The 8 Best Self Tanners At Ulta

Which Self Tanner At Ulta Should You Buy?

Ulta has a whole selection of self tanners available whether you’re looking for a lotion, mousse, spray or even wipes and they all come in varying types and shades. So which should you choose? In this article, we look at the best self tanners available at Ulta and their attributes like their smell, drying time, how long they last and whether they transfer easily to help you make a buying decision.

1. St Tropez Bronzing Mousse:


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The St Tropez dark is one of the darkest self tanners out there and using two coats of this tanner will generally get you dark enough. The tan has a pleasant smell but takes a long time to dry and can get on clothes while it’s developing. The tan lasts for about 4 days after which it starts to fade and in areas where things are rubbing against it, you might get some fading. If you have used the fake bake dark tan, this is a bit darker than that. It also does not have a yellow tone to it so you won’t end up looking orange, although you might notice some streaks when applying it. However, once it’s set, those streaks are hardly visible. At Ulta, you can buy a 6.7 oz bottle for $44

Here is a photo of someone who has the st tropez dark on


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The classic version of St Tropez has a very perfume like pleasant smell and features a light guide unlike a lot of other tanners that have a heavy color when applying. Even though the guide is light in color the actual color will develop over the next 4 hours. You can also get dressed within 5 minutes of applying this tan as it doesn’t rub off on your clothes. The tan itself will last about 5 days before it starts to fade. At Ulta, you can buy a 4 oz bottle for 32 and 8oz for 4.

Below is a photo of someone wearing the st tropez classic

Extra Dark:

The extra dark version of the St Tropez has a nice texture, isn’t runny and probably has the darkest guide of all the popular self tanners. The extra dark version takes about an hour to dry, and it kind of makes you feel sticky during that time. The dark version of St Tropez tends to fade better than the extra dark. At Ulta, you can buy a 6.7 oz bottle for $45

Here is someone wearing the extra dark


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With the express version of this tan, you will notice that a lot of the color comes off after a shower but will continue to develop over the next 8 hours and you get a nice brown color. St Tropez recommends that you wait 1 hour before showering for a light tan, 2 hours for a medium tan, and 3 hours for a deep tan. At Ulta, you can buy a 6.7 oz bottle for $44.

Key Points:

  1. Classic version has a perfume smell and does not rub off on clothes. Lasts about 5 days
  2. Extra dark can make you sticky and takes an hour to dry
  3. Dark version fades better than extra dark but can get on clothes when drying. It is also darker than the fake bake dark tan

2. Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid:

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This self tanner has a nice tropical smell and although it is quite thin and isn’t thick like a mousse, it does spread easily on the skin. It does have some smell but that goes away after you take a shower. The product comes with a mitt and gloves which help spread the product evenly and the gloves prevent the tan from getting on to your hands in case they seep through the mitt. The product does not streak and you will likely notice it to start fading after the 6th day. Also, It doesn’t fade as much as other tanners although the fading is pretty even. With this product, you can either spray it directly or spray it on the mitt and use that to apply the product on your body. It also dries very quickly, within a few minutes. The product can also work well on the face when you mix it in with a moisturizer and it doesn’t cause any splotchiness. The darker version of this product doesn’t fade as easily as the regular one. At Ulta you can buy a 6.0 oz bottle for $28

Key Points:

  1. Tropical Smell
  2. Comes With A Mitt
  3. No Streaking
  4. Does not fade as much as other self tanners
  5. Dries In Minutes

3. Tan Luxe – The Body:

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Although the tan luxe self tanner does give you a nice color, it doesn’t come with a guide, so you will need to be aware as to where you have applied the product. It also does not have much smell to it, so it will end up smelling like whatever moisturizing lotion you put on before you apply the tan. When using this product, you can start off with like 3 drops and then add more drops if you need a darker tan. The product blends very well and is non-streaky. The company gives the following application recommendation for their tan luxe the body product

  • 2 drops = radiance
  • 4 drops = sun-kissed
  • 8 drops = golden
  • 12 drops = bronzed

It comes in either a light/medium or medium/dark version with the recommendation being that the light/medium is for skin tones that burn easily while the medium/dark version is for olive/darker skin tones. At Ulta you can buy a 1.69oz bottle of this for $59.00

Key Points:

  1. No Guide
  2. No Smell
  3. Comes Out As Drops

4. Ulta mousse:

With the express version of this product, it will take between 1 and 2 hours to get a mild tan and between 3 and 4 hours to get a much darker tan. You will notice a lot of color residue when you take a shower but it still retains the color. The original dark version of this product is easier to apply as the express version doesn’t blend as well. With the original version. You can also try their tan drops for the face as it isn’t as harsh as a lot of other face tanners. At Ulta you can buy a 6.7oz bottle of the regular for $12.99 and $14.99 for the express.

Key Points:

  1. Original blends better than express
  2. 2 hours for a mild tan with express and 4 hours for a darker tan

5. Tan Towel Self Tan Towelettes:

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The tan towel comes in a full body and a half body version and you will need to exfoliate with this product as well because if you don’t exfoliate, the tan might get more concentrated in your elbows and knees as those areas tend to have some dry spots. It also does not come with a color guard so you should make sure that you go over every area a couple of times. With this product, you can get a nice brown tan color but if you want to deepen the tan then you can wait for 4 to 8 hours before applying again. Also, the tanner smell is quite mild and not overwhelming but it goes away after a shower. As this product comes as a wipe, it is very convenient to use as you don’t have to use mitts and there is no need to wash it off. The pack comes with an orange exfoliating sheet with a nice citrusy smell. The tan itself is not as dark as Jergens but Jergens takes a couple of days to see results whereas, with this product, you can see results in 2 to 4 hours. The half body version of this product is probably easier to work with as the full body one can be a bit clunky. At Ulta you can buy a 10 half body towelettes of 5 full body towelettes for $29.00

Key Points:

  1. No Color Guard
  2. Comes As A Wipe
  3. Not as dark as Jergens
  4. Full body version is a bit clunky

6. Loving Tan Self Tanning Mousse:

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This product has a really nice bronze color and is easy to apply and takes around 8 hours to develop. The product itself has a deep reddish color and it can bleed through the outer covering of the mitt but doesn’t get through the plastic so it won’t get on your hands. there is also a back applicator which is very useful for reaching hard to reach areas on your back. You can also use the gradual tan to help upkeep the color. If you are layering different tanning products make sure you exfoliate in between or you might end up with patchy looking skin. The 2hr express version of loving tan can give you a nice tan in 2 hours but it comes only in dark and not in ultra dark. Also, sometimes you might get a free mitt when buying this product so you might want to look out for that. At Ulta you can buy a 4oz bottle of this for $34.95

Key Points:

  1. Takes 8 hours to develop
  2. express version not available in ultra dark

7. Jergens Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Mousse:

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The Jergens sunless tanning mousse is another great product and gives you a really nice dark tan color. It has a perfumy smell with a light brown guide but after you apply it, it turns darker and retains that dark color even after you wash it off unlike other tans which then leave a milder color
Although the company claims that it dries in a minute, it takes more like an hour to dry and you do feel a bit sticky while it is drying. It lasts about 4 days after which it starts to fade and get a bit splotchy. Also, It does have a self tanner smell but it goes off once you take a shower. At Ulta you can buy a 6 oz bottle of this for $13.99

Key Points:

  1. perfumy smell and dark tan color
  2. light brown guide
  3. takes an hour to dry
  4. lasts about 4 days and gets splotchy afterwards

8. Coola Sunless Tan Dry Oil Mist:

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This sunless tan is pretty expensive but it does give you a very nice tan color. The product has an oil like consistency with a nice fruity smell but you can also smell some of the DHA. You won’t get any streaking or transfer on to your clothes with this product and it takes around 5 to 10 minutes to dry and does not cause any stickiness. It also doesn’t come with a guide, so you have to make sure that you go over every area. It takes around 4 hours to get a nice tan color with this product and it lasts about 2 to 3 days. It is one of the few self-tanners out there that is vegan and paraben free and you would probably get 4 to 5 uses out of it. The company also claims that it’s product contains 70% organic ingredients and 99% natural ingredients. A 3.4oz bottle of this will cost you $46 Ulta.

Key Points:

  1. Fruity Smell
  2. No Streaking / Transfer
  3. No Guide
  4. 4 hours to get a tan
  5. Lasts 2 to 3 days
  6. Vegan and paraben free