The Absolute Best Drugstore Self Tanners to Buy Now — $20 and Under

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The easiest way to get a tan safely is by opting for a sunless tanner. Spending tons of time outdoors without the proper SPF protection isn’t worth it, people! There are three different ways to go about getting a perfect, bronzy glow: You can get it professionally done at a salon, go to a beauty store and pick up some professional-grade at-home products — or save big bucks by simply heading to your local drugstore!

Both high-end and drugstore self tanners will commonly use the same active ingredient, which is DHA. The full name for this coloring agent that leaves your skin looking tan is dihydroxyacetone, which may sound intimidating at first. But it’s important to note that while this is a chemical that technically combines with the amino acids in your skin, The Skin Cancer Foundation still qualifies this method as far safer than achieving any type of tan from a UV source.

Are Drugstore Self Tanners Less Effective Than High-End Products?

Absolutely not! There is no one product that’s definitively better or worse than the other. The great thing about drugstore products is that you don’t have to spend as much money in the trial-and-error process to discover your ideal self tanner pick. There are plenty of things to consider while shopping. For example, do you want a gradual tanner that’s easier to control or a fast-acting mousse that delivers color in eight hours or less? As with all products, the best way to start is by doing a patch test on your arm. You’ll see what the color will look like and how your skin will react before committing to a full body application. To get a better sense of what you want to try and what you’re looking for, snag some help from our drugstore roundup that we’ve put together below!

11 Drugstore Self Tanners for Shopping on a Budget

Jergens Natural Glow Face and Body Set

Jergens Natural Glow Face and Body Set
Jergens Natural Glow Face and Body Set Amazon

This set is such an incredible value. You receive both the bestselling gradual body moisturizer and the face moisturizer so that every inch of your skin is bronzed and glowing! The body lotion is particularly fantastic because it’s also designed to help with skin firmness, which may improve the look of your cellulite!

Pros

  • Face and body duo
  • Super affordable
  • Top Amazon seller

Cons

  • Some shoppers don’t love the scent
See it!

Available at: Amazon

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse

L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse Amazon

If you’re looking for a tan that develops faster than a gradual lotion, this one comes highly recommended by shoppers. It’s a colorless mousse which is fantastic, because once it dries, you can go to sleep without worrying about the product staining your PJs or sheets! In the morning, you’ll wake up with glowing tan skin.

Pros

  • Colorless mousse
  • Longer lasting tan
  • Enriched with nourishing ingredients

Cons

  • Color was too subtle for some shoppers
See it!

Available at: Amazon

Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer

Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer
Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer Target

What we love about this gradual tanning lotion is that you apply it onto wet skin — right after you get out of the shower! It might be a strong solution for someone who finds they get streakier results from a regular moisturizer. Because your skin is already partially saturated with water, you don’t have to worry as much about a perfect application! Our tip with this specific product would be to let your skin air dry without towel patting to ensure your tan is even.

Pros

  • Easy application
  • Intense hydration

Cons

  • Some shoppers prefer dry skin formulas
See it!

Available at: Target

SOL by Jergens Deep Water Mousse

SOL by Jergens Deep Water Mousse
SOL by Jergens Deep Water Mousse Amazon

The new line from Jergens is dedicated to at-home self tanning, and shoppers are totally in love with this water mousse! It’s another clear formula which prevents fabric stain and transfer, plus you don’t have to wash this product off at all and leave it developing for up to 24 hours!

Pros

  • No wash-off formula
  • Colorless mousse
  • Huge potential color payoff

Cons

  • More frequent application may be necessary to maintain color
See it!

Available at: Amazon

Banana Boat Light/Medium Sunless Tanning – Twin Pack

Banana Boat Light:Medium Sunless Tanning - Twin Pack
Banana Boat Light/Medium Sunless Tanning – Twin Pack Target

This gradual tanning lotion actually adjusts to the color of your skin tone so that you get the right bronzy shade, control your tan and receive the deepest level of tan that your skin tone allows. The more frequently you apply this product, the tanner your skin will become!

Pros

  • Suitable for must skin tones
  • Super mild scent

Cons

  • Few customer reviews
See it!

Available at: Target

Neutrogena BuildAGlow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizing Spray

Neutrogena BuildAGlow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizing Spray
Neutrogena BuildAGlow Gradual Self-Tanning Moisturizing Spray Target

Unlike other gradual self tanners, this one mists on to get you that salon spray tan feeling! This packaging also helps you receive a more even coat and allows you to reach spots you may not be able to with your hands.

Pros

  • Spray tan-like mist application
  • Buildable color
  • Clean formula

Cons

  • Few customer reviews
See it!

Available at: Target

b.tan Ultra Dark Self Tanner

b.tan Ultra Dark Self Tanner
b.tan Ultra Dark Self Tanner Amazon

In a hurry? This self tanning mouse may take just one hour to develop and reportedly leaves you with a stunning glow! You can leave it on for longer if you’re after a deeper, longer-lasting tan — but in a pinch, this stuff can seriously come to the rescue.

Pros

  • Super fast developing time
  • Bestselling formula
  • Zero scent

Cons

  • Some shoppers need to leave it on for longer to see results
See it!

Available at: Amazon

Hawaiian Tropic Sunless Mousse

Hawaiian Tropic Sunless Mousse
Hawaiian Tropic Sunless Mousse Target

This brand is known for their sun products’ intoxicating tropical scents, so we’re beyond happy that they created a self tanner with that vibe! You’ll actually feel transported to an island state of mind with this specific self tanner and leave with a soft sun-kissed glow.

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Tropical scent

Cons

  • Color was too light for some reviewers
See it!

Available at: Target

Sol By Jergens Deeper By The Drop Face and Body Serum

Sol By Jergens Deeper By The Drop Face and Body Serum
Sol By Jergens Deeper By The Drop Face and Body Serum Target

This self tanner is the most expensive out of the bunch, but we can justify the price because this product does double duty! It’s a serum that you can apply inside moisturizers you already own for the face and body, plus control how deep your tan is with the number of drops that you use.

Pros

  • Customizable tan
  • Designed for all skin tones

Cons

  • Figuring out how many drops to use takes practice
See it!

Available at: Target

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam
Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam Amazon

This tanning mousse has been popular for many, many years in Australia, and it’s made a big enough splash in the US to land in drugstores! It’s remained as in-demand as it is for a reason — the color payoff is incredible, it lasts long and fades beautifully over time.

Pros

  • Beautiful deep color
  • Long lasting

Cons

  • May transfer or stain clothes after application
See it!

Available at: Amazon

Tanologist Self Tan Mousse

Tanologist Self Tan Mousse
Tanologist Self Tan Mousse Target

This tanning mousse is another solid quick-acting product that you can use to get a glow with short notice. For a deeper color, it’s best to leave it on overnight — but in two hours, you’ll be able to have a touch of sun-kissed color on your skin! We also love that it’s transparent so that if you are developing it during the day, you don’t have to worry about staining.

Pros

  • Clear formula
  • Nourishing ingredients
  • Quick developing time

Cons

  • Slow drying
See it!

Available at: Target

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Check out these related product articles below:

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