The Best Self Tanners for Pale Skin That Won’t Make You Bright Orange

The Best Self Tanners for Pale Skin That Won’t Make You Bright Orange

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Editor’s Note: Article updated on April 3, 2023.

Looking for the best self tanner for beginners and fair skin? We have you. Home tans are much more affordable than regular tanning and the safest option as opposed to harmful tanning beds. If you want that instant (or gradual) tan without a streaky mess or bright orange complexion, stick with Us!

Quick picks:

Which self tanners are best for beginners?

The answer to this can definitely vary based on your skin tone, the look you want, and how quickly you want to see results, which is why we’ve listed a wide range of products below. In general, though, you might want to start with something gradual or less intense until you get the hang of things. You can even opt for something totally temporary. Self tanner can be tricky if you go very dark or permanent and put a lot on your knees for example!

How to avoid overdoing self-tanner on pale skin

Even if you’re not totally new to tanning, you still have to be careful when applying to pale skin if you don’t want to go bright orange or much darker than it would ever naturally be. Again, a gradual bronzer can be a great choice here, or something really easy to apply everywhere so you don’t miss a spot, like an oil or mist. Unfortunately, a blotchy application will be more obvious on pale skin, so take your time, choose the right products and even start by doing a test on a body part that is not usually exposed!

Beginner tips for a more natural tan

There are definitely some expert tips you’ll want to know right away. First, you should always exfoliate your skin to get a clean, even base before tanning and make sure your skin is clean. Another tip is to make sure you aren’t missing any less obvious spots, like your ears, armpits, neck, or even the back of your hands. Another tip is to start with your feet and work your way up to avoid stretch marks! Of course, another hot tip is to use an accessory like a tanning mitt or brush for a flawless tan!

Just as you don’t want to miss any points, you also want to make sure you’re overdoing it in certain spots! Knees, hands, elbows, and even fingernails can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the self-tanner world, so pay extra attention to make sure they don’t get dark creases.

Products that can help you get the perfect tan:

Ready to find your destiny for this summer and every month and year after that? Check out 17 of the best ones we’ve picked below!

19 best self tanners for beginners and pale skin

Our pick for the best self tanner: St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

This streak-free, clear mist can be worn under or over makeup for a natural glow that can last for days. Thanks to its antioxidant properties and ingredients like Fresh Green Tangerine Water, it can also become a key part of your skincare routine. And hey, none of that chemical smell you can’t stand!

Self-tanner for the face: Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

This tanning concentrate may look small, but it packs a punch. Just add a few drops to your serum, moisturizer or face oil for a glorious tan. So easy. We’re talking Triple Tan technology here for a natural, nourished glow. Reviewers say they “couldn’t recommend this more” and that they now have a “perfect tan glow”!

Leg self-tanner: Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish

If you’ve ever been stuck wearing pants in 90-degree weather because of a terrible tan you couldn’t remove, this is the body tanner for you. It rinses off, so fear of commitment disappears, making it especially great for beginners. Hydration will last – this self tanner has moisture lock technology that lasts up to 72 hours!

Self-tanner for face and body: SOL by Jergens Deeper by the Drop Self-tanning drops

If you are a beginner, a single face and body product may be more suitable for you. These drops are designed for both and can be used by all skin tones, because you can customize your tan! Add three to 15 drops to any moisturizer, serum, or oil you use regularly on your face and body for the desired glow.

Gradual Self Tanner: COOLA Organic Gradual Sunless Taner Sculpting Mousse

You can’t go wrong with COOLA. As one reviewer said, “COOLA is the best and this product confirms my opinion”. This gradual bronzer is perfect for confidently tanning pale skin. It’s already unique for its mousse formula, but it gets even better when you realize it has ingredients like green coffee extracts to contour and firm the skin. It’s also made with over 70% certified organic ingredients!


Instant Self Tan: Clarins Instant Self Tanning Gel

Not wasting time? You’ll want to try this instant bronzer from Clarins. This non-greasy tanning gel contains aloe vera and shea butter to keep skin soft and smooth in the sun, and it dries quickly so you can get dressed just minutes after application!

Self tanner for acne-prone skin: Suntegrity Staycation – Botanical Bronzing Shimmer Serum

This luminous tanning serum is made for all skin types, including sensitive and acne/blemish prone skin. It even has a gorgeous shine so you can really shine in the sun without having to cover up any spots or blemishes you’d rather not show off. We know they can be more visible on fair skin, so this can be a big help!

Fine Mist Self Tanner: Tanologist Express Self Tan Water

Reviewers say this is one of the easiest tanners they’ve used because of the mist packaging. It sprays on clear and you don’t have to wash it off, which is one less step in the tanning process. Buyers say the end result is a perfectly even, natural-looking tan glow!

Ultra-fast express self-tanner: b.tan pre-shower self-tanning mousse

If you need to tan fast, this is the mousse to use! You can leave it on for as little as nine minutes and wash it off immediately afterwards—although leaving it on longer will result in a deeper shade. But after you shower (water only, no soap), the tan will continue to develop, which makes it ideal if you’re dealing with a time crunch.

Self-tanner for very fair skin tones: Bondi Sands self-tanning foam

Bondi Sands is easily a favorite among influencers, and we can see why. Achieving an even tan is a breeze with this professional-grade bronzing foam, and it comes in a light/medium shade for those of us with fairer, very pale skin. It’s made to give you “the best Aussie tan in minutes”, and we have no complaints about it!

Cruelty-Free Self-Tanning: Paradise Island Self-Tanning Drops

These cruelty-free tanning drops are vegan, organic, and hypoallergenic, free of toxins, gluten, mineral oils, and more. They are also a fan favorite with over 1,300 reviews. Buyers say they “wake up to a soft glow” after using them and claim they are “a must for an even tan”!

Self tanner that also fights cellulite: Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Self Tanner Mousse

This natural DHA bronzing mousse is made with the brand’s Cellushape technology. It’s infused with raw virgin coconuts, botanicals, amino acids, fruit and cocoa extracts to potentially hydrate the skin, blur pigmentation and stretch marks, and provide anti-aging and anti-cellulite benefits!

Self-tanner that fits any budget: Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner Lotion

At under $10, we’d recommend this clean tanning lotion to just about anyone. It has a lot of fans and a nice ingredients list with shea butter, sweet almond oil and safflower oil – and no gluten, parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances!

Self-tanning wipes for mess-free application: Tanning Towel Self Tanning Towel

These wipes come individually wrapped and pre-soaked with the self-tanning formula to help with the process. what very easy! You can use them on your face and body, and you can throw them in the trash after wrapping. These are perfect for tanning on the go if you don’t have time to spare before the holidays!

Self-tanner for extra shine: Moroccanoil Shimmering Body Oil

Whether you already have a bit of a tan or just want some natural-looking glow to make your pale skin more like porcelain, this pearlescent body oil is our pick. It’s not exactly a bronzer, but it can still give you that glowing, even effect. Impossible to exaggerate, in our opinion!

Luxurious Self Tanning: Sisley-Paris Self Tanning Moisturizing Facial Skin Care

Want every self-tanning session to feel like a trip to the spa? The sophisticated moisturizing cream is the perfect choice to add to your facial skin care routine. Contains awesome ingredients like hibiscus flower extract and alpine rose extract!

Self tanner for dry skin: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Body Butter

If you have dry skin, you don’t want to risk your self-tanner clinging to dry patches. That’s why we suggest a rich moisturizing lotion like this one, which can keep your skin hydrated while your tan develops. You can also control the intensity of your color depending on how often you apply the product!

Clean self tanner for sensitive skin: Tarte Brazilliance PLUS Self Tanner

If you try to strictly maintain clean beauty to avoid negative reactions, this self tanner might be right for you. It is hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and sulfate free!

Temporary self-tanner for an all-day tan: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

If you don’t want to commit to a facial tan—especially if you’re not sure how it’s going to look—try something like this tanning cream that you can wash off at the end of the day and reapply as needed. It is non-comedogenic and has a beautiful, velvety finish!

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Check out these related product articles below:

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