Let's face it: self-tanner can be one of the tricker beauty products to get right. It can be messy, it can leave you streaky, and if you've got sensitive skin, certain formulas can totally freak your skin out. But if a bronzed bod is what you desire, finding the best self-tanner for sensitive skin is likely your quest.
Lucky for you, the hunt for the perfect sunless tan isn't as difficult as you may think — even if you do have skin that's prone to irritation. You just have to approach your shopping mission the same way you would with any skin care product. It's important to know what, exactly, makes your sensitive skin go haywire. If fragrances are a no-go, there are plenty of fragrance-free formulas on the market. Parabens get you down? Reach for a bottle that's without the preservatives.
There is one extra ingredient in self-tanners to keep an eye out for if you've got sensitive skin: DHA. Short for Dihydroxyaceton, DHA is the active ingredient in self-tanner that actually gives you your golden glow. And while most people have zero reaction to the compound, some folks with sensitive skin may find that they develop dermis issues when it's present in formulas. A patch test is never a bad idea if you're new to the self-tanning game, and it's always a good idea to look out for natural DHA, which may be friendlier to your delicate complexion.
Regardless of what sets your skin off, there is a self-tanning formula out there for you. Ahead, you'll find the best self-tanners for sensitive skin: Bronzed perfection is well within your reach.
1. The Overall Best Self-Tanner For Sensitive Skin
Skinerals Californium Sunless Bronzer
When it comes to self-tanner for sensitive skin types, no one does it better than Skinerals Californium Sunless Bronzer. This formula checks all the boxes: it's paraben-free, dermatologist-recommended, and free of synthetic fragrance, making it absolutely perfect for just about anyone with sensitive or easily-irritated complexions. Skinerals is also formulated with aloe vera, which is amazing for soothing red, itchy, angry skin. And the tan it gives you is pretty close to perfect, with zero splotches or streaks. I call that a win-win.
2. The Best Quick-Drying Self-Tanner
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
If you're over having to wait around naked for your self-tanner to dry (trust me, I've been there), then St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse is the bottle for you. It dries in 60 seconds, meaning you can get dressed almost immediately after swiping it on. Since it's made with an 100 percent all-natural DHA, it's a friendlier alternative for sensitive skin types. The mousse consistency allows for easier coverage, meaning you're less likely to miss a spot or suffer from an uneven application. But the best part? None of that nasty self-tanner fragrance to get you down — or freak your skin out.
3. The Best Self-Tanning Towelettes
Kate Somerville Somerville360 Face And Body Self-Tanning Towelettes
Sick of the mess self-tanner makes? Then you'll love Kate Somerville Somerville360 Face And Body Self Tanning Towelettes. They make application a snap, since all you've got to do is swipe these bad boys over your face or body for a gorgeous glow. And if you've got sensitive skin, take note: One of the star ingredients in Kate Somerville's towelettes is cucumber, which helps soothe and condition reactive skin. It helps deliver the other active ingredients in the wipes in a more sensitive skin-friendly way. Couple that with the fact that this tan develops in just two to four hours, and you've got a self-tanner you'll want to use again and again. Plus, being liquid-free, you can travel with these TSA-friendly towelettes, no problem.
4. The Best Self-Tanning Mist
Sun Laboratories Dark Sunsation Self Tanning Solution
Mists are amazing for self-tanning enthusiasts, because they cover a large surface area in a short amount of time. But what makes Sun Laboratories Dark Sunsation Self Tanning Solution perfect for those with sensitive skin is the fact that it's made without parabens. Therefore, you can get the ultimate sunless glow without making your skin red and angry — which is plus. It's also formulated with all-natural ingredients that soothe and hydrate your skin, so the tanner itself won't dry you out. Another great thing about this brand is that they offer formulas in a variety of shades (listed below), so you can customize your tan depending on your natural skin tone. Consider this the perfect solution for an easy-to-apply self-tanner. Just spritz, wait for it to dry, and you're all set.
5. The Best Self-Tanning And Exfoliating Bundle
Botanic Tree Self Tanner and Pre Tan Exfoliator
One of the most important steps in your journey to the perfect self-tan is the exfoliation, which is why I love this Botanic Tree Self Tanner and Pre Tan Exfoliator bundle so much. It takes out the guesswork, delivering both steps for one low price. And both the exfoliator and self-tanner are made with sensitive skin in mind. They're chemical-free, paraben-free, and made with natural ingredients, including shea butter to moisturize your skin. But our favorite part? Botanic Tree is transfer-free, so no leaving your fake tan behind on your clothes or sheets. Your white tees will thank you.
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