Best Gradual Tanner Australia: 8 Great Options

Last Updated: January 4, 2020

Beauty Space has found 8 of the best gradual tanners Australia has to offer.

Why use a Gradual Tanner?

Whatever your reason, a gradual tanner can be a fantastic addition to your beauty bronzing kit. Gradual tanning products generally provide subtle and natural-looking results. Plus, gradual tanners can be used for just about all skin tones as the results build up to a sun-kissed glow over time. 

How Long Does Gradual Tanner Last?

It can be hard to agree definitively how long it will last. Because you are applying it continually over several days to a week, it is essentially adding a fresh layer on each application. If you were to stop after say, one or two applications, you could expect the time a gradual tan will last is between 5 – 7 days.

What is the Best Gradual Tanner?

With so many great self-tanning products listed above, it can be hard to say which brand we love the most. Also, keeping in mind every person has different expectations of products.

There are some key things that make a gradual bronzer product great:

Our Picks for the 8 Best Gradual Tanners in Australia

Eco Tan – Organic Face Tan Water

Eco Tan - Organic Face Tan Water
  • All-natural and organic ingredients 
  • Contains Vitamin C for brightening 
  • Buildable, natural colour


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Starting off our list is Face Tan Water by Eco Tan. This is easily one of the best gradual beauty products for the face. It’s packed with natural ingredients that hydrate your skin while developing into a subtle glow. Another plus, is that it has a non-comedogenic formula that clog pores or irritate making it ideal for most skin types and conditions.

In terms of consistency, it has a water-like thin formula and is often used like a skincare toner. To apply, you can either drop some of the product onto a cotton beauty pad or pour the product directly into your hands and massage into your face.

It will dry very quickly and there is no need to apply as moisturiser afterwards as Face Tan Water contains Glycerine which locks moisture into skin, hydrates and protects skin from water loss.

This product can be integrated into your exisiting night beauty routine as it takes several hours to develop. It would be recommended to reapply over consecutive nights to build your desired depth of tan.

You won’t see dramatic results from this product, but you will see a very natural bronze colour build after continued use.

To read my full review on Eco Tan Face Tan Water click here.

*If you use skincare products that have strong active ingredients, it will be more challenging to build colour*

What’s great about this product?

The nourishing ingredients! Vitamin C for anti-ageing and Aloe Vera for soothing.

Tan-Luxe The Gradual Illuminating Tanning Lotion 

Tan-Luxe The Gradual
  • Hydrates, smooths, and conditions skin
  • Contains odourlite fragrance technology to mask fake tan scent
  • Develops within 1 hour
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Tan-Luxe have emerged in the market with a number of great self-tanner products in their range. They approach tanning like skincare and their non-toxic formulations mean that no nasties are going onto your skin. The effectiveness of their products is why they have made the list for the best gradual tanners on the market.

The Illuminating Tanning Lotion is formulated to a lightweight consistency somewhere between an oil and a lotion. This hybrid formula helps absorption, smooths the skins and results in no streaks. The self-tan is easy to apply and fast-drying. On application, the smell is pleasant which develops into a slight, but non-offensive self tanner smell.

The gradual self tan results in a subtly brown (not orange), light and illuminated sun kissed colour. While it is gradual, it is important to note that it won’t build into a tan more than 3-4 shades darker no matter how many applications. As it is a hydrating formula, you can expect the tan to last anywhere between 4 to 5 days.

What’s great about this product?

The super thin and moisturising consistency.

THE BUTTER Illuminating Tanning Butter

THE BUTTER Illuminating Tanning Butter

Contains Cellutone Complex to firm skin and reduce appearance of cellulite

Infused with raspberry seed oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera

No nasties; paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalates free

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This is another great beauty product from Tan-Luxe range.

This is an ultra-moisturising, yet lightweight tanning lotion that literally goes on like butter. It glides onto your skin effortlessly and dries relatively quickly. It can take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to develop. 

There is a pleasant sweet, cocoa butter fragrance and no awful fake take smell once dried. 

Depending on how deep of a tan you are after, applying The Butter twice will produce an ideal colour. You can expect a natural, honey bronze glow like you have just walked off a beach. It also provides a subtle shimmer that makes your skin look illuminated.

Best of all? The Butter fades naturally after about a week with no streaking, strange colouration or flaking.

What’s great about this product?

It will keep your skin ultra-hydrated and plump white delivering a very natural glow.

St. TROPEZ Gradual Tan Tinted Body Lotion

St. Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted Body Lotion
  • Paraben-Free
  • Sulfate-Free
  • Phthalate-Free
  • 100% Naturally-Derived DHA


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St. TROPEZ are known for their great products and their gradual tanners are no exception to that. A number of their gradual tanning products have hit the market and a notable option is their Gradual Tan Tinted Body Lotion.

The formula has a thick, creamy consistency that provides an instant natural glow even on the first application. This is an easy product to use and can be applied daily to build up a healthy, natural glow. It would be recommended to wash hands after application to avoid orange fingers. The product dries relatively quickly in around 10 – 15 minutes and has a light, non-overpowering smell. The result is a non-streaky and sunk-kissed tan that last for around 4 -5 days. 

What’s great about this product?

The tinted formula! It helps guide you on application.

VITA LIBERATA Organic Gradual Tan Lotion

VITA LIBERATA Fabulous Gradual Self-Tanning Lotion
  • Ultra-hydrating
  • Zero transfer onto clothing
  • Formulated with Aloe Vera & Shea Butter to soothe and moisturise


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For those who value products that are organic, cruelty-free and sulphate free the Gradual Tan Lotion from Vita Liberata is a great gradual self-tanner alternative .

It has a lightweight formula that leaves no sticky feeling. To apply, it works best on cleansed skin and using a tan mitt. It would be recommended not to use a moisturiser or shower gel prior to application to avoid it streaking or becoming patchy.

The tan lotion is instant drying and takes around 4 to 8 hours to develop. While it does claim to be odourless, there is still a slight fake tan smell but nothing overpowering.

You will be able to achieve a perfect subtle and sun-kissed glow. No oompa-loompa orange! Your glow should last around 3 to 4 days and will fade evenly with no patches.

What’s great about this product?

It can really be used on most skin types due to its gentle, yet effective ingredients. 

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil

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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Another notable product from Bondi Sands is their Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil. A fan favourite, it is easy to see why Liquid Gold is one of the best fake tan products to build up a natural glow.

As the name suggests Bondi Sands Liquid Gold is an oil rather than a lotion. The oil is slightly tinted to help with application. To apply you can either spray it directly onto the skin or onto a mitt and rub it in. Either way, it is recommended to use a mitt to avoid waking up with orange hands. One of the best things about the product is that you can apply and go ( no need to shower afterwards!) and the product will gradually develop darker throughout the day.

The product dries relatively fast and leaves virtually no residue on clothes or sheets. It has a pleasant coconut scent but leaves not strong smell once dried. You can expect a perfect golden goddess glow even on one layer, that should last around a week as it absorbs quite deeply onto the skin.

What’s great about this product?

While it is buildable, you will see noticeable results even after one layer.

Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning Milk

Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk
  • Hydrating formula
  • Enriched with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E
  • Designed as a tan extender
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It would be hard to write this list and not mention a Bondi Sands product. This is one the O.G gradual tanning products from the proudly Aussie-owned company. 

Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning Milk is essentially a moisturising lotion that absorbs easily into the skin. It would be recommended to apply after a shower on semi-moist skin. Being a moisturising product, it may take anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes for it to fully dry on your skin. You will find the product has a cocoa butter scent that has a subtle fake tan smell once dried – this can easily be removed by showering, however!

In terms of the colour, you will find it produces an even, natural golden colour and those with pale skin will see the greatest effect. I would suggest applying the Gradual Tanning Milk for 2 days in row to see the best results.

What’s great about this product?

Perfect for building upon and maintaining the colour of a spray tan or foam tanner.

La Mav Gradual Light Tanning Moisturiser

La Mav Gradual Medium Tanning Moisturizer
  • Contains magnesium for anti-ageing properties
  • No streaks and no stains
  • Vegan and toxic-free
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This self tanning moisturiser is a great option for anyone opting for more naturally derived products in your beauty routine. Additionally, its infused with magnesium and Bio-Actives to nourish and help protect your skin whilst you achieve your perfect natural colour.

This is a non-sticky moisturiser and has a hydrating, non-greasy consistency. La Mav Gradual Tanner is easy to apply and can be done with either a glove or your hands (as long as you make sure to wash them afterwards!).

The product dries relatively easily and absorbs well into the skin. It would be suggested to apply before bed and let it develop overnight. You can expect to wake up with a beautiful, natural-looking brown colour that will last about a week – can also be reapplied for a deeper colour.

There is no typical fake tan smell like you would get with many fake tan products and this stays consistently as it dries.

What’s great about this product?

Packed full of great ingredients; Argan Oil, Macadamia Oil, Camellia Oil, Cranberry Extract and Green Tea Extract – to name a few!

Conclusion

All of the bronzing products listed have great benefits and will allow you to get a gradual glow. With so many great reviews, it is easy to agree with why the beauty community love these brands. When using any sunless tans (whether it be a cream, mousse or oil) it is important to remember that preparation is key.

Exfoliate any dry skin, shave and keep your skin hydrated. The outcome will be a flawless, bronzed glow!