Lets Get Golden- Top 5 Sunless Tanners


Hello my beauties! I have been getting a lot of questions as of late about my tan and what products I use. So today I wanted to share with you my top five favorite (inexpensive) self tanners, a bit about my self tanning routine, and how I keep my skin golden all year long!

I have been self tanning for about 5 years now on and off. It wasn’t until these past few years that I feel like I’ve really found some products I love and will be buying for a LONG time. I’ve had too many experiences where I apply a self tanner at night and wake up in the morning looking like I hopped right out of oompa loompa land.¬†Luckily¬†though, through trial and error I have been able to find some of (in my opinion) the best inexpensive self tanners around. So lets get into it!


Pay no mind to my dirty window ūüėČ

So here we have my tanning holy grail. This product has hands down beat out almost every single sunless mousse I have EVER tried. After finding it a year and a half ago I have repurchased at least six times and am never disappointed. I find it quite comparable to the St. Tropez sunless mousses, except for about 1/3 of the cost. I buy this at Sally Beauty Supply Stores for around $13. Which if you have ever self tanned – you know that’s a fairly low price considering one bottle can last me upwards of three to four¬†months.

As a warning – this stuff is DARK. They didn’t mess around with this formula and you can get 2-4 shades darker in just one use. They carry a lighter version as well but I find that since my skin is a more yellow toned base; darker tanners work better for me. If your skin has a bit of a pinker base or if you are naturally very fair – the lighter version may be better suited for your skin tone. However – if you are wanting to get tan very quickly – this is your new best friend.

The formula is thin and water like but comes out of the nozzle in a bubbly mousse form. Its very light and doesn’t offer much in the way of moisturizing qualities. So if you have very dry skin or dry patches – this will streak on you and will most likely be hard to blend in. I recommend moisturizing your skin with a good lotion 2-3 hours before applying this so that the product will blend and glide more easily on the skin.

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Still within the Tanwise line – I actually didn’t discover this product until about a month ago. Since discovering it though, I have fallen in love. This is a QUICK bronzing self tanner. This little guy comes in handy when you decide you want to wear shorts but just realized your legs will fatally¬†blind any living thing within thirty feet of you. It’s fantastic¬†– easy to blend and develops quickly for a nice glow and tan.

The formula is very dark in color and it has¬†a light lotion texture. It doesn’t feel oily to me and has a fairly pleasant smell. Almost fruity in a way. I personally don’t like the smell of most¬†self tanners I have used but this one isn’t too strong and I feel comfortable wearing it during the day time without wondering if people can smell my self tan lol!

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A lot of you have probably heard about or maybe even tried this product. I haven’t been using this as frequently as I used to, but for around $6-$7 this product is a total steal. You can build a pretty good base tan with this product and in my opinion it has one of the best formulas for getting a completely streak free tan for multiple skin tones.

This product won’t get you as dark as the previous products.¬†It’s a bit more of a gradual tanner in a way – I would say it’s like an amped up version of the widely beloved¬†Jergan¬†self tanners. I would definitely recommend giving this guy a try if you’re a newbie to self tanning but still want a step up from gradual tanners. It glides on smooth, and has a creamy formula which takes anywhere from 5-8 hours to fully develop.

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Now on to the gradual tanners. For those of you who just want a bit of a glow or you’re wanting to prolong a spray tan or self tan; this product is one of my all time favorites. It smells like a tropical island of yum first of all. It has a great thick, creamy and super moisturizing quality that is fantastic for my dry skin and it gives nice even color that has a true brown base. This wont make you orange, smell like self tanner, or dry your skin out – in fact it will do the opposite. You will gradually get a nice glow, smell like a tropical flower, and have beautiful moisturized skin. There really are no downfalls to this product. I just adore it. It gets even better – because it’s only $6 <3

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And last but certainly not least – Ocean Potion. This is another gradual tanner. It has a bit of a lighter water based formula for those of you who don’t like the heavier lotions. This dries quickly so you can get dressed to be on your way and yet still keeps your skin feeling moisturized. It’s formula is slightly stronger than the Malibu Hemp Tan – so you will see results a bit quicker with this one. This is another great tan extender or base builder. It’s also incredibly inexpensive at around $4-$5. This one will forever be a favorite of mine because I just cant find any flaws with it. Also – did I mention that it smells like an orange cream popsicle? YUUUUUMMMMM!

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So now that I’ve gone through all my favorites. Let me explain a little bit on how I use them.

I generally self tan twice a week to keep up my tan to the level of darkness that I like. It takes me around 10 minutes to go through my whole tanning routine. I tan before bed unless I’m just wearing my gradual tanners. It’s just my personal preference to shower the morning after a tan because I find that a lot of the bronzers that are in self tanners tend to rub off on clothing ¬†throughout the day and I just don’t personally like how self tanners smell (excluding the gradual tanners I listed).



Prep the dry areas on the body by applying an oil based lotion to those areas. Knees, ankles, elbows, feet, wrists, hands, and armpits are all areas that I apply a normal lotion to first. This is to prevent the tanner from soaking in too heavily on those areas and dilutes the tanner for those specific areas.


They make special mitts for self tanning but I find them to be completely useless. They end up soaking up more product than they actually distribute on to your body which in the long run will waste product and money. So I just purchase a big box of plastic gloves similar to the ones a doctor or dentist would use. I often just wash and reuse the same pair for as long as they will last me (yay-keep the world as green as possible). Its super inexpensive and although it can take longer to blend at times, its just what works best for me and keeps you from getting the dreaded orange hands.


For application – I like to mix and match my products half and half. I NEVER use my Tanwise mousse without mixing it with another product for blend ability. As of late I have been mixing Tanwise Mousse with the Tanwise one hour sunless lotion and this has been a great combo for me. I will mix and match the Tanwise mousse to any of the products that I listed above just depending on how deep of a tan I am wanting. The reason I do this is because when you’re using a mousse – it can be extremely difficult to blend it perfectly enough without ending up with some streaks somewhere. By adding in a lotion – it allows you to still get that deep dark tan without having to worry about streaking or your product drying before you have blended it completely. I just take a dollop of mousse and a dollop of lotion in my hand, rub my hands together, then apply.


If you want your tan to last – moisturize your skin daily. I do this with gradual tanners to keep my tan looking fresh and to continuously be adding color to fight the natural fade of self tanners.


The hands and feet can be some of the most difficult areas to blend. This is because the pores in these areas are much larger and soak in product differently. For these areas I like to use an inexpensive blush brush to pick up a bit of product and basically paint and blend it on with the brush. After doing so – I then take a regular non tanning lotion and apply it to my palms and blend in between my fingers and everywhere that wouldn’t naturally become as tan as the rest of your body. I do the same for the feet.


The thing about self tanners and tanning routines is that its a process and everyone is different. The products and tips that do wonders for me may not work as well for you or maybe they will work perfectly. You really just have to try it out and not be bummed if it’s not perfect the first time around – it took me quite awhile to get good at self tanning and find what worked best for me. But I hope that this will at least give you a start and point you in the right direction!

Happy tanning everyone! If you have products you all love, I would love to hear about them!

<3 XOXO <3