The best self-tanners for fair skin tones

Everyone deserves the warm, natural glow of a tropical holiday; the kind that boosts your confidence in a crisp cotton dress tenfold. For the naturally fair (or anyone, for that matter) there’s no event, ‘casual’ Instagram post or outfit worth the risk of unprotected sun exposure. That’s where self-tan comes in.

While medium to deep skin tones have a little more leeway when it comes to successfully sporting a glowing self-tan, the wrong undertone, colour or formula can leave those with fairer skin looking streaky, spotty, green, orange or simply too far away from their natural hue. Subtly sunkissed is the end goal – and to make it as easy as possible to achieve, we’ve curated our best self-tanners for fair skin tones.


Best for beginners, a gradual tanning moisturiser gives you the most control over how intense your self-tan appears, allowing you to slowly build your bronze throughout the week. There’s no sticky, linen-staining marination involved, and your skin gets a dose of hydration all over. With vitamins A, B and E, coconut, rosehip and jojoba oils and caffeine, the Luna Bronze Glow Tanning Moisturiser is practically fail-proof.


For even more control over the depth of your tan – and the convenience of a face that matches your body – reach for self-tanning drops. One drop mixed into your favourite oil, moisturiser or serum will give you a super subtle, colour-correcting glow; perfect if your skin shows veins or redness easily. The best part? If you’re ready to step up your bronze, you don’t need a whole new product – just add a few extra drops. Our pick: Mecca Cosmetica’s Sunless Goddess Self-Tanning Drops, which were inspired by and developed with MECCA’s in-store teams to address practically every tanning FAQ under the sun.


If smooth, even skin is the goal (with the perk of added bronzing!), try the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body. Like the brand’s iconic peel pads, these tanning towelettes are saturated with firming and exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid and retinol to slough off dead skin cells and subsequently smooth away texture and dryness. There’s the addition of encapsulated DHA too, which provides time-released bronzing. It’s glow and the dreaded tanning prep bundled into one easy step.


Let’s be honest – tanning mousses have been the catalyst for many a faux tan disaster in the past. The good news is that they’ve come a long way, with special thanks to Isle Of Paradise’s Jules Von Hep, who has created a range of easy-to-use formulas that suit anyone and everyone. The brand’s Glow Clear Self-Tanning Mousse in ‘Light ’ is for the slightly more advanced tanners, as there’s no guide colour. Packed with nourishing ingredients, it absorbs almost instantly so you can apply your tan, let it develop, and not worry about staining your couch or planning the usual post-tan shower routine (as well as avoiding that deeper-than-expected guide colour panic attack!).

First-time tanner? Click here to watch MECCA’s Tanning Tips livestream and soak up the sunkissed knowledge!


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