Beauty

The Bestselling Self Tanner on Amazon is Also the Cleanest

By November 10, 2020 April 5th, 2021 No Comments

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The world’s biggest virtual department store has an “aisle” for everything—tampons, toilet paper, face masks, moisturizers, makeup. Self-Tanners have earned their own aisle but its shelves aren’t yet arranged to separate the clean and natural from the outright toxic. If you’re looking for the best-selling self-tanners on Amazon, there’s a list for that. But if you’re looking for the cleanest bestselling self-tanners, not so much. That took hours of researching and reviewing ingredients. All 266 of them.

Here’s what that revealed.

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Top 10 Bestselling Self Tanners on Amazon

If you run each of the 266 individual ingredients in these products through EWG’s SkinDeep® database, Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is quickly seen to be the best of them.

Beauty By Earth Self Tanner has an EWG Rating of 1 and is 81% organic. Comparing every individual ingredient, it’s also as much as 6 times cleaner than others on the list.

Where the worst-rated of these products have ingredients like isobutylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben (rated 9s and 10s by EWG), Beauty By Earth uses no such ingredients and is sulfate, paraben, phthalate and fragrance free.

Only 2 of the bestselling self-tanners have even a single organic ingredient (Beauty By Earth at No. 1, and Alba Botanica at No. 10), and all but the same also contain fragrance. Fragrance, rated an 8 by EWG, isn’t one ingredient, but any number of up to 3,163 unlisted ingredients.

Beauty By Earth Self Tanner

Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is a lotion with a base of organic aloe vera leaf juice, to which the self-tanner DHA and a number of other beneficial ingredients have been added.

Every ingredient in it is naturally derived.

None are toxic or harmful.

And most of them have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.

Certified Cruelty-Free & Never Tested on Animals

Beauty By Earth is certified cruelty-free and never tests on animals. New products are expressly tested by employees, friends and family. And each one “takes a year or so to develop” and perfect, according to its co-founder.

The user feedback loop continues well after product launch, with comments, critiques, and end-user responses reincorporated in further perfecting products. For its self tanner, that’s meant three separate formulations, each of which earned an EWG rating of 1, yet were still tweaked, refined, and improved even further based on user experience.

What’s emerged is the cleanest self-tanner on the market that uses only the best ingredients available and the least toxic formulation possible.

Less is more. Less is sexy. Less is better, cleaner, safer.

Top 10 Bestselling Self Tanners Rated By Clean Ingredients

★★★★★

No. 1. Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is 80.84% certified organic ingredients and/or water, is dermatologist-tested, vegan-friendly, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free and contains no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, triclosan, petroleum or gluten.

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice 1-3, Organic Shea Butter 1, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) 1-3, Cetyl Alcohol 1, Stearyl Alcohol 1, Organic Coconut Oil 1, Glycerin (Vegetable) 1-2, Organic Japanese Green Tea Leaf Extract 1-2, Organic Pomegranate Extract 1, Organic Witch Hazel Extract 1, Organic Cranberry Fruit Extract 1, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil 1, Organic Argan Oil 1, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate 1, Coconut Pulp Extract 1, Vanilla Fruit Extract 1

★★★★

No. 2. Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner

Alba Botanica’s Sunless Tanner is paraben, phthalate and fragrance free, Leaping Bunny certified, not tested on animals, and 100% vegan ingredients. 

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Aqua (Water) 1, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate 1, Glycerin 1-2, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes 1, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Dimethicone 1-3, Cetearyl Alcohol 1, Isopropyl Palmitate 1, Stearic Acid 1, Glyceryl Stearate SE 1, Cetyl Alcohol 1, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Oil 1, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oilc 5, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil 1, Prunus Amygdalis Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil 1, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract 1, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract 1-2, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract 2, Echinacea Purpurea Extract 1, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract 1, Ascorbyl Palmitate 1, Allyl Caproate 1-2, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride 1, Ceteth-20 1-3, Citric Acid 1-2, Erythrulose 1, Ethyl Acetate 1, Hexyl Acetate (X), Isoamyl Acetate 1, Lactic Acid 1-4, Sodium Citrate 1, Steareth-20 1-3, Vanillin 1, Xanthan Gum 1, Alcohol (X), Phenoxyethanol 2-4, Potassium Sorbate 2, Sodium Benzoate 1-3, Amyl Cinnamal 3-4, Benzyl Alcohol 4-6, Geraniol 3-5, Limonene 4-5, Linalool 3

Bestselling Self Tanners
With Fragrances, Sulfates, Parabens

No. 3. Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Towelettes

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Dihydroxyacetone [DHA] 1-3, Glycerin 1-2, Propylene Glycol 2-3, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1-3, Propanediol 2, Fragrance 8, PEG-2 Dimeadowfoamamidoethylmonium 1-3, Methosulfate 1, Hexylene Glycol 1, Sodium Hydroxide 1-4, Tocopheryl Acetate 2-3, Erythrulose 1, Benzyl Alcohol 4-6, Benzoic Acid 1-3

No. 4. SOL by Jergens Deep Water Mousse Water-based Self Tanner

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Glycerin 1-2, Alcohol Denat. 1, Dipropylene Glycol 1-2, Ethoxydiglycol 1-2, Propanediol 2, Decyl Glucoside 1, Ceteareth-25 1-3, Fragrance 8, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer 1, Citric Acid 1-2, Sodium Metabisulfite 2-4, Erythrulose 1, Butylene Glycol 1, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water 1, Benzyl Alcohol 4-6, Tocopheryl Acetate 2-3, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate 1-3, Withania Somnifera Root Extract 1, Methylparaben 3-4

No. 5. Self Tanner, L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Dimethyl Ether 2, Glycerin 1-2, Propylene Glycol 2-3, Phenoxyethanol 2-4, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1-3, Limonene 4-5, Linalool 3, Disodium EDTA 1, Methylparaben 3-4, Citronellol 3-4, Citral 3-5, Coumarin 4-5, Hexyl Cinnamal 3, Fragrance 8

No. 6. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Mist

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Dimethyl Ether 2, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Glycerin 1-2, Propylene Glycol 2-3, Phenoxyethanol 2-4, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1-3, Limonene 4-5, Linalool 3, Disodium Edta 1, Methylparaben 3-4, Citronellol 3-4, Citral 3-5, Coumarin 4-5, Hexyl Cinnamal 3, Parfum/Fragrance 8

No. 7. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Mousse

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Glycerin 1-2 , Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1-3, Cocos Nucifera Fruit Juice / Coconut Fruit Juice 1, Phenoxyethanol 2-4, Fragrance 8, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate 1-2, Capryl/Capramidopropyl Betaine 1-3, Caprylyl Glycol 1, Tocopherol 1, Disodium Edta 1, Sodium Chloride 1, Benzyl Salicylate 3-5, Linalool 3, Benzyl Alcohol 4-6, Limonene 4-5, Coumarin 4-5, Citric Acid 1-2, Glycolic Acid 1-4, Citronellol 3-4, Sodium Benzoate 1-3, Potassium Sorbate 2, Geraniol 3-5

No. 8. L’Oreal Sunless Tanning Lotion, Sublime Bronze Tinted

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Alcohol Denat. 1, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer 1, Caramel 1, Vp/Va Copolymer 1, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite 1, Fragrance 8, Xanthan Gum 1, C14-15 Alkyl Citrate 1, Methylparaben 3-4, Ppg 26 – Buteth 26 1-2, Peg 60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1-3, Glycine Soja/Soybean Oil 1, Tocopherol 1, Butyl Phenyl Methylpropional 5-7, Hexyl Cinnamal 3, Linalool 3, Benzyl Salicylate 3-5, Ci 15985/Yellow 6 3-7, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone 3-5, Citronellol 3-4, Limonene 4-5, Geraniol 3-5, Ci 17200/Red 33 1-4

No. 9. L’Oreal Sublime Glow Daily Moisturizer & Natural Skin Toner

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Tri-C14-15 Alkyl Citrate 1, Cyclohexasiloxane 2, Glycerin 1-2, Propylene Glycol 2-3, Alcohol Denat. 1, Dimethicone 1-3, Stearyl Alcohol 1, Glyceryl Stearate 1, Dihydroxy Acetone 1-3,  Ceteareth-15 1-7, Isopropyl Palmitate 1, PEG-100 Stearate 1-3, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate 1, Mica 2, Phenoxyethanol 2-4, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide 1-3, Parfum/Fragrance 8, Methylparaben 3-4, Glycine Soja/Soybean Oil 1, Tocopherol 1, Dimethiconol 1, Mangifera Indica/Mango Seed Oil 1, Ginkgo Biloba/Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract 1, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil/Sweet Almond Oil 1, Disodium EDTA 1, Propylparaben 9, Ethylparaben 3, Butylparaben 9, Isop (X)

No. 10. Millennium Tanning: Dark Tanning Lotion, 100x

Amazon includes this in its “Body Self Tanners” category. It’s not a self tanner, but a tanning bed oil. On its own, it’s already the most toxic of the products here, nevermind that “Indoor tanning beds are proven to cause cancer and have been classified into the highest cancer risk category by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC)” or that “Young people who regularly use tanning beds are 8 times more likely to develop melanoma than people who have never used them.”

Ingredients & EWG Ratings: Water 1, Cyclopentasiloxane 3, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer 1, Propylene Glycol 2-3, Panthenol 1, Dihydroxyacetone 1-3, Cetyl Alcohol 1, Isopropyl Myristate 1, Glyceryl Stearate 1, Polyacrylamide 2-4, Tyrosine 1, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Seed Oil 1, Carya Illinoensis (Pecan) Seed Oil 1, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil 1, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil 2*, Glycerin 1-2, C13-14 Isoparaffin 1, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil 1, Acetyl Tyrosine 1, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract 1, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract 1, Potassium Caproyl Tyrosine (X), Sorbitol 1, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil 1, Ubiquinone 1, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil 1, Arginine Hcl 1, Ornithine Hcl 1, Silica 1*, Acetyl Hexapeptide-1 1, Melanin 1, Methylsilanol Acetyl Tyrosine 1, Butylene Glycol 1, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein 1, Adenosine Triphosphate 1, Riboflavin 1, Tocopherol 1, Calcium Ascorbate 1, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract 1, Coleus Forskohlii Root Extract 1, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract (X), Caffeine 1, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract 1-2, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract 1, Betula Alba Bark Extract 1-2, Soy Amino Acids 1, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract 1, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide 1, Laureth-7 1-3, Phenoxyethanol 2-4, Methylparaben 3-4, Isopropylparaben 10, Isobutylparaben 10, Butylparaben 9, Fragrance 8, Blue 1(CI 42090) 2-7, Green 5 (CI 61570) 1, Red 40 (Cl 16035) 3-6, Yellow 5 (CI 19140) 4-6

Rating Methodology

  • The self-tanners we reviewed have a combined 266 ingredients.
  • We ran each of them through EWG’s SkinDeep database for its EWG rating (the lower the ingredient rating, the better).
  • 152 of those ingredients (57%) have been assigned a single digit rating by EWG, such as “1” (best) or “10” (worst).
  • 109 of those ingredients (41%) have been assigned not a single number, but a range of numbers: something like “1-2,” “3-7” or “4-6.”
  • Where an ingredient was assigned this range of numbers by EWG, to preserve EWG’s rating while allowing us to compare products uniformly, we converted that range to a mean (average) value: 1-2 became 1.5; 2-7 became 4.5, and 4-9 became 6.5.
  • Of the 266 total ingredients, 5 aren’t EWG-rated.
  • On the date sales ratings were recorded, in the #2 position was a self-tanning mitt; we excluded that and instead included the 11th best-selling self-tanner on Amazon of that same date.

References

  1. Melanoma Fact Sheet, melanoma.org
  2. Melanoma Facts & Stats, melanomauk.org.uk
  3. EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

James Anthony has written on self-improvement for 22 years, with his work appearing in five national magazines and on the websites of more than 100 U.S. Drs, MDs, and board-certified surgeons. This article contains the author’s opinion only and isn’t sponsored. To suggest corrections or clarifications, reach us by email at info[at]alphabeautics.com.