7 Nontoxic Self-Tanners That Deliver Glowier Results Than the Actual Sun

Melissa Meyers is a Los Angeles–based influencer with a focus on beauty, style, travel, and wellness. Her blog, The Glow Girl, aims to empower women to embrace the best version of themselves, age gracefully, and cultivate a glow from the inside out. She also happens to be a 54-year-old with a passion for beauty. Below, hear from Meyers on her favorite nontoxic self-tanning products to keep her skin sun-kissed, healthy, and glowing all winter—and beyond!

“I love sporting a healthy glow all year round, and a great tan magically seems to improve the tone, texture, and color of the skin while also helping to mask any imperfections. Thankfully, gone are the days where you had to bask in the sun for hours to look like a bronzed goddess or use a smelly, toxic self-tanner that makes your skin look like a roast turkey.”

“Over the years, I’ve road-tested countless self-tanners, but this year I decided to try some nontoxic ones to see how they'd compare to my other favorite formulas. Surprisingly, they far exceeded my expectations, so I’ve put together a list of my favorite clean, self-tanning formulas that are not only safe to use but also provide the most gorgeous, naturally bronzed skin.

“In order to get the most natural-looking long-lasting tan, make sure your skin gets some TLC before and after tanning! The most important tip I can share is to exfoliate beforehand to ensure even coverage. I like to use Dermasuri’s Exfoliating Scrub Mitt ($20) from head to toe in the shower. Unlike loofahs, this mitt’s unique fabric texture removes surface layers of buildup and dead skin cells instantly! I use the mitt with water, or with my favorite body scrub, Herbivore’s Amethyst Exfoliating Body Scrub ($44).”

“The botanical-based self-tanning products listed below are all derived from organic ingredients and formulated without any harsh chemicals, preservatives, parabens, or unnatural fragrances. Best of all, orange skin is nowhere to be found; all of these suggestions offer the most natural, golden look! Also, I only tried products that went on clear or white, and didn’t stain clothes or sheets. Keep scrolling to discover my top seven nontoxic self-tanners for sun-kissed skin.”

“This natural self-tanner is at the top of my list—it hydrates the skin, and the scent is an incredible combination of coconut milk and verbena. The streak-free formula goes on just like your favorite body butter and can be used every day. After the product develops, the tan is a perfect golden brown. It’s free of parabens, sulfates, DEA, and TEA, with naturally sourced organic ingredients that also firm and moisturize. I’m so obsessed with this product that I shared it with my husband and daughter, who both have fair and sensitive skin. They’re huge fans and now keep bottles of their own!”

“An amazing gradual self-tanner, this is my fave for a buildable tan. Its super-natural color is great even for fair-skinned girls. The brand uses DHA that is naturally derived from sugar, which is a safe, nontoxic alternative to naturally bronze the skin. Free from harmful chemicals, it has a pleasant spa-like scent and is great to use year-round. Leave it to supermodel Miranda Kerr to create a certified organic self-tanner that’s a true winner!”

“This nontoxic self-tanner is great for those with sensitive skin and doesn’t have that dreaded fake-tan smell. It’s vegan-certified and free of toxins. The quick-drying lotion goes on white and is also streak-free, with natural ingredients such as jojoba, avocado, apricot, grape seed, and coconut. This formula can also be used on your face and is perfect for all skin types. I found the tan to be very natural and gradual, so it’s good to use daily if you want to build up a rich glow.”

“Say hello to perfect sun-kissed skin! This tanning product does a great job of covering up natural skin imperfections and leaves you with a glowing, golden color. I love that the simple, natural, organic ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and Japanese green tea leaf extract leave my skin looking and feeling fabulous. It’s is also a great alternative to the top brands that sell chemical-filled tanners. I’m not the only one who thinks so—you can check out the 4700 five-star reviews on Amazon too!”

I am extremely picky when it comes to self-tanners for the face, and I found this one to be amazing with its color-correcting technology. Just add the clear drops to your favorite moisturizer, and integrate it into your regular skincare routine for a stunning tropical glow. You can feel confident putting this on your face since it’s cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and made using certified organic ingredients. It has low pH levels, non-sensitizing and hypoallergenic ingredients, and pure oils. There are no mineral oils, petroleum, gluten, GMOs, or toxins. This formula offers light, medium, and dark tan options. I like to use the medium as it gives me the perfect amount of glow every time! 

“I wrote about this self-tanner on The Glow Girl in the summer of 2018 when it made its debut. This invisible foaming tanning water is super-fast drying and perfect when in a hurry or you have to get dressed quickly after applying. It also leaves the skin with a great natural glow, and will never stain even the whitest clothing or sheets! It also contains certified-organic ingredients and is made with natural extracts like pomegranate, papaya, aloe vera and licorice to enhance skin with no tell-tale self-tanner scent. Tip: Wait four to eight hours before showering to get the full effects of this tanner!”

“This self-tanner was developed using a unique DHA derived from sugar beets, an Ecocert-approved ingredient from one of the UK’s best natural, cult clean-beauty brands. All of its products are 100% nontoxic and between 90% to 99.9% organic. Their formula comes in a glass bottle pump and goes on as a natural-colored lotion leaving skin with a gorgeous bronzed glow as it develops. The scent is mild, and it blends easily, leaving skin super moisturized.”

The Best Moisturizers to Elevate Your Tan

“After your tan has made its debut, it’s important to moisturize and keep skin hydrated to help the color last as long as possible. Below are my clean beauty favorites that will surely extend the longevity of your gorgeous glow…”

“I just discovered this face cream, and I’m obsessed! Made with B-silk protein, which is known to improve skin texture and firmness, I use this on my face to keep it moisturized after I tan. With ingredients like ceramides, leaf extract, and sunflower seed oil offering fantastic hydration, it also softens my fine lines and makes my face feel smoother.”

“I love to use oils to keep the skin on my face deeply moisturized and to prolong my faux tan as long as possible. I’ve been using my newly launched face oil (in partnership with Olie Organic Face Oils) daily, with its incredible active ingredient, French marine algae! This natural ingredient not only builds collagen but also locks in hydration for the best moisture retention.”

“This organic body butter smells incredible, and it’s made with ingredients that are safe enough to eat. It’s an all-natural, deep moisturizer—because it’s so hydrating, my tan lasts much longer if I apply it after the tan is freshly developed. A little bit goes a long way, so the jar lasts a while!”

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This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.

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