Sometimes it seems like sunless tanners are made for everybody except for those of us with fair skin tones. All too often,
self-tanners for fair skin tones (ones that aren't actually made for fair skin but just say that they are) leave you looking a lot more tangerine than tan and can appear zebra-like streaky instead of natural and glowing.
If you're fair-skinned and well aware of these facts and how they've played out in your own life (orange skin in prom photos, anyone?) you already know there's no point in trying to make up for it by coating your body and face in a
self-tanning lotion that's 10 shades darker than your natural skin tone. The goal is never to look unnatural or like we're in need of a good exfoliating scrub, right? So, how do you get any semblance of color on pale skin when your choices seem to be carrot or no change whatsoever?
You invest in self-tanners that are specifically designed for lighter skin tones.
Not only do formulas that go light on the tan and easy on orange-bronze undertones exist, they often contain ultra-hydrating ingredients and antioxidants that make them worlds better than that self-tanner you used the night before prom. And that alone is a reason to celebrate these highly-rated self-tanners for fair skin.
1 A Smooth, Even Tan With A Fresh Coconut Fragrance Tanceuticals Self Tanner, $28, Amazon
self-tanners but could do without the chemical smell? This lotion produces a deep, even tan (yes, even on pale skin!) and smells just like coconut. Fair skinned reviewers describe the shade it produces as "naturally golden" and say it doesn't rub off on clothes or sheets — a definite plus. It's also filled with cosmeceuticals like acai berry, mango butter, and vitamin E and is certified cruelty-free by PETA. 2 Steak-Less Tanning Towelettes For Your Body & Face Tan Towel, $24, Amazon
Mastering the self-tanning application process takes trial and error, with an emphasis on error. Eliminate streaks and make the experience a whole lot easier with these
tan towelettes, which are miniature towels infused with a clear self-tanning formula that can be applied in a circular motion to your body and face after cleansing and exfoliation. These towels are formulated especially for fair and medium skin tones and will provide a light glow at first that you can build upon for a few days until you reach your desired shade. Word to the wise: wash your hands after using these because they will stain. 3 A Daily Hydrating Lotion With SPF 20 That Provides Just A Touch Of Color Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer SPF 20, $9, Amazon
If dry skin is a concern and you'd like your
self-tanning lotion to be as hydrating as possible, this SPF 20 moisturizer (made especially for fair to medium skin tones) can be used daily for little more than a hint of natural sun-kissed color that will make you look like you spent your lunch break dining al fresco. 4 A Seriously Dark Tan With No Parabens & A Cruelty-Free Formula Sun Laboratories Self Tanning Lotion, $28, Amazon
This paraben and cruelty-free
self-tanning lotion does what few other bronzing lotions can: it turns even the lightest skin tones a credible shade of golden bronze. Make sure you exfoliate beforehand and that you use a mitt to apply the lotion, as it can and will stain. It's made with natural ingredients like coconut, aloe vera, and sweet almond oil and will provide a deep, dark tan on even the palest skin types. 5 An Organic Dry Tanning Oil With Hyaluronic Acid Golden Star Beauty Self Tanning Oil, $30, Amazon
self-tanning oil is ideal for anyone who can't stand feeling sticky and greasy and is downright terrified of formulas that you apply at night — in the hopes that you won't wake up orange just in time for work. Instead, this body bronzer (which contains no parabens, formaldehyde, or harsh chemicals) gradually tans you to a light shade of bronze within 24 hours — you can spray it after your shower and get on with your life. It's also intensely moisturizing and is made with organic oils like jojoba, avocado, and macadamia, as well as skin softening, collagen-boosting hyaluronic acid. 6 A Non-Irritating Gradual Tanner For Sensitive Skin Types Hempz Touch Of Summer Daily Moisturizer, $20, Amazon
If you have both fair and sensitive skin, you may believe
self-tanning lotions aren't created for you. But this moisturizer and gradual tanner, rich with moisturizing organic hemp seed oil, provides a shimmer-less, super light tan that develops over the course of 4-5 days. It's free of gluten, parabens, and is THC drug-free and reviewers with sensitive skin say it makes their complexion look healthier without ever irritating it. 7 A Gradual Tanner For Buildable, Believable Color Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer Fair to Medium, $11, Amazon
Control your tan and get bronze a bit at a time with this gradual
tanner and body lotion, made with antioxidants and vitamin E and formulated specifically for fair and medium skin tones. Apply this lotion after exfoliating skin and be patient — your full tan will develop in a couple of days and reviewers say it's a natural, streak-less looking bronze. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.