps already have tanned skin, and want to top up their shade.

I do like that this is buildable tanner and would definitely recommend it for tanning newbies. It’s so easy to apply and doesn’t result in any streaks or dramatic results.

St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse

ST TROPEZ Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
  • Dries instantly
  • Tinted formula
  • Easy removal


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I have mixed feelings when it comes to St. Tropez and particularly this product. I took it on trip to Bali, expecting to resemble an exotic, bronzed goddess. It fell a little flat on my expectations. Perhaps, I have become more accustomed to uber-dark tanning products.

It won’t produce a super dark tan — at least not this product. I also noticed the colour faded very quickly. So, ended up having to reapply quite regularly. I guess it depends on what you are after.

Hot tip! I do actually use this product for my face and my hands. Because it fades a lot quicker than other products and has a very natural and non-streaky result, I feel it works best on my hands. 

Le Tan Fast Tan Deep Bronze Instant Foaming Mousse

Le Tan Fast Tan Deep Bronze Foaming Mousse
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Le Tan is the OG when it comes to at-home tanning. 

This fake tan goes in the 2000’s hall of fame of beauty trends along with Dream Matte Mousse, Benefit Bad Gal eyeliner, and wearing concealer on your lips (why?!). That’s not to say it’s a ‘bad’ fake tan – it has stood the test of time and will still be found in the beauty kit of many Australian girls.

All I can say is that this product is consistent. When used right, it’s a reliable tanning option for when you need that extra glow.

It’s a super affordable option and does the trick.

Bali Body Self Tanning Mousse

BaliBody Self Tanning Mousse
$39.78
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09/21/2021 03:36 am GMT

Bali Body is generally known for its range of tanning oils that help to accelerate and maximise your natural suntan. Personally, I have never been able to use them as I cannot tan naturally, and am not particularly keen on exposing my skin to the sun (even wearing sunscreen!).

That’s why I have been excited to try the Self Tanning Mousse from the insta-famous tanning line. This is a serious contender for one of the best dark foam tanners.

This self tanner will go pretty dark if left on for the recommended 8 hours. That said, you can wash off earlier for a lighter shade.

Overall, it has a great smell, great colour and can be layered well.

Loving Tan Ultra Bronze Foam

Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse - Ultra Dark
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This is one of my favourite tanning products. I always opt for darker tanning products and this does exactly that. It produces such a deep, olive shade — not a bright orange mess. The results are instant and noticeable, not subtle. So, just keep that in mind on application.

I would definitely recommend this fake tan for anyone with an upcoming event and wants to look like they have been in the Greek Islands for a summer.

Elle Effect

Australian fashion blogger Elle Fergusson entered the fake tan market this year with Elle Effect Self Tanning Mousse. As a first impression, I immediately loved the minimalist packaging. The consistency of the fake tan itself is a foaming mousse that can be built into different/darker shades.

I would definitely say this is more an orange/red-based fake tanner, so if you are someone who likes a green base it might not meet your expectations. It does, however, deliver a really gorgeous bronzed colour.

The scent in itself is a selling point — it smells of roses! This would be a great option for someone who cannot stand your typical coconut fake tan smell.

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Self Tan Mousse

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Self Tan Mousse
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If you’re someone who likes longevity from their fake tan then consider the pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse by Vita Liberata.

The unique pHenO2 technology delivers a beautiful instant colour that can help your tan last between 2 – 3 weeks. This would be ideal for anyone to apply before a vacation to avoid the 2-day tan top-up.

It applies easily, dries fast and develops over 4 – 8 hours.

One of the things I love about this Vita Liberata product is the ingredients. Its formulated with natural and organic ingredients such as Aloe Vera Leaf Water, Cucumber Extract and Witch Hazel which work to soften, soothe and condition skin for a smoother look and feel.

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Mousse

Glow Clear Self Tanning Mousse by Isle of Paradise is a self tanning foam which despite going on clear, delivers a beautiful natural looking tan.

Colour correcting actives and a water base work together to deliver the most hydrated glow without streaks, smells or orange tones.

One of the things I love about Isle of Paradise is the ingredients they pack their products with. This self tanning mousse has an amazing mix of Avocado, Chia Seed and Coconut Oils.

Tanologist Express Extra Dark Self Tan Mousse

Tanologist Express Extra Dark Self Tan Mousse
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The Express Extra Dark Self Tan Mousse from Tanologist is easily one of the best fake tan products I have tried in 2021.

One application results in a beautiful deep bronze, golden tan. It’s incredibly easily to apply, has a pleasant scent and the colour lasts for about a week.

You can read my full review on the fake tan here.

Best Fake Tan Waters & Oils

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil
  • Enriched with argan oil
  • Touch dries in seconds
  • Pump spray nozzle for mess-free application
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An important thing to note about Liquid Gold is that it is a dry oil, meaning it won’t leave you feeling sticky all day.

I love the appearance of Liquid Gold as it develops on your skin. It truly looks like you have been kissed by the sun. Along with a gorgeous glow, argan oil works to hydrate and nourish the skin.

I would recommend this tanning oil to someone who has dry skin or those looking to maintain colour throughout the winter months. Watch out for catching areas like knees and elbows as it can build up and overdevelop.

James Read Coconut Water Tan Mist Body

James Read has a number of great self tanners in their range but the Coconut Water Tan Mist is a standout. 

For those looking for a lightweight and buildable tanner, this would be a suitable option. As you may have guessed, being a mist, you will need to spray this on. I would definitely recommend us a tanning mitt to distribute the product evenly on your skin to avoid streaks.

It will definitely not produce dramatic results. This would probably work best for someone who can already build a natural tan and wants to maintain it or slightly add some more glow.

Wrap Up

I hope the above list helped you decide which is the best fake tan for you.

As we are seeing so many great fake tanning products hit the market if there are any I have missed feel free to comment or get in touch at [email protected]

Remember, that with everyone having different skin types and expectations, you will find pros and cons in each product. The best fake tan should be something that complements your skin tone, is easy to apply, and contains ingredients that help to nourish and hydrate your skin.