top of page

Best Affordable Self Tan

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Winter is coming.

Do you even realize what that means for your tan??

Don't let your bronzed booty you worked so hard on all summer fade so fast.

Or if you're like me you just keep the tan all year. Self-tan options can be SO very overwhelming. Which is best? What lasts? What looks bronzey brown and not orange? I've got you covered. In this post, we're going to go over all of the affordable self-tanners that I've tried and rate them based on how long they last, the color, and the cost.

-Let's get started-

Formula: Transparant foam

Price: $16-20

Duration: Five days-ish

Tone/Tan Color: Bronze/Brown

Perks: Doesn't stain clothes or sheets

Smell: None really

Cons: What makes it great is also what I don't love. I like that it's clear so it doesn't stain sheets and clothing however, I like to see the tan instantly so even though it omits a tan guide color there's no instant gratification.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Sure, if it was on sale

This is on the pricier side of what I prefer to spend on tanning. I already tried all the expensive ones and didn't feel they were great enough to compare to a more affordable option so until one blows my socks off, I'm sticking to $12 and under. However, this was sent to me to review by a beauty app so technically it was free for me which is my favorite of all prices.

Formula: Water Foam, Clear

Price: $12.99

Duration: Few days

Tone/Tan Color: Light tan

Perks: Doesn't stain clothes

Smell: Little bit of a tanner smell

Cons: This would be ideal for someone who wants a mild shade darker but nothing drastic. I prefer darker personally.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again: No

I'd say this would be best as an in-between touch-up tan to maintain color.

Formula: Foam, violet (anti-orange)

Price: $10.99

Duration: Decent, lasts a week

Tone/Tan Color: Very tan

Perks: Affordable, good tan color

Smell: Nothing noticeable after awhile

Cons: I find this streaks a tad so getting it on evenly is tedious, however for the most part I find it to be a great affordable tan.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Yes, it's sold at a nearby drugstore which is easy for me to get to and incredibly affordable.

Formula: Mousse, foam

Price: $12.99

Duration: Five days-ish

Tone/Tan Color: Golden tan

Perks: Love this tan tone

Smell: Typical gradual tan smell

Cons: Doesn't last very long if you tend to shower every day. Sometimes I shower every other and have to touch up with tan lotions (see below).

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Yup! It's my current go-to for overall price/value/and tan tone.

Formula: Lotion

Price: $10.99

Duration: Couple days

Tone/Tan Color: Light Tan

Perks: Can go on the face too

Smell: Typical self-tan smell

Cons: I feel like it's way too light for me. I also tend to prefer foam formula which dries quicker.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Probably not. But would be great for someone really fair who wants a light tan.

Formula: Lotion

Price: $34

Duration: One shower and it's gone

Tone/Tan Color: Light tan

Perks: Great for in between touch-ups and hydrates the skin

Smell: Nothing too noticeable

Cons: Could be darker, but that's likely because I use it for touch-ups on already tanned skin. I also take this on trips to maintain a tan. It's also expensive but I got this in a beauty subscription box.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Maybe, it's a bit pricey and if I hadn't gotten it for free I likely would have not purchased it.

Formula: Cream based/lotion

Price: $35

Duration: One shower

Tone/Tan Color: Very bronzed

Perks: Airbrushed look

Smell: Smells great

Cons: It's just a tinted lotion so it washes and rubs right off but looks great if you have a special occasion and want to look flawless.

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

Will I Buy Again?: Yes, this is kind of a staple for me when I want to look my best. It makes skin look perfectly smooth.

Formula: Water/mist

Price: $6

Duration: Couple days

Tone/Tan Color: Tan-ish

Perks: Affordable, easy to use

Smell: This one particularly smells like peaches when you spray but tanning product after a few mns.

Cons: None really

Overall Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will I Buy Again?: Yes, it works great. I put this on after my nightly skincare a few times a week to keep my face as tan as my neck and body.

Honorable mentions.

My favorite tanning mitt is by Bondi Sands or Tarte. Both are thicker materials as opposed to those cheap thin ones that split when you put your hands in.

Sidebar: I do love all Bondi Sands tan products and the foam was my long-standing favorite however everywhere I tried to buy it was always out of stock or stopped carrying it.

Their tanning mitts are by far the best, they're thick and soft and smooth out tanning foams to perfection. I toss it in the wash at the end of the week.

10/10 Love it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I've tried a bunch of tanning products and as I said, already dabbled with luxury pricey ones too but I don't think they're necessary to get a nice bronzed golden self-tan. Since I use them so much, I prefer to have an affordable product I can find easily. I probably go through a bottle every couple of months so I'm always on the hunt for trying new ones.

Hope that helps! Feel free to drop your favorites below and I will give them a try.



Some links are affiliated*

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page