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The Best Clean Self Tanners For A Natural Glow

If you’re looking for the best clean self tanners that will give you the most natural-looking tan (not that weird orange skin tone), you’re in the right place! Self tanning products have come a long way over the years and now there are plenty of great, clean tanning options to give you the best natural glow. This post shares the best of the best clean self-tanners.

Keep reading to see the best clean self tanners!

The Best Clean Self Tanners For A Natural Glow

How does self-tanner work? 

Most self-tanners contain an ingredient called DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). DHA is a colorless simple sugar, however, when applied topically, it interacts with amino acids in the skin and a chemical reaction occurs. Brown compounds called melanoidins are produced, resulting in a darkening of the outer layer of the skin. This is known as the maillard reaction, the gradual bronzing begins around 2 hours after applying self-tanner and continues for 24-72 hours. The tans will fade over 3-10 days as your dead skin cells shed. 

There are 2 types of DHA’s to look for in your products. 

1. Synthetic DHA derived by the fermentation of glycerol.

2. Sugar-derived DHA from sugar beets or cane sugar. This is considered one of the most safe forms of tanning. It creates a more natural-looking tan that fades more evenly.

Why choose natural self-tanners?

Whether you’re trying to use all clean products, or you have skin sensitivities, natural self-tanners will be your best bet. 

Unfortunately, synthetic DHA is associated with reports of harm to your respiratory system, asthma, and have other side effects. This is why you’d want to look for an organic, clean self-tanner without synthetic DHA. 

Another ingredient to watch out for is dye. Self-tanning companies put dye (Red No. 4, CI 19140/ FD&C Yellow No. 5, CI 42090/ FD&C Blue No. 1.)  in their products to act as a color guide or bronzer to help you with a seamless application so you can see where you applied the product. They can also alter the color of the tan to work best with your skin’s undertones. If you’re sensitive to dye you’ll want to avoid products with color guides. 

Avoiding these two active ingredients is best for sensitive skin. Those with non-sensitive skin can most likely handle them with no issues, but it’s always good to be informed about the ingredients in your products.

Other benefits of natural self tanners? 

It may seem odd to say there are “benefits” of a self-tanner, but hear me out. Our personal care products can provide a lot of benefits when they aren’t causing you more harm! First, if you struggle with uneven skin tone or dark spots, applying self tanner can even your skin color out. It will blend dark spots light spots, and scars to make your skin color look more consistent. 

Another benefit is you won’t risk getting sun damage or skin cancer by sitting in the sun for hours on end trying to get a golden glow. Applying a clean self-tanner will provide you with a beautiful color without the negative side effects of extended periods receiving harmful UV rays. Don’t get me wrong, I think getting undiluted sun exposure every day is so beneficial! But I always limit that to under 30 minutes a day or try to go out when it’s not peak sunshine hours (11-2).

Many self-tanners also have amazing ingredients that are great for dry skin. They contain very nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, fatty acids, vitamin E, cocoa butter, and more! 

What types of natural sunless tanner is available? 

The most common types of self tanners are:

  • Lotions: The easiest tanner to apply is a lotion because you rub them on with your hands (be sure to wash your hands after!!) and you’re done!
  • Foams: My personal favorite is foam because they tend to dry the fastest. It’s easiest to apply foam self tanner with a mitt.
  • Serums: This is my favorite way to apply face self tanner- you mix the serum in with your regular skincare and it gradually tans you and looks very natural.

My top picks for organic and natural self-tanners:

I’ve tried so many self tanning products it’s hard to narrow it down! Before I share my top picks for a sun-kissed glow- I want to share my top tanning tip. ALWAYS BUY THE DARKEST SHADE! Even If you are very pale, trust me on this one. Organic and natural self tanners tend to not give you as much color as the more toxic self tanners. I promise you will not turn orange or look unnatural even with an extra dark shade.

Ok…. Without further ado, These are some of my favorite self tanners that give the best results that are long-lasting. There is something below for everyone so whichever you choose, you’ll have a subtle glow that’s perfect for all skin tones. 

Beauty By Earth 

Beauty By Earth’s self tanners come in amazing foam, lotion, and face drops that I use regularly! *Pro tip- a little bit of lotion goes a long way. Apply less than you think because the lotion turns white the more you rub it and it can take a while to blend after that. Apply less and build if necessary.

The Beauty by Earth self tanner products smell so good!

Loving Tan

Loving Tan recently came out with their Purest Tanning line that consists of their tanning lotion, Mouse, and face serum. Their products are over 97% certified organic and contain naturally derived ingredients to give you a super clean natural looking tan.

Eco Tan

Eco Tan has a natural looking self-tanning lotion, and a mousse that contain sugar cane derived natural DHA. Their products are free from artificial orange dyes or any synthetic or artificial ingredients. Their superstar ingredients include Cacao (has omega 3 fatty acids to plump the skin), Grapefruit (an antioxidant rich in beta carotene to transform dull, dehydrated skin), and Blood Orange to give your skin a natural glow with its vitamins A and C.

Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Self Tanner Mousse

The last tan I recommend is by Coco & Eve. This is one of the best self tanners I’ve ever used if you’re looking for a super deep, dark color. Warning* If you are pale and don’t want too much color do not buy ultra dark! Stick to medium! Another thing, this tanner does have dye in it so if you’re avoiding dye skip this one. Coco & Eve’s color comes from natural DHA. It dries super fast and gives you instant color because of the bronzer/ color guide. It smells really good and does not transfer to your clothes or bedding. I did a comparison HERE of Coco & Eve and the original Loving Tan (not the clean ones I mentioned earlier in this post). If you’re looking for a super deep tan this is my favorite self tanner.

How to apply self tanner

  1. Do your everything shower- I exfoliate my skin with an exfoliating mitt paying special attention to my elbows, knees, and any rough areas. I make sure to cleanse thoroughly so my skin is free from any products including moisturizers and sunscreen.
  2. Allow the skin to dry fully and wait a few minutes after showering.
  3. Apply a very thin layer of moisturizer on the elbows, knees, and in between the fingers and toes. Leave the rest of the body clean and dry. Any moisturizer will work.
  4. Apply the tanning products as directed. I love using a mitt with foam because it helps the product to glide on much smoother making it less likely to streak. If it’s a lotion just rub it on in a circular motion, if it’s the serum apply half a dropper to your skincare and apply
  5. WASH HANDS!! And scrub them! Unless you want orange palms, this step is essential!
  6. THE SECRET TO THE BEST TAN- Use a talc free setting powder to make your tan dry down faster! Especially in the folds of your body like elbows, under your boobs, behind your knees, your inner thighs… etc. I apply it everywhere. THIS is my favorite because it smells SO good but honestly any powder will work, baby powder, arrowroot powder, corn starch… whatever you have! I apply it with a big fluffy brush and it makes tanning so much more enjoyable.
  7. When to shower? I’ve found that 8 hours is best with this formula, so if you’re okay sleeping in self tanner, that’s a perfect window of time. During your initial rinse off in the shower don’t use any sort of wash cloth or loofah on your body. This will exfoliate the tan you just applied! Just wash your body with your hands. If you used a tanner with bronzer you will see a lot of the product wash off into the shower. Don’t worry, that is just the temporary bronzer. The true color will continue to develop over the next 8-10 hours!

I hope this list of my favorite self tan products helps you find a great natural self tanner! There are a lot of tanners out there for your most natural-looking tan, but I would only consider a small handful of them to be the best self-tanners!

Ideally, you want your self-tanning products to work, but you also want them to help keep your skin healthy and beautiful year after year, which is why there’s been such a dramatic shift in the industry to clean tanners. So you can stop rubbing those harsh chemicals on your body, and switch over to a clean natural tanner! Whether it’s a sunless tanning lotion, or a foam- whatever your preference is for organic self-tanner, it exists! 

Now go get your great tan on 😉

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Thanks for reading my post about the best clean self tanners for a natural glow!

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