If you have a fairer complexion, you know how difficult it is to find a good tan. You want a tanning lotion that is natural-looking while still giving you a sun-kissed glow. Some tanning products can come across too artificial and make it obvious that you’re wearing fake tan, especially if you have fairer skin.
Not every tanning lotion comes with a lighter option, so finding one that works for your skin type can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. When you have fair skin, you want a buildable colour that creates a gradual tan. We’re rounding up ten of the best tanning lotions for fair skin and a buying guide to tell you what to keep an eye out for when shopping around.
Top 10 Best Tanning Lotion for Fair Skin
1.Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived Fair to Medium
Dove’s DermaSpa is a top contender for the title of best tanning lotion for fair skin. This budget-friendly option is from one of the best-selling gradual tan brands and gives you a natural and streak-free colour. The Dove tanning lotion is deeply moisturising to keep your skin hydrated and give you a smooth tan.
You can build the colour up by reapplying the tanning lotion until you get the shade you desire, making it ideal for fair skin. As a moisturising tanning lotion, it’s suitable for sensitive skin with cell moisturisers that nourish your skin. You can use this lotion every day for a constant tan all year round.
2.Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam
The Coco & Eve bronzing foam gives you a golden glow without any orange undertones. It’s packed full of nourishing skincare ingredients to hydrate your skin for a radiant look. The formula includes amino acids and botanicals to blur pigmentation in your skin and diminish the appearance of stretch marks. The Honey Bali tanning lotion is the first 100% natural DHA self-tan body treatment with anti-cellulite and anti-ageing benefits.
This tanning lotion has a foam consistency and gives you a natural golden glow within two hours. It has a non-stick formula and is fast drying, so you don’t have to worry about getting tan streaks on your bedsheets. The Coco & Eve tan has a tropical mango and guava fragrance, making it feel like summer all year long. The ‘medium’ shade is ideal for anyone with fair skin, and you can expect to get between 10-20 full tanning sessions from each bottle. Best of all – this tanning lotion is all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free!
3.Nivea Q10 Firming + Radiance Gradual Tan
Another budget-friendly contender for the best tanning lotion for fair skin is from Nivea. This gradual tan is designed for regular use to give you a sun-kissed glow all year round. The lotion contains coenzyme Q10, which helps to firm and tighten your skin to prevent premature ageing. It has a feminine floral scent with notes of rose and jasmine.
As a moisturising tanning lotion, you can get 48 hours of hydration and a natural-looking summer glow. This 2-in-1 moisturiser can be used every day as part of your regular routine to create a consistent tan. It’s ideal for fair skin as it offers a buildable colour.
4.Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk
This vegan and cruelty-free tanning lotion is infused with vitamin E and aloe vera to nourish and hydrate your skin while creating a natural tan. You can use this tanning milk as a daily moisturiser or to extend the life of your tan. Depending on the colour you want, it can take up to three applications to develop.
The Bondi Sands tanning milk has a pleasant cocoa butter scent that layers with your everyday perfume. As a dual-action product, this tanning lotion gives you 24 hours of moisture and a gradual tan that is streak-free and buildable.
5.St. Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted
St. Tropez is one of the most popular self-tanning brands with a clean vegan-friendly formula. Like the other products on this list, you can use it as an everyday tinted body moisturiser to build your tan. It develops within 4-6 hours with buildable coverage that is ideal for fair skin. The formula is scent-free and quick-drying, meaning you can go about your day as normal.
This tanning lotion gives you a bronze tint and is ideal for anyone using a tanning product for the first time. It’s easy to apply and suitable for all skin tones, including fair skin. The Gradual Tan Tinted blurs imperfections and can be reapplied either daily or as desired to maintain your sun-kissed glow.
6.Sienna X Sleep Self Tan Tinted Lotion
This tanning lotion by Sienna develops in just eight hours to create a natural-looking tan and is suitable to be used on your face and body. The Sleep Self Tan Tinted Lotion is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. The streak-free formula gives you an even application with hydrating ingredients that nourish your skin and leave a coconut fragrance on your skin.
Sienna’s tanning lotion has a silky consistency and is infused with calendula and green tea with lemon peel extract to stimulate your blood circulation and diminish the appearance of cellulite. This tanning lotion makes it look like you’ve spent two weeks in the South of France. You can expect to get 5-7 days wear out of each application, with one bottle giving you 10 full body applications.
7.Bondi Sands Light/Medium Self-Tanning Lotion
A possible winner for the title of the best tanning lotion for fair skin is by Bondi Sands. This lightweight formula is infused with coconut for a fresh scent that makes you feel like you’ve been on Bondi Beach. Like the other Bondi Sands products, it’s infused with aloe vera to help improve the lifespan of your tan and keep your skin soft and smooth. It’s a great tanning lotion for beginners with fair skin.
With its fast-drying formula, you can leave this tanning lotion on your skin to develop for 1-8 hours, depending on your desired colour. For a deeper colour, you can reapply the tanning lotion 20 minutes after the first application. The formula has dual tanning actives with a green base to create a natural tan without orange undertones. It's suitable for all ages, including teenagers who are experimenting with fake tan for the first time. You get a salon-quality tan with a budget-friendly price tag.
8.Rimmel Sunshimmer Gradual Tan and Tanning Lotion
Another cost-effective tanning lotion that you can choose from is by the drugstore makeup brand, Rimmel. This 4-in-1 gradual tan gives you a natural sun-kissed glow with a velvet formula that melts into your skin with buildable coverage. The formula contains argan oil, which nourishes your skin and offers up to 24 hours of hydration.
This tanning lotion smoothes and tones your skin to create a natural and even tan. You can use this tanning lotion every day to create a gradual colour which makes it ideal for fair skin. As a tinted formula, it’s easy to apply and you don’t have to worry about streaking.
9.Beauty By Earth Organic and Natural Self Tanner
For a ‘clean’ beauty option, you can try this tanning lotion from Beauty by Earth. It’s made in the USA with organic ingredients that create a non-toxic and dye-free formula that is suitable for all skin types. This tanning lotion offers you a gradual and buildable tan, so you’re in control of the final colour. It helps to cover up blemishes and imperfections without leaving any streaks or uneven blotches on your skin. You can use this tanning lotion on your face and body.
This tanning lotion is formulated with natural and organic ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and Japanese green tea leaf extract that nourish your skin and leave it soft to the touch. The formula is suitable for sensitive skin and is easy to apply with a tanning mitt for an even glow. It creates a golden glow without any orange undertones. The colour develops within 4-6 hours, and you can reapply it the next day for a darker colour. Depending on the depth of your tan, you can reapply the lotion every 4-7 days to maintain your colour. As an organic tanning lotion, it’s free of parabens, chemical preservatives, and GMOs.
10.St. Moriz Professional Gradual Golden Glow Tanning Moisturiser
For a beginner and budget-friendly tanning lotion, you can check out the St. Moriz Golden Glow moisturiser. This product acts as a tinted everyday moisturiser to give you a natural golden sun-kissed look. The formula is infused with aloe vera, olive milk, and vitamin E to soften your skin and give you an even glow.
This tanning lotion is quick-drying and dermatologically tested, making it safe for sensitive skin. The Gradual Golden Glow tan develops within 4-6 hours, depending on your desired colour. This product helps create a subtle colour that is buildable with everyday use of this tanning lotion.
Buying Guide for Tanning Lotions for Fair Skin
Shopping around for a tanning lotion isn’t like buying a lipstick. You can’t be sure what colour you’ll get, so it requires a little more research before clicking ‘add to cart’. If you have fair skin, you want to avoid darker tanning products and opt for gradual tanning lotions or tinted moisturiser to give you a buildable colour. You’re better starting with a paler tanning lotion that you can layer to create a more bronzed finish overtime.
You’ll want to decide whether you want to create a consistent tan or one you can use for special occasions. Most of the tanning lotions you’ll find for fair skin are designed for regular application, either every day or twice a week, to help you maintain and develop the colour.
There are a few things you want to consider when shopping for the best tanning lotion for fair skin:
Your skin absorbs everything you put on it – including your tanning lotion. You want to find a formula that includes nourishing ingredients that will hydrate your skin and help create an even tan. Keep an eye out for active ingredients like vitamin E and aloe vera.
When you’re looking at different tanning lotions, each will have a base colour for you to compare. If you have fair skin, you might likely have some redness or pigmentation that is prominent on your skin. If you have redness or pink undertones, you want to find a green-based tanning lotion that can counteract the redness in your skin.
One thing you want to consider is the development time for your day. Some can take as little as an hour, while others can take six or eight hours to fully develop. It’s something you want to keep in mind if you’re intending to use your tanning lotion occasionally for nights out or special events. You also want to look out for tanning lotions that are quick drying, as no one wants to get their fake tan all over their clothes or bed sheets.
Don’t forget your prep products!
To get the most of your tanning lotion, you’ll need to use a few extra products. You shouldn’t be applying a gradual tan to dry skin. For the best results, you need to use an exfoliating body scrub to remove dead skin cells first to create an even surface for the tanning lotion. Before you apply your gradual tan, you need to use a body lotion to hydrate your skin and stop the tan from sticking to drier areas like your elbows. You’ll also want to apply your tanning lotion with a mitt to create an even colour.
We hope these suggestions and buying guide help you find the best tanning lotion for fair skin. Everyone is different and will have their own preference for an ideal tan. Most of the tanning lotions you’ll find for fair skin focus on creating a natural sun-kissed glow that is buildable and easy to maintain. Let us know what tanning lotion you click the ‘add to cart’ button for!