How to Choose the Best Self Tanner

Whether you want a little color to complement your new summer outfit

or show off your glow on a special night out

self-tanning is a quick and easy way to get you looking and feeling your best.

Self-tanners aren’t created equal. Low-quality products and improper use can leave you with unnatural, embarrassing color that you’ll be scrubbing off in the shower. For that perfect glow, you need the best self-tanner on the market.

Mystic Tan can ease fears at every turn.

In fact, Mystic Tan is the #1 selling customizable tan in the professional market for the last 15+ years. Over time, we’ve learned what it takes to get the perfect tan—and how to avoid the fails in typical tanning products. Say goodbye to orange, streaky, smelly tans, and hello to deep, long-lasting, natural color.

Mystic Tan offers a full line of self-tanning and bronzing products. Our core tanning products — the Mystic Tan Self-Tan Lotion with Bronzer and Mystic Tan Self-Tan Spray with Bronzer — have been carefully crafted to give you a beautiful, natural glow for every season, outfit or event.

With 50+ million tans and counting, we know what works, what doesn’t, and what delivers the perfect tan! Want your perfect tan? Look for these six qualities you should expect from the best self-tanner lotion or spray.


If you’ve self-tanned in the past, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded orange look. It can be enough to swear off self-tanning entirely. But not so fast—you just need a professional product. Mystic Tan has you covered—the right way.

Say goodbye to orange with these tips:

  • Prep your skin. Dry skin will absorb more DHA than needed (DHA is the active ingredient in sunless tanning products). Dry, imbalanced skin will take on a more orange hue. The Mystic Tan Booster balances the skin’s pH and hydrates the skin. What’s the payoff? You enjoy an even, streak-free tan that actively combats orange undertones.
  • Don’t over-apply. Too much DHA can tan build up and uneven fading causing the new tan to look uneven. Be sure to exfoliate and prepare the skin for the perfect tan.

Whether you use the spray or the lotion, we recommend using our Self-Tanning Applicator Mitt, so you get smooth, even color. If you apply by hand, wash your hands immediately after use.

Self-Tanner Color Options

Even without the orange look, a low-quality self-tanner can look unnatural. That’s why Mystic Tan offers a range of bronzer options to complement your natural skin tone.

  • Mocha-Kyssed: Warm brown undertones for a classic, bronze tan. Ideal for light to medium skin tones.
  • Island-Kyssed: Cool brown with violet undertones for a deep, exotic tan. Perfect for medium to dark skin tones.

Forget the one-size-fits-all self-tanner products. Choose from skin-tone sensitive colors and shades to create a natural-looking tan.

You don’t need to understand the science behind tanning to get a golden glow. You do need to look for the following ingredients:

  • Primary ingredient found in most sunless tanning product:
    • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): Reacts with the proteins in the skin’s superficial layer to form a golden-brown color.
  • Additional active ingredients found in Mystic Tan sunless tanning products:
    • Erythrulose: An active ingredient often used in sunless tanning products in combination with DHA. Erythrulose takes longer to take full effect, and therefore helps the tan last longer. Raspberry fruit closeup with leaf isolated on white
    • Dimethyl Isosorbide (DMI): A high purity solvent, and carrier, that maximizes the impact of active ingredients in personal care products. DMI enhances the effect of the sunless tan, giving you a better glow.

For an even deeper tan (and faster color!), use Booster to balance the skin’s pH levels and exfoliate well before tanning.


Avoid products that leave your tan spotty, blotchy or faded within a few days. With proper care and moisturizing, the best self-tanning products will leave you glowing for up to 7 days.

If you work out or swim routinely, color can fade sooner. To make your tan last, moisturize daily and consider pairing your self-tanner with a gradual tanner. Our Gradual Tan Lotion is a silky moisturizer that both hydrates skin and develops a tan over one week. When used daily, it progressively builds color and extends the life of your tan.


Mystic Tan sunless self tanners are formulated with breakthrough odor control technology. D-Odor 200™ is designed to virtually eliminate the odor commonly associated with sunless tanning products. Not all skin chemistry is the same, but 89% of our panelists surveyed noticed little to no odor when using Mystic Tan sunless products.

And no odor means no limits to when you tan. Apply at your convenience—day or night. You can walk out the door confident, with the color you want without the self-tanning odor.


Want to avoid that fake bake look? Streaks are a dead giveaway. Keep your tan looking natural with a product that’s forgiving and easy to apply. To maximize results:

  • Avoid shaving 12 hours before you tan. Shaving leaves pores more open, which can be more easily irritated by sunless tanning products.
  • Wax before, not after. Waxing afterward could remove the layers of skin that are tan.
  • Exfoliate and rub off excess, dead skin cells. Smooth, healthy skin will take color more evenly, last longer, and fade more gradually.
  • Avoid lotion immediately before you tan. Lotion can prevent the development of the tan and create uneven results. Instead, try our Booster, which will moisturize and balance your skin’s pH for a deeper, more even tan that develops faster.
  • Take care with application. Apply the product in a smooth, even motion, and make sure you cover all areas. Better yet, use an applicator mitt for even coverage and stain-free palms.
  • Stay dry. Don’t get wet for 4-6 hours to allow the tan time to develop. This includes showering and working out.

If you use a product containing bronzer, it will wash off when you shower, leaving behind the extended tan underneath. Your gorgeous glow will take up to 24 hours to reach peak color, and last for 5-7 days with one application.

Treat Yourself to the Best Self-Tanner Products

Most of all, the best-self tanners are those that are kind to your skin. Healthy, hydrated skin will help you achieve the results you have in mind.

High-quality sunless tanners combine nourishing ingredients without harsh or irritating chemicals, so you can enjoy skin that looks and feels amazing.

Mystic Tan products are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores)

The bottom line? The best self-tanners blend the science of sunless tanning with quality skincare.

The method of application depends on your preference:

Spray is ideal for people who want a quick, easy and even full-body tan. However, we recommend applying in the bathroom or shower, where surfaces can be easily wiped down after any over-spray.

Lotion works well for tanners who want freedom over when and where they tan. Apply anytime and anywhere, with no overspray and no odor. Choose a gradual tan lotion without bronzer for even more control over the depth of your tan.

Either way, consider using an applicator mitt for the most even, streak-free application. And with Mystic Tan products, you’ll have the promise of the best tan of your life.