Best Self Tanner for Pale Skin & A Sun-Kissed Glow



by Lydia


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A self-tanner is your go-to when you want a sun-kissed, natural glow during summer when you're going on a tropical vacation or simply want to give your pale skin a slight glow-up during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, while most people will jump straight into a tanning bed, doing so causes dark spots and premature aging.

Self-tanners have evolved over time thanks to advancements in technology. Whether you prefer tanning drops, mousse or a spraying mist, using the best self-tanner for pale skin will give you a natural-looking tan. In addition, you get to skip the sunburns and the streak lines that expose your fake tan.

Finding a self-tanner for pale skin is challenging. Unfortunately, some self-tanners on the market have poor formulations that leave orange hues on your skin. However, we have curated a list of the best self-tanners, along with a buying guide to give you a natural-looking glow.

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 What fake tan is best for pale skin?


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What Is A Self-Tanner?

A self-tanner, also known as a sunless tanning product, is applied to your skin to give you a temporary darkened color or glow. Self-tanners do not expose you to UV rays, making them an excellent alternative to tanning beds. In addition, you can apply the self-tanner and go about your day to get that sun-kissed glow.

Self-tanners contain an active ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which adds color to the product. DHA makes the primary difference between self-tanners that can be used for pale skin and fair skin. To get the best fake tan, ensure that you know your skin tone before buying a self-tanner.

Now let's get into the best self-tanners on the market.

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If you are looking for a natural-looking tan for pale skin, Beauty by Earth is an excellent start. The sunless tanning lotion contains aloe vera, which moisturizes your skin for a professional-looking tan. In addition, this self-tan contains shea butter which nourishes your skin and soothes it, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The Beauty by Earth self-tanner gives you a natural glow since it is made from natural ingredients. For this reason, people with fairer skin tones and medium skin tones can also use this product for effective results. In addition, this self-tanning lotion contains Japanese green tea and coconut oil which pack benefits to your skin.

A good tanning lotion has a customizable gradual formula. Fortunately, Beauty by Earth's tanning lotion allows you to get a gradual tan and build upon it as needed. In turn, you will not have blotches, orange-looking skin, dark spots or nasty streaks.


  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Contains moisturizing and nourishing ingredients
  • Works well for pale and fair skin
  • Allows you to build the tan gradually
  • Fragrance-free
  • Does not contain artificial colorants


  • Has a faint tanner smell
  • The lotion consistency is quite thick

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Many people today are gravitating towards organic and clean products and do not want to compromise when it comes to self-tanners. St.Tropez is a clean and vegan brand that uses natural tanning ingredients to give you a golden glow.

The St.Tropez Advanced bronzing self-tanning mousse contains ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin, which add moisture and hydration to your skin. Their formula allows for three tanning depths, depending on your preference. For example, if you want a light tan, it is recommended to wait one hour after application before showering.

For a medium golden bronze tan or a deep dark tan, wait for 2 and 3 hours before sweating or showering. In addition, the St.Tropez tanning formula dries fast and does not transfer onto your clothes or bedding. It is also blended with the brand's mood-boosting fragrance to ensure that you look good and feel even better.


  • Made from natural ingredients
  • Fast-acting formula
  • 3-in-1 self-tanning mousse
  • Vegan
  • Provides a fool-proof tan


  • A customer complained that the tan faded out unevenly

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The Coco & Eve self-tanner mousse uses feel-good ingredients that give you a sun-kissed golden glow while taking care of your skin. The list of ingredients includes 100% natural DHA that doesn't leave your body with blotches or orange tones.

This sunless tanning mousse boasts of other rich ingredients like fig, cocoa, virgin coconuts, banana, and amino acids. These ingredients help to give an instant glow, hydrate your skin, and take care of pesky cellulite.

This Coco & Eve antiaging and revitalizing sunless tanner comes in three shades to let you choose your preferred tan level. For a subtle glow, you can rinse it off after a few hours. However, it is recommended to leave the tan overnight for a deep dark tan. In addition, unlike regular tanners with irritating scents, this sunless tanner has a guava and tropical Balinese mango scent that will leave you yearning for more.


  • Packed with skin-benefiting ingredients
  • Hides stretch marks and cellulite
  • Available in three tanning shades
  • Contains an antiaging formula
  • Made of all-natural ingredients
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Has a sweet tropical scent
  • Easy application


  • Has a chemical smell that comes on hours after showering

The St.Tropez is a cult favorite among other best self-tanners on our list. This clear mousse is easy to apply, dries fast and you do not need to shower after application. In addition, its clear formula allows you to tan and go about your day, unlike other pigmented tanners.

Packed with organic tanning actives, this self-tan purity bronzing water face mist is super hydrating and non-comedogenic. This means that it is safe to use for all skin types, whether you have dry or sensitive acne-prone skin.

In terms of tan application, this tanning mist allows you to build up to your preferred depth gradually. After the first application, you will need to wait for about 8 hours for the tan color to develop, then reapply while moisturizing in between to get your perfect glow. In addition, you can apply it at night since the clear formula will not transfer to your bedding.


  • Hydrates your skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Has zero transfer
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Easy to apply formula
  • Perfect for a streak-free tan


  • Tans the hair around your face if you are not careful
  • It is expensive for its size

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Tan-luxe has a lightweight formulation that is perfect for beginners. Furthermore, the gradual illuminating tan lotion is buildable to give you a gradual tan. So, if you want a slight tan or a deep tan, you can achieve it with a few applications. In addition, you are guaranteed no chemical smells, blotches or streak lines.

This Gradual self-tanner hydrates your skin and reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. The oil to lotion consistency makes it easy to apply for an even tan. Additionally, you can use this product if you have a pale skin tone or are looking for a totally natural tanner for fair skin.

The Gradual illuminating tan lotion by Tan-Luxe can be applied daily if need be. All you need to do is apply it just as you would a regular moisturizer, then give it 2-4 hours for a gradual, even tan.


  • Gradual tan formula
  • Super lightweight
  • Easy application
  • Moisturizes your body
  • Suitable for daily use
  • Made from non-toxic ingredients
  • Cruelty-free


  • Does not have antiaging benefits
  • You cannot use it for overnight treatment

What Should You Examine When Choosing the Best Self Tanner?

1. Hydrating Formula

Exfoliating is an essential step before applying your self-tanner. This helps to shed dead skin and reveal new skin underneath. The best self-tanner for pale skin should therefore be hydrating to add moisture to your skin. In addition, hydrating formula will give you a long-lasting healthy glow while leaving your skin feeling soft and supple.

2. 2-in-1 Face Formula

Self-tanners with 2-in-1 formulations are great for the skin and double up as skincare. These self-tanners could be in the form of lotion, serums or tanning drops. In addition, they are perfect for slowly building up a natural-looking color and avoiding a dark or orange-tan color.

2-in-1 face formulas for pale skin will include ingredients like antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. Not only will you get a radiant glow but also a healthy glow thanks to the skin-benefiting ingredients.

3. Customizable Formula

A customizable self-tanning formula allows you to determine your specific tan level. For some, this could be a dark glowy tan, while a light tan will suffice for others. For example, gradual tan self-tanners and tanning drops let you start with a small amount then build up gradually if need be.

The main advantage of a customizable self-tanning formula is that you get to avoid having a tan that is too dark, or worse, orange. For this reason, it is always advisable to start light then slowly build up.

How Do You Prepare for Self Tanning Pale Skin?

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliating all over your body helps to get rid of the dead skin cells. Otherwise, applying a self-tanning mousse or lotion before exfoliating could result in uneven patches on your natural glow as the dead skin sheds off.

2. Avoid Shaving or Waxing

It is advisable not to shave or wax on the day of self-tanning. This is because the self-tan could penetrate your skin and cause irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. In addition, after waxing, it's always best to let your skin calm before going in with a self-tanner.

3. Take A Shower

The best time for self-tanning is right after you're out of the shower. This is because your skin is hydrated; hence the tan color will absorb better and last longer. Dirt and sweat from a workout sit on your skin and affects the absorption of your tan. In addition, wait for your wet skin to dry before application.

4. Avoid Using Lotion or Oil

Although you want your skin to be hydrated, using oil and lotion before self-tanning could interfere with tan development. The same case applies to deodorant, perfume and makeup. You want to make sure that your skin has no products on it. However, only apply a thin layer of lotion on your wrists, ankles, elbows and nostrils to prevent them from turning orange.

5. Pause on Hydroxy Acids and Retinoids

Hydroxy acids and retinoids increase your skin's cellular turnover. This means that after you have exfoliated, new skin cells are revealed quickly, hence causing your flawless tan to fade fast.

6. Prime Your Skin

Priming your skin using a PH balancing spray helps your skin to absorb the self-tanner better. Your skin's PH balance ranges from 4.7 to 5.57. The PH balance spray brings it to 4.5, which matches your self-tanner hence absorbing quickly.

How to Use the Best Self-Tanner for Pale Skin

Having followed the self-tanning preparations above, it is now time to get that golden glow. This step-by-step guide is beginner-friendly and easy to follow through.

  1. Start with your face - It is easy to apply tan on your face using your bare hands. Once you are done applying the self-tan to all parts of your face(eyelids, ear tips, under eyes, neck, and the back of your ear), wash your hands to prevent them from staining.
  2. Go to your legs and work your way up - Experts recommend starting with your lower leg then working your way up to the rest of the body. Once you are done with your lower leg, use what's left on the mitt to apply on your feet. Similarly, use the excess product to apply your wrists and fingers. Additionally, ensure that you apply the self-tan to all parts of your body, including the underarms.
  3. Spot Moisturize- Apply moisturizer to get a professional golden glow. The moisturizer helps to a flawless finish and also deal with any spots you might have missed.
  4. Use wipes to remove excess tan - Baby wipes or cleansing wipes come in handy to wipe away any excess tan. You are advised to use the wipes on your fingers to remove any tan on your cuticles.
  5. Wait for your tan to dry - Your self-tan needs some time to dry. This will carry depending on the brand that you're using. After drying, brush talc-free powder on your skin to prevent the tan from transferring to your clothes. In addition, wait at least 6-8 hours before showering or sweating.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which fake tan is best for pale skin?

The Beauty by Earth and St. Tropez self-tan bronzing face mist are among the best sunless tanners for pale skin. Other tanners on our list like the Tan-luxe gradual, Coco& Eve and the St. Tropez bronzing mousse hydrate pale skin and work well with other skin types.

2. Does fake tan work on pale skin?

Yes. The best self-tanners work perfectly for pale skin to provide a natural-looking golden glow. First, however, ensure to get a lightweight, hydrating and buildable tan.


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