I have super fair skin. I can spend a really long time outside and only gain a few freckles for my trouble. Hours and hours of tanning in my teens never got me the tan I was after, so I stopped trying in my early 20s. I’ve tried sunless tanners over the years, but it was really only the last few years that I’ve found sunless tanners for pale skin that didn’t turn me a bit (or more than a bit) orange.
A few tips for choosing the correct color sunless tanner:
1. The color designation on the bottle does not refer to your skin color, instead if refers to the intensity of change you’ll see with that product.
2. Most pale skin seems to respond less to sunless tanners than darker skin tone. Using a light to medium sunless tanner can have a pretty dramatic result on friends, but on me I just smell like sunless tanner. I go for medium/dark shades instead. I avoid the ultra and extra dark formulations as those tend to turn orange on me.
Don’t forget to check out my post on easy steps to the best sunless tan!
My Favorite Sunless Tanners for Pale Skin
Note I am not generally a big fan of traditional sunless tanner lotions. They feel heavy on my skin and are harder to spread evenly. Instead I go for foams and oils and in shower formulations. I like to use express formulations that I can apply every now and then, with a few applications of a gradual sunless tanner in between to help keep up the tan.
1. Bondi Sands Liquid Gold: This dry oil dries in just a few minutes and doesn’t need to be washed off. Just apply right out of your shower, dry for a few minutes and you can go about your day.
2.Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse: They claim this lasts for 2-3 weeks, though I must exfoliate a bit too much for that length of tan! It does last longer than the others by a few days. More like 10 days and I feel like I need to reapply.
3.St Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse: An express foam, but you can customize the color depth by leaving it on up to three hours. I wash it off after roughly 2 hours.
4.St Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan: You can check out my St Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan review. I love that this is so easy to use, just a few minutes at the end of my shower. I buy the medium color now, but it is one of my favorite ways to keep my tan going in between reapplication of my main sunless tanner.
5.Kate Somerville Somerville 360° Tanning Towelettes: I like these towelettes for travel, they’re easy to use to help increase my tan on areas like my legs. I need 2 towelettes to do my entire body.
6.St Tropez Gradual Tan Pre Shower Mousse: I’m kind of in love with this sunless tanner, expect a full review soon! This is a gradual tanning foam that gets applied before you get in the shower. You can wait up to 10-15 minutes before showering, though the bottle says just 1 minute. I apply and then hop in the shower a few minutes later (I just wait for the shower to warm up), and I wash it off in the shower. It takes a few days to see a result, but I definitely do see results!
7.Clarins Self Tanning Milky-Lotion for Face & Body: I don’t usually use sunless tanner on my face, but when I do it’s this one from Clarins.