August 14, 2020

10 Best Self Tanners for Sensitive Skin

Best Self Tanners for Sensitive Skin

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Last Updated on August 14, 2020 by Paola Diaz

For some, looking tan might just be another trend. But for others, it’s an important part of making themselves feel more confident.

A golden glow helps those with paler skin tones achieve the perfect sun-kissed look. Especially during warmer months, a tan definitely helps complete that summer look everyone is going for.

The thing about tanning though is that if you do it the old school way, whether by baking yourself in the sun or lying on a tanning bed, it’ll damage your skin.

This is a huge problem, especially for those with sensitive skin. Excessive sun damage will cause serious consequences like burns and, in worse cases, cancer.

A good tanning product is a perfect replacement for old school tanning methods. Here, we share the 10 best self-tanners for sensitive skin.

Table of Contents

10 Best Self Tanners for Sensitive Skin

Our Pick

If a seamless sunless tan is what you’re looking for, then you’ve found your match. This self-tanner is our top pick for the most natural-looking glow.

The formula is a mousse, making it easy to apply and blend all over your body. It’s also quick drying so it gets absorbed by your skin quickly. Talk about mess-free!

As for ingredients, it contains a unique blend of oils and vitamins that nourish the skin. Argan oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, and Jojoba oil work to keep skin supple and moisturized. Vitamins A, C, and D, as well as Elderflower extract, protect the skin from damage.

This product is also certified free from sulfates, fragrances, and parabens. Plus, it has organic DHA which is what gives you that glorious sun-kissed glow.

Pros

  • Blendable formula
  • Streak-free finish
  • Nourishing ingredients

Cons

  • Bottle is smaller than other brands
  • Leaves an orange tint for some users

Best All-Natural Formula

Among all the products on this list, this self-tanner stands out for its formula. A natural tan is literally what you get because of its natural ingredients. It gives you a gorgeous glow without aggravating sensitive skin.

The formulation includes organic Shea butter, Coconut oil, and Green tea. These are what nourish and strengthen the skin while you self tan.

This self-tanner is a lotion so it’s pretty easy to spread all over the body. It gets absorbed quickly by the skin as well because of the lightweight texture.

Since the formula is thin, you can apply it in several layers to build more pigment. That way, you can adjust the shade and darkness of the tan to your liking.

If you’ve been searching for a vegan, cruelty-free, and all-natural self-tanner, then this is your best bet.

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • Lightweight formula
  • Buildable color

Cons

  • Has a coconut scent that lasts even after you shower
  • Looks streaky if you don’t exfoliate well

Best for First Time Users

This is the perfect self-tanner for those who are still new to tanning. As its name suggests, it gives off a gradual tan. That means that the color is buildable so that you can tweak the darkness to your liking.

What’s even more interesting with this product is that it doubles as an everyday moisturizer. It hydrates the skin on both your face and body when used.

And don’t worry about any setbacks when you decide to use this daily. The formula is safe enough for everyday use, even on sensitive skin.

It contains 100% natural DHA, Aloe vera, and Shea butter. These three ingredients work together to give pigment, soothe irritation, and add moisture to the skin.

This is one of the best self-tanners we recommend for first-time users.

Pros

  • Buildable pigment
  • Intense hydrating power
  • Natural ingredients

Cons

  • Not suitable for those who want intense pigment
  • Has a slight scent

We are in love with the consistency of this self-tanner. It’s a lightweight foam that’s easy to blend all over the body. Also, the pump dispenser makes it easy to control how much product we want.

The ingredients are a combination of premium plant oils and extracts. Orange peel oil, Lavender oil, and Shea butter enrich the skin’s moisture. Aloe vera, Acai berry, and Goji berry extracts soothe any irritation you might have.

This also has natural DHA as the main ingredient for a naturally tan pigment. Green tea and Fig extract also provide the skin with Vitamin E for sun protection and antioxidants.

No parabens, sulfates, or phthalates are mixed into the formula so it’s great for sensitive skin. This product is considered vegan as well since it uses no synthetic fragrances or dyes.

Pros

  • Easy to blend foam formula
  • Vegan ingredients
  • Pump dispenser makes it easy to control the amount of product you want to get

Cons

  • Color fades after a week
  • Has a subtle scent

This is another self-tanner that we love for its texture. It comes in a blendable mousse that’s lightweight and lightly scented.

Though the product only takes a minute to dry, the color stays on for up to 8 hours. The product settles into the skin really well. And the best part is that the color doesn’t transfer onto your clothes or towel.

Natural DHA is the key ingredient that gives you that natural tan you’re after. It’s also mixed in with moisturizing ingredients to nourish sensitive skin for the entire day.

Many users love that this self-tanner dries streak-free despite having great pigment. It gives you a beautiful bronze complexion, much like one you’d get from the beaches of St. Tropez!

Pros

  • Blendable formula
  • Vegan ingredients
  • Natural-looking tan

Cons

  • Has a subtle fragrance
  • Color fades after 4-5 days

Catching a sunless tan is much easier with this self-tanner by Vichy. It has a one-of-a-kind formula that gradually tans the skin for a natural finish.

This product contains Vichy Volcanic Water which is an ingredient unique to the Vichy brand. It’s derived from mineral-infused waters of French volcanoes. When applied, it strengthens the skin and protects it from sun damage and pollution.

The formula is non-greasy and easy to blend because of its milky texture. It’s also enriched with Vitamin E to nourish the skin with antioxidants.

What users love best about it is that it’s buildable and light on the skin. They can tweak the amount of pigment they want easily and avoid streaking.

Pros

  • Has mineral-rich volcano water
  • Non-greasy and blendable texture
  • Nourishing ingredients

Cons

  • Not as pigmented as other brands
  • Has a slight scent

Another self-tanner we love is this product by Bahama Tan. Apart from being well-pigmented and easy to apply, it’s also formulated with the safest ingredients for sensitive skin.

The formula includes Aloe vera gel, Shea butter, and Argan oil. These are all known to be highly soothing and hydrating ingredients for the skin. You can be sure that your sensitive skin is nourished as you get a tan.

Natural DHA taken from sugar cane is what provides this self-tanner with pigment. It’s eco-certified too so you know that it’s free from parabens and artificial fragrances.

Depending on how well your after-care is, the color will last between 4 to 7 days. It’s best to follow the instructions written on the bottle for good results.

A lot of users like that this self-tanner makes their tan look so natural. It’s able to mimic their skin’s natural complexion and simply darken it a little.

Pros

  • No harsh chemicals
  • Nourishing formula
  • Natural-looking finish

Cons

  • Strong scent
  • Color fades after a week

This product promises the best golden bronze tan. It’s also one of the best self-tanners we recommend for sensitive skin.

The pigment that this gives is much richer and darker compared to other self-tanners. And it does that while using only the gentlest ingredients.

Shea butter, Jojoba, and Coconut are among the unique plant-derived ingredients that this self-tanning product has. They provide moisture and nourishment to the skin while you tan.

This self-tanner also lives up to the brand name of being botanic since other ingredients include Apricot, Avocado, and Grape seed. It also has Moringa, Vanilla, Linseed, and Passionfruit.

The best part about it is that it’s transfer-proof so the product won’t stick to your clothes or sheets. It’s also quick-drying so it isn’t a hassle to add to your beauty routine.

Pros

  • Gentle ingredients
  • Nourishing formula
  • Transfer-proof color

Cons

  • Leaves an orange tint
  • Has a subtle fragrance

This is one of the self-tanners that has perfected the sunless tan. Not only does it give great pigment to the skin, but it also dries fast and settles evenly.

A blend of Vitamin E, Shea butter, and other natural oils works to moisturize and nourish the skin. 99% of the formulation is certified natural and hypoallergenic. Those with sensitive skin will never have to worry about irritation again.

Despite the great color this self-tan product has, it doesn’t stain or transfer onto anything else. You can also see the results of your application in only 4 hours. It’s the best to use if you want instant improvements.

This product doesn’t contain any fragrances, parabens, or harsh chemicals. That’s why it’s definitely one of our favorites in this list of self-tanners we recommend.

Pros

  • Organic ingredients
  • Moisturizing formula
  • Instantly noticeable results

Cons

  • Gives an orange tint for some users
  • Has a mild scent

This self-tan product differs from everything else on this list because it’s designed for the face. It’s an anti-aging serum that tans as it settles on the skin over the course of a few days of use.

Since the skin on our face is more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our body, then it needs more care. That’s why we love this product by Coola.

The ingredients are all certified organic and natural. Argan oil and Hyaluronic acid are the main components that nourish the skin. Plant Stem Cell Cultures also have great anti-aging powers.

This really is one of the best products to achieve your healthiest glow while still enriching your skin with nutrients. Additionally, the formula is reef safe so you aren’t harming the environment when you wash it off.

Pros

  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Hydrating formula
  • Made for the face

Cons

  • Has a mild fragrance
  • Leaves a yellowish tint for some users

How to Self Tan Successfully

Now that you’ve read through our list of best self-tanners for sensitive skin, you’re ready for tanning! If you’re a newbie, then just follow these easy steps below.

Step 1: Exfoliate

We cannot stress enough how important this first step is. Exfoliating will smooth out your skin by removing dead skin cells and rough areas.

A smooth base makes for a natural-looking and streak-free tan. It also helps the product settle on the skin better so that your tan is evened out.

If you’re looking body washes that can gently exfoliate your skin, then check out our Best Salicylic Acid Body Washes article for options.

Step 2: Shave or Wax

Next, make sure that your skin doesn’t have any visible hair. Shave or wax off any hair you have at least 24 hours before you apply the tanning product.

Having visible hair growth will also hinder your application time since the product will stick to the hair instead of your skin. Expect streaking and smudging if you miss this step.

Like exfoliating, this is a non-negotiable step to applying self-tanner.

Step 3: Do a Patch Test

Once you’ve created the perfect base for your tan, test out the product first. Do a patch test on a small area of your skin. A little bit on your arm or thigh will do.

Leave it on for a few hours and if you see no negative reactions, then you can proceed to full application.

If you experience stinging, burning, or redness, then wash the product off completely. You can either switch out your self-tanner product for another one in two weeks. You must let your skin rest before you reapply a new one to avoid further irritation.

You can also opt to consult your doctor for a recommendation to be safe.

Step 4: Proper Application

Once you’re sure that the product is safe enough for your skin, then you can begin applying it to your entire body.

Your application method will depend on the type of self-tanner you have. If it’s a spray-on tanner, then you’ll simply be spraying it on. If it’s a lotion or cream, then you’ll have to blend it onto your skin with your hands.

Whichever type the product is though, make sure to spread it evenly all over your skin. It’s also best to follow the instructions or recommendations written on the bottle.

Step 5: Take a Shower

A typical self-tanner usually needs around 3-4 hours to settle and take effect on the skin. Some tanning products could take more or less than this. Just make sure to read the instructions, to be sure.

Don’t rinse it off anytime before the product has settled since this will just wash off the tan. You’ll just be wasting product and time.

Make sure to take a shower immediately once the 3-4 hours are over though. Leaving it on for too long could give you an unwanted result.

Step 6: Moisturize

Once you’ve washed the product off completely, moisturize your skin. This will help enhance your brand new glow. It’ll also keep the skin smooth and hydrated.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen either! Just because you’re tan doesn’t mean you don’t need sun protection.

For sunscreen options, you can check out our Best Non-Comedogenic Sunscreens and Best Korean Sunscreens articles.

Step 7: Enjoy the Tan!

Now, you’re done! You can step out and flaunt your beautiful sun-kissed glow. You can even take a picture!

Congratulations on your first tan!

Time for Glowed Up Skin

Truly, self-tanners have changed the game and helped us bid goodbye to harmful tanning practices. Using self-tanners are a safer and easier way to achieve a healthy glow we all want.

We hope that this article has helped you figure out which self-tanner to get for sensitive skin. Harsh ingredients are big red flags for sensitive skin types so we made sure that everything is safe enough for you to use.

It’s always a good idea for a tan. Just take your pick and get right on it!

Go get that glow up!

And once you’ve gotten that perfect tan, you also might want to try out a tan accelerator to enhance the color for longer. Check out our article on the Best Tan Accelerators for great options.

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.