Best Drugstore Self-Tanner Reviews – Keep That Glow All Winter Long

In this article we’ll explore the best drugstore self-tanner options out there to keep your summer glow going all winter long – for a reasonable price!

As I’m typing up this article, I’m also checking my calendar – winter is just shy of two months away! For some pale-skinned ladies like me, this isn’t too big of an issue. I prefer to rock the Casper look for a while, but I know that’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. At the same time, keeping your sun-kissed glow can be pretty pricey – the cost really adds up. In fact, I decided to look up some numbers to see just how expensive certain tanning methods are. Here’s what I found:

  • Unlimited use of a stand-up tanning bed cost around $80 per month, but that price can go up to $300 per month depending on the salon. Yikes.
  • One month of unlimited use for a regular tanning bed varies greatly. Some popular chains charge about $30 per month, while others may charge $60 per month. That cost builds up pretty fast.
  • One session of airbrush tanning can cost between $25 and $50. While these tans can last for a few weeks, getting the process done regularly is not exactly thrifty.
  • Non-drugstore self-tanning lotions, foams, and sprays cost between $30 and $40 per bottle. For an eight-ounce bottle of product, you’re going to have to invest quite a bit of money to keep a tan all winter long.

I can see why non-drugstore self-tanners seem so alluring; the name brand and pristine packaging really pull you in. But if you take a look at the ingredients, these products and drugstore self-tanner are often identical. Why pay $30 to $40 per bottle when you can pay $5 to $15 per bottle for the same results? Per usual, I jumped into research mode to find the best drugstore self-tanner for our readers. Check out the list below to see what I’ve found!

Best Drugstore Self-Tanner Reviews!

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

best drugstore self-tanner

This is my personal favorite drugstore self-tanner. I was familiar with the Jergens brand – their Original Cherry Almond Lotion is super inexpensive and very nourishing. A friend of mine recommended this self-tanner to me; she swore by it and had a very nice, natural looking tan. I figured I’d give it a shot; it’s inexpensive and the brand is reputable. My favorite thing about this self-tanner is that it allows you to slowly and gradually build your tan. That means there’s virtually no risk of getting a crazy orange glow or a super-streaky look. In my personal experience, it took just about a week to get noticeable results. Though I no longer sport a tan, I used this gem for a few years. I’d definitely recommend to anyone who wants to start tanning at home using a low-risk, no-fuss solution.

NIVEA Sun-Kissed Radiance Gradual Tanner & Body Lotion

best drugstore self tanners

This NIVEA self-tanner is similar to Jergens Natural Glow in many ways. It’s produced by a skincare company that’s well-known for offering affordable yet high-quality products. It’s also designed to let you gradually build a tan, so you’ve got a lot of control over the outcome. The pricing is similar, too. I noted that this contains grapeseed oil, which is a very rich moisturizing agent. Who doesn’t love a good moisturizer during the bitter winter months? It’s also designed to produce results in five days- that’s pretty impressive for a gradual self-tanner! Reviewers call this product everything from “perfect!” to “amazing!”, and dozens of users note how good it smells. That’s a huge bonus for any skincare product. This is another excellent option if you want a secure way to built a beautiful glow without spending a fortune.

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist

best cheap self tanner

Do you enjoy the fine misting and accuracy that an airbrush tan offers? If so, this L’Oreal best drugstore self-tanner might be the best pick for you. This unique option features a wide angled jet applicator that applies a fine, even spray of color. The mist is super light and the can offers 360-degree coverage, so you can tan your entire body with ease. It dries quickly, so you don’t have to deal with any sort of mess. Many users mention that this product has a light citrus smell that’s a refreshing change from some funky-scented tanning lotions. If you want that salon airbrushing experience without the dreaded price tag, you should definitely check this option out.

Banana Boat Self-Tanning Lotion

best drugstore self tanning lotion

This tanning lotion by Banana Boat is another budget-friendly product that allows you to build a beautiful tan gradually. The formula is enriched with nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and Vitamin E; this leaves your skin feeling soft and nourished. It’s also a quick-drying formula, so there’s no need to worry about messy transfer onto clothes and towels. The product is oil-free and designed to help build a rich tan; it’s available in ‘Light/Medium’ and ‘Deep Dark’. This best drugstore self-tanner ranks highly in Amazon’s ‘Beauty’ category, and it has fantastic feedback from users. If you want a reputable self-tanning lotion that’s easy to use, this Banana Boat gem is worth a look.

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Body Towelettes

best self tanning towelettes

I’m going to be 100% honest with you; my initial reaction to self-tanning towelettes was skeptical at best. I couldn’t help but think ‘there’s no way they work’! But this L’Oreal product 100% proved me wrong. On Amazon and throughout skincare forums, it has mind-blowing positive feedback. Each towelette lets you apply a precise and even amount of self-tanner. This particular self tanning agent has ingredients like an alpha-hydroxy acid derivative and Vitamin E. These are two powerful but gentle ingredients that pamper and renew skin, so this product may be ideal for creating a radiant and healthy looking tan. According to the product information, using a towelette will produce a tan that’s two shades darker than your natural skin tone. So if you want a super convenient and mess-free way to get a summer glow while also pampering your skin, this product is definitely up your alley.

Amir Touch of Tan Moisturizer with Argan

best drugstore self tanning moisturizer

Products that contain Argan oil immediately capture my attention; this incredible oil is a plant-derived oil that’s an incredibly good natural moisturizer for skin and hair. During the winter, it’s not uncommon for us to battle dry skin – why not combine your moisturizing routine with your tanning routine? This best drugstore self-tanner provides ‘a touch of sunless bronzer’ and a ‘natural sun-kissed glow’ through regular use. This option is (at times) a bit pricier than the others here, but the outstanding user feedback speaks for itself – see for yourself! It’s perfect if you don’t want an extreme tan but you still want that sunny radiance you sport during the summer months.

Neutrogena Micro-Mist Sunless Tanning Spray

best cheap drugstore self tanning spray

There’s something about spray tanning that’s really appealing to me; it’s such a simple and mess-free way to get the glow you crave. This drugstore self-tanner by the super-reputable Neutrogena stands out for quite a few reasons. First, the can allows you to spray a micro-mist at literally any angle – those hard-to-reach places can be tanned with ease! No rubbing is required, so you don’t have to worry about orange or streaky palms. It’s also designed not to clog pores, so you can use it and not worry about causing blemishes. This is yet another great choice if you want a great spray tan look without a hefty price tag.

Suave Visible Glow Self Tanning Lotion

best drugstore self tanner cream

Suave is well-known for being one of the best drugstore brands; they offer good quality combined with super low prices. I was excited to see that they have a drugstore self-tanner that is incredibly budget friendly. I was even more pleased to see that Visible Glow Self Tanning Lotion has incredible feedback. Like some of the other options, it allows you to build a gradual, even tan with regular use. You can choose from ‘Light To Medium’ or ‘Medium To Dark’ to get the color that suits you the most. Many users rave about how this product produces streak-free results that look truly natural and even. A lot of users also mention that it has a very mild scent that isn’t bothersome at all. For such a stunning price, this is likely the best deal if you want to save cash while still getting a beautiful tan.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg Tan Glow

best drugstore self tanner for legs

This is the first drugstore self-tanner I ever remember seeing or hearing about. It’s neatly tucked into the displays with all the other super affordable, high-quality Sally Hansen products. I’m a huge sucker for their Xtreme Wear Nail Polish…but what makes this self-tanner so special? Well, it’s not quite like regular drugstore self-tanners – it’s considered “leg makeup”.This spray is designed to give your skin a smooth, airbrushed look and diminishes the appearance of freckles, veins, and other skin imperfections. It can be used alone on your natural skin or in combination with your favorite drugstore self-tanner. If you’re plagued by spider veins or other stubborn skin blemishes, this spray may be right up your alley. It’s also available in Light Glow for fair skin tones.

Hawaiian Tropic Self-Tanning Island Radiance Moisturizing Sunless Tanning Lotion

best dark drugstore self tanning lotion

When I hear the brand name “Hawaiian Tropic” I think of their popular dry tanning oil. It smells absolutely heavenly and it’s great for getting a summer tan without getting a nasty burn. After doing some reading, I’m equally impressed with their Sunless Tanning Lotion. It features a very light fragrance that’s pleasant, and the cocoa butter further adds to that delightful smell. The lotion also contains mango and cocoa butter, so it’s very nourishing while giving you your desired color. Reviewers consistently rave about this best drugstore self-tanner, calling it the best they’ve ever used and that it produces great results. If you want to pamper your skin and get a gorgeous glow, check this gem of a product out.

Bonus! Products To Pair With Drugstore Self-Tanners

For some people, there’s a bit of a learning curve when using self-tanner. That’s totally normal, but it may lead to a few inconvenient side effects – streakiness, orange hands, and so on. The good news is that you can totally prevent these things from happening! I’ve compiled a short but sweet list of bonus products to pair with the drugstore self-tanner you choose:

  • Thermalabs Ultimitt Set: The Ultimate Self Tanning Applicator Mitt – This highly rated mitt set allows you to apply self-tanner while fully protecting your hands. It comes with one body mitt and two hand mitts, so you can evenly apply your preferred product. It also comes with a one-year guarantee, so you can definitely get your money’s worth from it!
  • Unreal Tan Eraser Gel Self Tan Remover with Coconut Oil – Mistakes happen! Or maybe you simply don’t want to sport a tan anymore. Whatever the case may be, having a self-tanner remover on hand is a great idea. This thick product is enriched with coconut oil, and it doesn’t require you to scrub furiously at your skin. The ingredients are totally natural, and it has stellar feedback. It’s a solid investment for anyone who uses at-home tanning products!

Best Drugstore Self-Tanner Conclusion: Stay Radiantly Tan Without Overspending

After reading the list above, it’s easy to see that you can save a lot of money using the best drugstore self-tanner products. Whether you want a fine mist spray or a luxurious lotion, this product list has you covered! So do some exploring, pick a self-tanner that’s right for you, and enjoy a summer glow during the frosty winter months.

Please let me know what you think of this drugstore self-tanner list. Have you tried out these products? Do you think we should add or remove anything from this ‘best of’ list? Or perhaps you’ve even got a great application technique to share. We’d love to hear your feedback no matter what!

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Amy Baum
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Amy Baum

Thanks for reading! My name is Amy. I'm a 20-something mother, avid coffee drinker, freelance writer, and makeup junkie. I'm also a sucker for sales, discounts, and saving money. And that's exactly why I'm sharing my cosmetic and beauty adventure on BaumBeauty!

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Amy Baum
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