Best Cheap Self Tanners 2020 (Under $20)


The following best cheap self tanners under $20 are made with reliable ingredients. They offer processing time anywhere between 4 hours and 24 hours. With small quantities of formula, women can even cover their face and body as an alternative to expensive tanning salons or even to natural sunbathing.

Features to consider in Good Cheap Self Tanners

Not all self-tanners are the same. They are mainly differentiated by their tinted level guide which is generally marked from 1 to 3 as follows.

1 – light

The number 1 self-tanner is recommended for beginners. It has a pleasant effect that is not overpowering allowing women to get used to their tan.

2 – medium

The medium tan is the most popular tint in self-tanners. Many brands don’t put this information on the package as this tint is seen on most products.

3 – dark

The dark tan is recommended for women who are already familiar with self-tanning and who need to have the deepest bronze all the time.

Best Cheap Self Tanners 2020 (Under $20)

1. Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse for Body

Why we like it: This self tan dries in 60 seconds and it comes tinted so that users see where they apply it on the skin.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
This 177ml self tanner is one of the easiest to apply. Friendly to the skin, it is made for quick application and quick results. Once applied, it allows women to resume their lives and get dressed quickly. Reapplication is also possible as soon as the following day. It means women can maintain the same tan for the entire summer.

Applied conveniently in the palm with the help of a dispenser, this tanner is among the products which require minimum effort. Women may choose between a deep bronze and a light bronze to suit their desired look. Of course, even the lighter version can be applied again once dry.

Convenient features
One of the convenient aspects of the lotion is just how good and even it covers the skin. Women not that it takes up to 7 hours for the tan to completely settle and this is why most should not reapply it before the following day and await the final results.

In terms of scents, the formula is fresh. It doesn’t add special perfumes but it gives the skin a fresh and clean feel. Other products might come scented and they can be better for those who don’t want to deal with perfume on the skin after application. But most women note the pleasant aroma is not overpowering, even when going to sleep soon after application.

The color develops instantly. However, it deepens a few hours after application. As a result, there should be a break of a few hours before trying on another layer. But this is the main process with the first application as maintaining the tan only requires a single application.

Convenient and with a fresh smell, this self-tanner is available in light and deep bronze options.

  • Available in deep and light bronze
  • Packed in 177ml containers
  • Dries in 60 seconds
  • Applies with gloves

2. Golden Star Beauty Self Tanner for Face

Why we like it: Specifically made for the face, this self-tan formula rejuvenates and hydrates the skin as well.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Not all tanning products are made the same. The Golden Star Beauty Self Tanner proves these products are not harmful to the skin. It represents a solution which may also replace nourishing face creams.

Packed in a 60ml tube, the self tanner is easy to apply. The formulation is applied in small quantities and it should be sufficient to maintain a fake tan for the entire summer. At the same time, its nourishing formula ensures the skin is properly hydrated in this period, even when the sun’s rays are the harshest.

Convenient features
One of the most convenient aspects of the formula is the tan 2 level. This means it has a medium tan and that it does not need a coat after coat applied too often to maintain the tan. But many women value the formulation for its nourishing ingredients as well.

Premium ingredients such as essential oils are added to the formulation. These include organic rosehip oil and primrose oil. Macadamia oil to minimize allergies is also added to the formula. Furthermore, it may also come with a rejuvenating effect. This is partly based on the added hyaluronic acid. This acid is used in various other face creams as it helps maintain youthful skin.

The formula doesn’t clog pores. It acts against acne and women afraid to apply such products may benefit the most from this friendly formula. While it also reduces the appearance of fine lines, this formula is ready to be considered among the nourishing self tanners to be used for the entire summer.

With a medium tan and premium ingredients such as organic rosehip oil, a self tanner is an affordable option for youthful skin.

  • Made with a medium tan effect
  • Applies on the face
  • Contains organic essential oils
  • Small tube for body application

3. Bronze Tan Dark Moisturizing Self Tanning Mousse and Self Tanner

Why we like it: This powerful self tanner takes up to 24 hours to develop and it nourishes the skin with Aloe Vera extract in the meantime.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
It’s often believed deep bronze selft tanners look unnatural. But Bronze Tan’s Dark Moisturizing Self Tanner proves otherwise. Of course, the results are developing on the first day of application. But the following day, the tan starts to look more natural. Women can benefit from a full bronze even from the first application.

There are a few guidelines to follow for the best results. Some of them are obvious, such as applying it to clean skin. But other guidelines also recommend applying nourishing lotions on the skin before application. This diminishes the absorption of the tanner and it allows the skin to maintain a youthful look.

Sold in 200ml containers, this self tanner is easy to apply. It has the same application process of all other similar products which means it dries quickly. But it also means the self tanner is going to represent a solution that deepens in tone during the day and the first night after application.

Convenient features
Made with all-natural ingredients, the self tanner is not harmful to the skin. While it doesn’t contain too many essential oils for nourishing reasons, it uses Aloe Vera extract for this purpose. The extract is known for its skin benefits and its widely used in the beauty industry.

But the most convenient aspect of the product is just how it offers good results with small quantities of products applied to the skin. It comes with up to 67% more product than other similar self tanners. This means it lasts for a long period and most women, one bottle should be enough for a few months where it is reapplied after a few weeks.

Apart from the bronze itself, the product also comes with a vanilla scent. This sweet vanilla note leaves the skin fresh and ready for the beach. At the same time, the aroma is not too overpowering and most women not it fades away within 24 hours.

In terms of durability, women note that the deepest tan is maintained up to 7 days. This is why those who like the skin to look as good as during the second day of the application need to reapply the formula every week, at least for the summer months.

With a capable formulation, the product nourishes the skin with Aloe extracts and offers a sweet vanilla aroma even with the lightest tan.

  • Made from natural ingredients
  • Suitable for all types of tans
  • Made with an airy mousse texture
  • Not for women who want unscented self tanners

4. Beaty By Earth Self Tanner For Face

Why we like it: Suitable for vegans, this formula has nourishing ingredients that fight the first signs of aging.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in 85ml tubes, this self tanner is one of the products which focuses on the quality of its ingredients. Unlike many other self tanners, it comes with plenty of ingredients that prevent skin dagame made by such cosmetics.

Its bronze has a certain glow that women love. The good news is that it is mainly applied to the face, where it offers the best ingredients and attractive results. With a deep dark bronze, its formula is already popular among women. However, its nourishing ingredients make it even more popular among women who want to fight the first signs of aging.

Convenient features
Without any sunburns, women can have a natural tan. This is why this product manages to offer an alternative to potentially dangerous natural sunbathing. Women are also free from tanning salons which also damage and dry out the skin in time.

Among its ingredients, shea butter is known for its nourishing action. It is among the premium ingredients used in skin products. It also comes with Japanese green tea extract. This type of tea is known for its high number of antioxidants. In turn, antioxidants have the best results when it comes to fighting oxidative stress and the bad effects of aging on the skin.

With argan oil, aloe vera, and glycerin, the product impresses most women. It is practically a 2-in-1 formula that combines the pleasing effects of a self tanner with the nourishing effects of face cream.

Suitable for all ages, this self tanner does wonders for women fighting skin oxidative stress.

  • Offers a deep glow bronze
  • Made for all types of skin
  • Nourishes the skin with shea butter
  • The fragrance quickly fades away

5. Botanic Tree Self Tanner

Why we like it: This whole-body self tanner is among the best for ingredients’ quality and long term skin benefits.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Packed in a small 170ml tube, the self tanner is ready to offer a deep bronze without the risks of natural sunbathing. It represents a formula that is easily applied to all types of skin.

Its design allows quick and simple application as women-only squeeze out small quantities from the tube to the gloves. But a little goes fart with this self tanner. Furthermore, even the manufacturer recommends applying it in small quantities at first. This is specifically true for loose skin such as the areas around the knee and the elbows. In these areas, too much self tanner can darken the skin too much compared to the rest of the body.

Convenient features
Since the tan looks as natural as possible, the self tanner impresses in other areas as well. The convenient long list of natural essential oils contained in the pack makes this product valuable for skin nourishing effects.

Among these ingredients, coconut oil works for skin nourishing. This is the reason women may even spend more time out in the sun as long as such ingredients nourish the skin better than tan-only alternative formulas.

Organic aloe and jojoba oil work to keep the skin elastic and moisturized. Grapeseed essential oils ensure the pores are not clogged and that the skin is as clean as possible. For most women, such ingredients put together would cost a lot more. But this versatile formula also replaces the products which might otherwise also require nourishing face creams to balance potential dehydration caused by the self tanner.

With a long list of natural ingredients, this formula is perfect for the skin of the face

  • Offers a deep bronze with a glow
  • Made with organic essential oils
  • Only takes 6 hours for coloration
  • Requires gloves for application

6. Miami Gorgeous Self Tanning Mousse LaPlaya Glow

Why we like it: Without any parabens and gluten, the formula is made for sensitive skin.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
This formula is specifically made for women who have various skin rashes or problems with cosmetics. While it’s not tested on animals, it is free from gluten. This is important. Gluten has been known to cause a range of issues for women. Furthermore, it represents a safe formula made in the USA.

Its container is a bit smaller than other self tanners at 124ml. However, it is still sufficient for a few applications as it’s only used in small amounts. A practical dispenser has been added to the tube, but gloves are still needed to protect the hands during application.

Convenient features
The convenience of this product is given by its price. Practically, women may achieve a professional salon-type look without spending hundreds. At the same time, in the long-term, this product offers it hard to match savings.

Apart from its attractive price, the formula also comes with a few valuable ingredients. Among them, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are known for their antioxidant effect. Without a doubt, this also means the products are ready to be used by women who might already be dealing with fine lines and wrinkles.

The formula may come with many ingredients, but it dries quickly. Of course, even after its dry, it may still darken in a bronze effect. This is why women leave it to penetrate the skin before applying it again. Similarly to other same-price products, it needs a fresh application the following week if women are going for the same dark bronze effect.

In terms of nourishing, it can also work with a good skin moisturizer. While it does come with its quality ingredients, the skin may still benefit from extra care, especially during the night so that the skin glows the entire length of the day.

Suitable for sensitive skin, this self tanner is made with argan oil and it minimizes the damage made by UV lights and dry weather.

  • Made in the USA
  • Free from parabens
  • Dries in hours
  • Doesn’t contain shea butter

7. L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk

Why we like it: This formula comes with a soft milky texture which encourages even skin application.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
L’Oreal has the advantage of being one of the most trusted names in the beauty industry. Women all over the world find it appealing and trustworthy. This self tanner solution proves the manufacturer can also make affordable products for an attractive tan which don’t need to cost too much.

The design of the formula is specific to L’Oreal, which always aims to make things easier. Its included dispenser means women don’t need to get the tube or their homes dirty trying to squeeze out more self tanner. Instead, the pump can apply the formula directly on the skin or the hands.

With a container of around 160ml, the self tanner is in line with the best products in its class. There are just a few products which offer more formula per tube and this means women can save money with the product.

Convenient features
The milky formula is easy to apply. Some formulas are dry in the hands and this makes them difficult to apply on the skin. But L’Oreal’s formula is made for easy application. Since the milky formula is thick, women or those who apply the formula have sufficient time to evenly spread it out on the body. Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons to believe that women can also easily apply the thinner formula on the elbows and knees is recommended.

Made for first-time tanners, the formula is enriched with Vitamin E. This vitamin is known for its skin-protection role and it manages to offer a complex solution to many problems that can arise not particularly due to the self tanner but due to all of the beauty products women use during their lives.

The finish of the bronze gradually builds. This means the more product women apply, the darker the skin gets. Since it is specifically targeting those who’ve never used a self tanner before, the manufacturer recommends this product to be applied by small amounts first.

The milky texture and the softening formula provide a hydrating experience for the tanned skin.

  • Made with a practical dispenser
  • Suitable for first-time tanners
  • Gradually builds the tan
  • Doesn’t contain many natural ingredients

8. Blue Finger Self Tanner with Organic and Natural Ingredients

Why we like it: With a short color developing interval, the self tanner is mainly used when traveling

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
This self tanner is fast to act. It is made for those on the road who don’t have the time for their tan to develop within 24 hours. It is now available in a 125ml tube which means it’s not as large as other similar products.

However, its smaller size is what recommends the self tanner among leading products for storage in the beach bag. Women don’t need to carry yet another large cosmetics product with them while at the beach.

Convenient features
The most practical side of the product is just how quick it dries and tans the skin. The first final results are visible within an hour. It only takes up to 3 hours to see how the skin looks like. This is important for women who need to reapply the tanner to get a deeper bronze.

With added peptides and Vitamin E, not many women would guess the formula is so affordable. Furthermore, not many women would be able to precisely tell that the results are not the ones of a tanning salon.

This compact self tanner is ready for quick results and it offers tanned skin ready for the beach within 3 hours.

  • Made with a simple formulation
  • Contains peptides and Vitamin E
  • Dries quickly
  • Small quantity per type

9. Bipin Self Tanner with Natural & Special Ingredients

Why we like it: The dark tanning lotion offers visible results within 6 hours and adds a few beneficial ingredients as well.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Made in a convenient tube with a dispenser, this 150ml formula applies quickly at home. Women don’t need to spend on tanning salons or wait outside sunbathing for their skin to dry and burn. This is why this formula is made so that the skin is bronzed quickly without the risks.

Applied as needed, it offers the best results when applied to exist tan from the previous week’s applications. When applied for the first time, the self tanner needs a bit of patience and perfect skin coverage to deliver the best results.

Convenient features
The bronze is dark and women only need to apply a few milliliters of formula to each part of the body. The self tanner is then spread out onto the skin by hand. It is highly recommended to use protective gloves, which don’t come in the pack.

Since the formula is made for a continuous application, it also offers women long term skin benefits. Hyaluronic acid is added to the self tanner. This is why the lifting effect is what makes it truly special and why the skin starts to look better and younger, not only tanned.

1-2 ounces are applied to the desired area at a time. There’s no room for more formula as too much comes with a darker tan which might be problematic as applying more self tanner is always an easier alternative.

This capable product adds hyaluronic acid and offers the tanned skin a revitalized look.

  • Suitable for reducing fine lines
  • Applies in 1-2 ounces on untanned skin
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Not all of its ingredients are organic

10. Fake Bake Original Self-Tanning Lotion

Why we like it: Containing DHA, DMI, erythrulose and other tanning ingredients, this formula is suitable for all types of skin.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Without promising all types of nourishing effects, this simple self tanner works quickly with its intended purposes. It represents a viable option for women who want to see the fastest results and this is why it only concentrates on proves ingredients in the self tanning world.

Unlike many other similar products, it is quite strong and this is why it’s only applied as needed. Designed with a 207ml tube, it is the most nourishing option to use in the long term. On such a limited budget, it manages to offer sufficient formulation to use for weeks and months.

Convenient features
With built-in color, the self tanner shows women where they’ve already applied it on the skin. This is not necessarily the case with other products. This comes with the practical advantage of knowing exactly where to cover the skin next.

Streak-free application is achieved when using gloves and applying by hand. The manufacturer recommends at least 4 hours to see the final results in which time the self tanner dries completely. Some women with oily skin may need to sit around for 6 hours before they find the final results and the self tanner is completely dry.

This large-container self tanner is perfect for women living in sunny areas where they apply it more often.

  • Packed in large containers
  • Based on strong tanning agents
  • 6-hours progression time
  • Doesn’t include any vitamins


Does a self tanner damage my skin?

A good self tanner should not damage the skin. If used according to the indications of the manufacturer, the product is always nourishing and rarely dangerous. Self tanners should not be applied on the skin with open wounds, scratches or acne.

Which self tanner is right for where I live?

The formula is independent of temperature and weather conditions. In theory, it may even be applied during the winter months with the same effect.

Which ingredients are the best?

The ingredients of a self tanner vary from Erythrulose to shea butter. Every brand develops a personal formula. But since the skin is so different from woman to woman, it is important to only focus on the products which work on a personal level.

Can nourishing ingredients act with a self tanner?

Nourishing ingredients are often added to self tanners. Some women believe they don’t work and they can’t be absorbed into the skin because of the tanning ingredients. But as many other women attest, results are visible when the skin is properly hydrated and nourished.

Does a self tanner prevent me from wearing make-up?

A self tanner changes the way the skin looks on the face. It still works with make-up but the amount of product to be used is different. Women should also remember to apply make-up slightly less to allow their skin to breathe and not be clogged by all the beauty products in time.

I have a skin rash from the self tanner, what can I do?

In a rare case of a rash, women should stop using the self tanner. The rash should go away in a couple of days. If it persists, it is highly recommended to visit a dermatologist.

Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Self Tanners

How to choose the best cheap self tanner under $20?

Choosing the best self tanner doesn’t need the advice of a doctor. Given women can purchase the product off the shelves themselves, it’s in their responsibility to ensure they read the instructions carefully. Women are also responsible for reading the ingredients, especially if there are any known skin conditions to worry about before making a purchase.

The quality of the ingredients

Isn’t it all about the ingredients? Even the cheap self tanners come with some of the most impressive ingredients. As with all cosmetics, self tanner evolved considerably. They now include ingredients that are not necessary for tanning but which nourish the skin.

When a brand advertises natural ingredients, women need to be aware of a few characteristics. First of all, this doesn’t mean all of the ingredients of the formula are natural. This also means that the natural ingredients don’t need to be necessarily better when it comes to the look of the skin. Natural ingredients are normally added to nourish the skin more than to tan it.

When a brand advertises solutions which are to be used sporadically or in small quantities, this is exactly what it sounds like. It’s rare to find misuse cases of self tanning products. In most cases, women apply too much product at first. As with make-up, every product comes with a learning curve. This is why the first and second applications are the hardest until women realize the potency of the formula.

If a product shows it has a processing time of 8 hours and another shows a processing time of 4 hours, this doesn’t mean one is better than the other. In both cases, they can take longer to process. Some products may even darker up to 24 hours after application. But this is why it’s important to know that patience is needed until the product is completely processed before applying some more formula on the skin.

The quantity per tube

The quantity per tube is also important. Not all women can afford long term use of the most expensive cosmetics. Even make-up bought every month can be expensive. A self tanning product doesn’t need to be expensive.

As seen with the products above, the actual quantity per product varies from 120ml to 200ml. Of course, this means one can be used for longer than the other. Furthermore, many professionals still recommend only using the product as needed.

Self tanning is art form. Too much product makes the skin look unnatural. This is why even the largest containers should be used with small amounts of the applied product. Tubes that don’t feature a dispenser and which are squeezed also need some attention as they can splat formula across the home, potentially staining objects.

Application process and length

The application process and the processing time of the self tanner vary to a large extent with every product. In multiple situations, the application is made with gloves. It’s rare to see a product that recommends application directly by hand. Even more, all products should be applied with surgical gloves as they may stain the hands.

The application should be made evenly across the face and the body. This requires plenty of patience and in many cases, a pair of helping hands. There needs to be plenty of attention given to key areas. For example, many brands recommend applying a bit less formula on the knee. As too many women know, too much product can destroy a good look at the knees and elbows may appear more tanned than they need to be.

When applying the self tanner to the face, there needs to be even more attention given to the process. The tanner can come with irritation, especially around the eyes. In case of eye contact, it is immediately required to wash the eye with fresh cold water. In case eye discomfort continues, it might be a good idea to see a doctor.

Other precautions during the application process may refer to the storage of the product. Since most formulas have a milky consistency, it is recommended to only store it at room temperature or slightly colder. If the self tanner is left out in the sun, it becomes runny. This means proper application becomes difficult. Similarly, if the self tanner is left in a cold area, it becomes harder to spread on the skin.

Price per weekly application

In the long term, women can calculate their exact cost per application. A self tanning tube normally comes with 150ml of formula, which is sufficient for a few weeks or months, depending on how often it’s applied.

However, the good news is most women realize they save more with their self tanning process they would expect. A single tannings session at the salon can be more expensive than a self tanning product which is applied for a few months.

Possible long term effects

There are a few long term effects women should be aware of, as with other cosmetics. It is not that these products damage the skin but it is how they can damage it in case the skin starts to react to its ingredients. For example, clogged pores can come as an indication a break from the product is needed.

Oily skin should also not be caused by the cheap self tanner. Many brands state that their formula does not cause oily skin even after application. In other cases, it is the ingredients that women expect less than react negatively.

In this case, aromas and perfumes might be the root cause of irritation, especially in the long term. Either way, since the self tanner aroma fades within a few hours, it’s wise to look for a formula without any fragrance at all. This diminishes unnecessary risks.

However, compared to other types of tanning, self tanner are considered safer. Compared to tanning salons, they are considerably safer for the skin. But even compared to natural sunbathing, the formula is safer on the skin than the sun’s UV lights.

The healthiness of the skin

The skin should be healthy when the self tanner is applied. If there are any wounds, the self tanner can cause infections and its recommended to delay its application. For general hygiene purposes, it is also recommended to wash the skin before application. Applying moisturized a day before self tanning can be another method of ensuring the skin looks as natural and as youthful as possible.


The best cheap self tanners under $20 represent an opportunity to look attractive while saving money. Women may choose different products but it is the number of applications that make the difference in the long term.

Since these self tanners are independent of salon tanning, it is advisable to tan according to the season, where more formula is applied during the summer months. This ensures this type of tanning looks as natural as possible and that women feel comfortable in their skin, just as they’d be with a natural tan.