Sunless Tanners: Expert and User Reviews

In this report

Self Tanners: Ratings of Sources

1. PaulasChoice.com Bronzers, Paula Begoun, As of June 2016
Credibility:
PaulasChoice.com is an excellent resource for research on nearly every type of cosmetic product, not just self-tanners and bronzers. Editor and beauty expert Paula Begoun includes medical journals, industry reports and the Food and Drug Administration among her research sources, providing thorough information on each cosmetic's ingredients and potential problems. She also provides a "best of" list for each category.
2. Allure 10 Under $20: Self-Tanners, Lindsay Colameo, Not Dated
Credibility:
This roundup discusses 10 affordable self-tanners, including creams, mists and towelettes. Jergens Natural Glow Lotion -- Allure's 2013 Best of Beauty winner -- is at the top of the list, and St. Tropez Self Bronzing Mousse and L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush Self Tanning Mist are also among the author's favorites.
3. ConsumerReports.org Best self-tanners under the sun, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 9, 2014
Credibility:
ConsumerReports.org editors recruited a panel of volunteers to test six top-selling self-tanners. An accompanying video explains the testing process more thoroughly. L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush Medium Natural Tan was rated the best, with Clinique and St. Tropez products named runners up. A very affordable Equate brand sold at Walmart was also named a runner up. While most ConsumerReports.org reviews require a subscription, this report is free to the public.
4. Harper's Bazaar Charting: 10 Best Self-Tanners and How to Apply Them, Hannah Morrill and Alexandra Tunell, Apr. 2, 2015
Credibility:
Writers Hannah Morrill and Alexandra Tunell partner with Manhattan tanning expert Kristyn Pradas to recommend the top 10 self-tanners for various needs. Each tip offered by Pradas is accompanied by an editor's pick for a product that will work within that tip. Sprays, gels, oils, foams, lotions and towelettes are all included in this roundup.
5. TotalBeauty.com 9 Best Self-Tanners, Claire Ballor and Allie Flinn, Not Dated
Credibility:
Total Beauty rounded up the top 9 self-tanning products based upon the top-ranked products by their readers. Each product gets a pretty thorough review, including reader input that indicates how best to use it and what type of skin it works best for.
6. Marie Claire The 10 Best No-Streak Tanners, Lori Keong, May 4, 2016
Credibility:
Editors at Marie Claire recommend 10 self-tanners that don't leave streaks, although it is unclear whether the products have been tested. The roundup includes lotions, towelettes, CC creams, sprays, and oils. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse and Jergens Natural Glow are among the recommended products.
7. Redbook Meet Your Perfect Self-Tanner, Editors of Redbook, June 17, 2013
Credibility:
Five editors at Redbook share their experiences with the following self-tanning products: L'OrŽal Paris Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist, St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Spray, Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer, Sephora Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist and BareMinerals Faux Tan Body. The slideshow details the best uses for each product along with how it went on, how it smelled and how it looked.
8. Stylecaster.com Faux Tanner Face-Off: How Our Editors Fake a Believable Bronze, Alle Connell, Not Dated
Credibility:
Editors at Stylecaster.com share their favorite self-tanning products in a list that includes lotions, towelettes, concentrates and sprays. The article details the editors' personal experiences with the products. Jergens Natural Glow, St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads all make the cut.
9. Amazon.com Self-Tanners and Bronzers, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2016
Credibility:
There are thousands of self-tanning products available at Amazon.com and some get thousands of reviews; many others get hundreds. Some reviews are very thorough and include pros, cons and helpful tips -- these are the ones we give the most weight to. Others may be extremely brief, such as a one-word comment, or may unfairly criticize the product due to packaging or shipping issues. The most helpful are those who revisit their review after months or years to update it on how the product is still performing over time.
10. Ulta.com Self-Tanning & Bronzing, Contributors to Ulta.com, As of June 2016
Credibility:
Self-tanning is has its own product category on Ulta.com, with over a hundred results. Most of the products get a good number of reviews, with each ranked on a 5-star scale. The header for each review has a list of pros and cons, as well as best uses for the product, which makes it easy to get a good overview of customer consensus.
11. Sephora.com Self Tanners, Contributors to Sephora.com, As of June 2016
Credibility:
Contributors review a number of self-tanning products, ranging from gels and creams to wipes and sprays. Each product is rated on a five-point scale, but the total number of reviews for each product isn't available until clicking through to the specific product page.
12. Elle 7 Self Tanners That I Have Known and Loved, Julie Schott, Mar. 22, 2016
Credibility:
This roundup showcases seven different products that the author appears to have tried. She names one product in each of the following categories: mousse, towelette, instant tint, mist, rinse-off, quick cream and gel.
13. Allure The Best Bronzers for Every Skin Tone, Cara Brook, Aug. 27, 2014
Credibility:
Beauty blogger Cara Brook recommends three bronzers, one suitable for each of three skin tones: fair, medium and dark. Each recommendation earns a brief review.
14. Harper's Bazaar Charting: 10 New Bronzers for a Spring Glow, Editors of Harper's Bazaar, Mar. 31, 2016
Credibility:
This slideshow recommends ten liquid, cream and powder bronzer formulas. The roundup is light on details -- there's no information about how the editors chose the products, and each recommendation only comes with a price estimate and link for purchasing.
15. WebMD.com Sunless Tanning: Baking Is Out, Faking Is In, Katherine Kam, Nov. 16, 2012
Credibility:
This article contains background information on sunless tanning and the different types of self-tanning products. Kam consults a few different makeup artists, who recommend a handful of products. It's a bit of an older article, but still useful.