The Top 5 Sunless Tanners Reviewed

Can You Get a Realistic, Natural Looking Tan from a Bottle?

By Amanda • April 17, 2024

Announcing a Revolution in Tanning Without The Sun.
We have all been tricked by self-tanners that leave us orange, streaky and smelly.

Although we know about the growing dangers linked to the sun’s damaging rays, we all still want that look and feel of a “just off the beach tan”.

So, in our quest for a safe tan we have turned to sunless tanners. But with so many tanners out there, finding one that works and delivers a natural tan is almost impossible.

Nothing's worse than applying a lotion, foam, gel or spray, only to wind up with an orangey streaky tan, dark elbows, stained clothes, and smelling like some chemical plant.

After being disappointed time after time by products that promised a “perfect tan”, I still knew that there had to be some good products out there. After all, beautifully bronzed celebrities constantly grace the red carpet with perfect tans and you know most of them wouldn't risk wrinkles or cancer by baking in the sun to get that glow.

But how do you know which tan-in-a-bottle is going to yield the most natural-looking results?

We took on this daunting challenge. We tested the top lotions, sprays, gels, and pads from all price ranges, from the most exclusive stores to drugstore brands, to determine truly the best sunless tanners out there.

Forget the gimmicks, forget the crazy claims.

We have compiled a list of what we believe to be the best sunless tanning products on the market. They were reviewed by people just like you who want a sunless tanner that is easy to use and gives natural tan results every time. These picks won’t disappoint and were top picks of every tester.

We hope this list of our Top 5 Sunless Tanners helps you to look and feel your best and stay healthy and young looking for years to come. We’d love to hear about your favorites and how our list stacks up. Enjoy!

#1 Tan Physics True Color Sunless Tanner

Tan Physics True Color
Hands down winner
Say goodbye to the sun and hello to the PERFECT sunless tan.

TanPhysics is the hands down winner by a mile. This innovation in skin care saves you time and money by combining the highest quality tanners with anti-aging skin moisturizers found only in the most exclusive products. The result is a tan so natural and skin so rejuvenated that you will never use another tanner again.

This product offers a tan that looks like you got it at the beach, it is easy to use, smells great and gives great results every time. It is a fool proof way to a safe beautiful year-round tan and is all we have used since we discovered it.

Added bonus: TanPhysics can be purchased as a “system” that includes a pre tan exfoliator, the tanner itself and then a vitamin enriched, moisturizing tan extender. This trio is perfectly formulated to work together as a skin care system to offer maximum tanning and skin care in one. This company has really developed a breakthrough in skin care that we couldn’t find anywhere else. Definitely worth a try!

Cons: It is only available online and recently TanPhysics has become so popular that it is often out of stock. The demand is exploding so when you see it is available we recommend buying a few bottles at a time.

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#2 Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel

Clarins Instant Gel

Pros: This product provided one of the most natural color tans compared to many others tested. The color went on easily and lasted for a few days before we needed to reapply. The smell was not overly strong or offensive. We like this because of its natural result and ease of use. A distant second to our #1 choice, but a decent alternative.

Cons: This gel goes on clear so it is hard to tell where you have put product, sometimes leading to a streaky look. Also, it takes forever to dry making it tough to use if you are in a rush. It leaves a bit of an oily feel on the skin. If you are prone to oily skin or break outs, this may not be the best choice for you.

#3 Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Self-Tanning Balm

Guerlain Terracotta

Pros: Its delicate iridescence and slight bronze tint give immediate color, and its rich oils leave your legs silky (but not sticky).

Cons: The color is quite dark so may not be good for lighter skin tones and the heavy balm may clog pores. We broke out a bit on our back and chest when using it. This may be a good choice if you want something just for legs.

#4 San Tropez Gradual Tan Mousse

San Tropez

Pros: The mouse easily spreads onto the skin and sinks in pretty quickly. It has a nice sheen that helps you to see where you are applying it and you start seeing results in about a day. The tan is a good color but streaky, making it look less realistic.

Cons: Has a pretty strong “tanner” odor and even though you can see where you are applying it, you still end up with quite a lot of streaking that only gets worse with more applications.

Also, the foam seems to leak out of the top especially if you are travelling with it, so make sure to keep the top and put it in a sealed plastic bag.

#5 Bliss A Tan for All Seasons

Bliss Tan

Pros: This product goes on quickly and dries quickly keeping smearing or staining of clothes to a minimum. The deep brown color helps you to see where you are spraying it. It gives decent color that lasts about 5 days.

Cons: The spray smells like pure alcohol going on and dries your skin a bit due to its alcohol content. Although it is an aerosol spray and they say you don’t need to rub it in, if you don’t you will be a streaky mess. We got better results by rubbing in fully and then washing hands. Make sure to clean under your finger nails VERY well or else they will turn brown.