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Listen, we aren’t all people of leisure who can spend every summer day basking in the sun. And, even if we were, we should be applying loads of sun protection to fight off excess UV exposure. Fortunately, self tanners exist to offer that whole sun-kissed look whenever we want it, no PTO requests from work required.
Of course, there’s a catch. Self tanners can be pricy. Especially if you’re looking at some of the high-falutin’ brands that are all over your TikTok. Plus, a single bottle of self tanner will likely only provide a few applications if you’re trying to cover your entire body. That’s why we’re here to share how to save a few bucks when you try out these trending self tanning products.
We asked the Krazy Coupon Lady to add their favorite self-tanning products, and we found the best deals to make them worthwhile. Here’s all the self-tanning deals we’re loving for this summer, from $5 options at Five Below to more pricier options at Ulta.
Text HACKS to 57299 to get all of the best deals sent straight to your phone every day.
Self Tanners at Five Below
Australian Sands Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse 3.38 fl.oz ($5, Five Below)
At just $5, this gradual tan mousse is a good starter self tanner for newbies because it is so inexpensive. However, at just 3.38 fl.oz., you’ll likely only get one full body application out of it. However, it’s a good price point for those who are self tanner curious and want to get started without breaking the bank.
Self Tanners at Ulta
Tanologist, Multiple Varieties (Starting at $7.50 Each, Ulta)
What’s nice about the Tanologist line is that you can really pick your poison in terms of what type of self tanning formula you prefer. They have mousse, lotion, drops, and even what they call “tan water.” For a size comparison to Australian Sands, Tanologist Daily Glow Gradual Tanning Lotion is 8.45 fl.oz., meaning you’ll surely get at least a few applications out of it. Right now, you can save 25% and buy one get one 50% off.
Ulta 2 Beauty Mitt and 2 Face Drops + 2 Free Gifts ($28.92, Ulta)
This is a great coupling for Ulta’s Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off promotion going on now. As we explain below, a beauty mitt helps when trying to apply self tan products evenly. But these Ulta Beauty Gradual Tan Face Drops are a real game changer. It can be difficult to get just the right amount of self tan product on your face, but these drops smooth over skin quite nicely for a more natural result.
St. Tropez Face Mist ($33, Ulta)
This bronzing face mist has over 1500 four-star reviews on Ulta.com for its efficacy and easy of use. You literally just close your eyes and mist the bronzing formula onto your face in five to six pumps. There isn’t even any need to blend the product in, just let it do its thing.
Drunk Elephant Sunshine Drops and Free Sample ($38, Ulta)
Through June 10, you can get free D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops with a $35 Drunk Elephant purchase and these sunshine drops are some of the most popular sunless tanning products at Ulta, according to a rep I spoke to. With a 4.6 star rating and 942 reviews that we read through, readers love the sun-glowed look that you get for the price. My niece is a personal favorite of this brand, and mixes it with a moisturizer for the full effect.
St. Tropez Bundle & Free Sample ($80 Value), $55
This kit is valued at $80 and includes Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse (6.7 oz), Gradual Tan Daily Firming Lotion in Medium/Dark (6.7 oz) and Applicator Mitt. According to ULTA, 100% of users would recommend this set to a friend. Right now, you can get a free watermelon fanny pack and koozie with this purchase through 6/24.
Self Tanners at Walmart
b.tan Glow Your Own Way Clear Self Tan Gel Enriched with Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C, No Rinse, $9.97
This best-seller at Walmart had 500+ customers buy it yesterday (at press time), and the clear self-tan gel promises a glow unique to the person using it. The product has a 3.1 out of 5 star review on Walmart, with 17 5-star reviews. Be warned though that the reviews are divided, with some reviewers saying it was streaky. At $9.97, I recommend testing the product on a small patch of your arm before trying on your entire body.
Self Tanners at Sephora
Self-Tanning Body Mousse, $12.50
This Sephora product is rated 3.4 stars out of 5, so it’s safe to say that you are paying for what you get. While some reviewers complained about the smell, one reviewer liked the “great gradual and natural color.” This has a more natural look when I tested it out the store, so don’t expect to be bronzed overnight.
Isle of Paradise Own Your Glow Kit, $35
This kit is valued at $49.50 and contains medium self-tanning drops, travel friendly self-tanning water, and applicator mitt, and you can get all for $35. With a 3.8 star review and over 280 reviews, these influencer-favorite tanning drops are known to work. My sister, who has tried every self-tanner on the block, swears by the drops, so the kit for $35 is a good buy (the drops alone are $32).
Tips for self-tanning:
For starters, you need to prep, prep, prep.
Exfoliate your entire body with a dry brush and sugar scrub. Then shave, and exfoliate one more time to really get rid of all your dead skin. (You can even shave one more time for good measure if you’re feeling up to it). Once you’re out of the shower, apply lotion all over. Make sure to really let it absorb into your skin before you begin applying the self tanner.
Applicators help the product go on evenly.
You can purchase self tanning mitts for pretty cheap on Amazon and Ulta. They even have extenders to help you reach your entire back. (I often ask someone to do my back for me, but this could be really great if you live alone). I’ve even heard of people using latex gloves instead of mitts. Besides the fact that it’s cheaper than mitts, they absorb none of the product and make it easier to rub in.Amazon and dedicated it solely to self tanning. Right now, it’s on sale for $6.99.
Wash your hands and face.
A lot of self tanners now are advertised as rinse free products, but I still highly recommend washing your hands shortly after applying the product. This helps prevent splotchy, dark, orange hands. A lot of these products develop over time so I also like to wash my face to make sure the self tan looks as natural as possible.
You can use self tanner to contour.
Did you know you can use self tanner for a semi-permanent contour? There’s a ton of tutorials on TikTok that I highly recommend taking a look at before you try it yourself.
RELATED: Drunk Elephant D Bronzi Drops Restock Guide & Alternatives
Maintenance means hydrating your skin.
Make sure to keep your skin hydrated to avoid cracking and peeling. You’ll want to apply lotion in the morning and night at a minimum. However, I’d also make sure to apply after you get out of the bath or shower. This is especially important if you’re spending a lot of time in the pool this summer. Chlorine can dry out your skin pretty badly. I’d throw some lotion in your pool bag to have on hand.
Re-apply as needed.
I reapply my tanner every 1-2 weeks depending on how it’s holding up. If you have some splotchy or uneven spots, make sure to exfoliate those areas super well in the shower to help even it out. That way, you’ll have a better base to build on.