Don't Pull A Lohan: Get the Best Self-Tanner for Your Skin Type

June 1, 2010 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | beauty

Don’t pull a Lindsay Lohan and use self-tanner that is all wrong for your skin type (ie. fair and freckled). If you want to pull off a sexy faux tan this summer, but haven’t found the right one yet, we’ve done the roadtesting for you.

Best for Fair Skin:

Whether you have extremely fair skin and freckles, or this is your first foray in to self-tanners, you’ll want to use a light one that takes 3-4 applications to produce the full color.

We love Clinique Self Sun Body Daily Moisturizer ($20) – the product can be used as daily lotion to build a healthy glow over time, rather than a dark, streaky, one-shot-deal.

Ditto for this Lavera Self Tanner Lotion ($26.49). The gradual tanner is non-streaky, as well as paraben-free and hypoallergenic. Perfect for sensitive skin.

Best for Medium Skin:

If you’ve dabbled with self-tanners in the past and have medium skin, go for a gel product that gives good color on the first shot, but can still be layered for a richer color as you get comfortable with the process.

We love Bobbi Brown’s Sunless Tanning Gel for Face & Body ($30). The gel is easy to apply and non-greasy, and the color looks good whether you wear 1 layer or 3.

If you’re worried about applying tanner evenly or having dyed hands, try a product like the Mystic Tan Sunless Tanning Lotion Face + Body ($38) that comes with a mitt or glove. We love how easy – and cheap – this at-home product is compared to the spa version.

Best for Dark Skin:

If this is not your first time at the rodeo, or you have naturally tan skin, go for a product with a more brown tone, rather than a yellow/orange one.

We love Bare Escentuals Faux Tan Self-Tanner ($22) – the product smells good, comes with an applicator brush (so no streaky hands), and is a really dark, mocha-color.

Another great, dark brown product is ModelCo.’s Tan Airbrush In A Can ($30). It smells great and creates an instant, bronzed look – but requires some tanning savvy for an even application.

Check out more beauty posts, including our guide to the best self-tanners. Then see all of our beauty roadtest products to find the right one for you.



Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...


This Super Affordable Mask Works Wonders On Dry Skin (And It Smells Yummy, Too!)

I moisturize my skin religiously, so it always surprises me ...


Hurry! We Found Batiste Dry Shampoos For Less Than $5 Each

When it comes to dry shampoo, everyone knows that ...