The Best Instant Tanning Products for Those Days When You Don’t Have Time To Wait

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A great tan can really elevate an outfit (and my mood), but sometimes my schedule is too packed for a spray tan appointment and I may not have the time for self-tanner to set in. My solution: instant tanning products. These formulas last through the day and wash off when you're done. As someone who's been on a quest for the perfect quick-fix tan for years, I've bought and tried countless products to find the holy grail of instant tans. From creams to sprays, I've found the ones that deliver a flawless, natural-looking tan without the wait or hassle.

But wait, there's more! In addition to sharing my favorite instant tan products, I'll also spill on the application tools and hacks that make achieving that sun-kissed look a breeze, even when you're short on time. Plus, I'll let you in on the secret to removing these wash-off tanners with ease, so you can switch up your look whenever you please. Whether you're braving the elements or breaking a sweat, these tried-and-true products will keep your tan intact without transferring onto your clothes. 


  • My Top Instant Tanning Pick: Tanologist Insta Glow Body ($18)
  • Instant Tanning For the Face: Tanologist Insta Glow Face ($16)
  • The Best Lotion for a Subtle Instant Tan: Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Self Tanner Moisturizer ($15 $13)
  • The Best Mousse for a Subtle Instant Tan: Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse ($15 $12)
  • The Best Airbrush Instant Tan: Bali Body Instant Tan ($25)

My Top Instant Tanning Pick

Tanologist Insta Glow Body

This is my top pick. It truly gives me an instant tan. It doesn't get messed up if I sweat or get caught in the rain and it just looks like a realistic tan. As far as the "illuminator" aspect goes, I was afraid it was going to be super glittery. Thankfully, it is just a super subtle natural-looking glow that isn't remotely sparkly. It just gives that "my skin but better" look and I cannot emphasize how natural it looks. 


E! Shopping Editor Insights: I've used this to contour my cheeks for a little sculpt and lifting effect. I usually apply with a brush, but I use a mitt for larger areas like my legs. I have used this on my face and body even though there is another product from the same brand that's specifically formulated for the face.

Drawbacks: It does take a little bit of work in the shower to get this off my skin, but I don't mind. I would rather spend more time removing this product than have it get all over my clothes or transfer onto my friends when I give them a hug. I will leave baby oil on for a couple minutes before rinsing off in the shower and that usually makes a big difference with removal.

Instant Tanning For the Face

Tanologist Insta Glow Face

This advantage of using this on your face (instead of Tanologist Insta Glow Body) is that there are more skin-loving ingredients that aim to hydrate, brighten, and reduce inflammation.


E! Shopping Editor Insights: Personally, I use Tanologist Insta Glow Body on my face and body. However, I have used this product on my face and adore it. I just would rather buy one product I feel comfortable using all over.  I think it just comes down to a matter of preference and budget. 

The Best Lotion for a Subtle Instant Tan

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Self Tanner Moisturizer + Bronzer

If you just want a slight bronze that you can wash off at the end of the day, I've been using the Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun products for years. These are great for a subtle tan. I prefer the moisturizer for my face, neck, and hands. Choose from 2 shades.


The Best Mousse for a Subtle Instant Tan

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Body Mousse

I use this mousse when I want a subtle tan on larger areas of my body like my legs, arms, stomach, and back. I apply with a mitt.


Shoppers Agree: This instant tanning product has 19,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews. There are 2 shades to choose from.

readNab $140 Worth of Isle of Paradise Tanning Butter for $49 and Get Your Glow On

The Best Airbrush Instant Tan

Bali Body Instant Tan

If you prefer an aerosol formula, this is a great product for an instant tan. I love this on my legs and it's great to conceal veins and skin imperfections.There are 2 shades to choose from.


E! Shopping Editor Insights: The tan dries quickly and delivers an airbrushed look. However, it can be a little bit messy when it comes to controlling the spray. I recommend using in the shower or laying a dark towel on the floor.

Instant Tan Application Tools

Existing Beauty Bronze Tan Self Tanning Brush

This is the brush that I use to apply my Tanologist Insta Glow on my face, hands, and feet. I've been using this since 2022. You can use any makeup brush or sponge that you already have, but I just love this one because it gives an even distribution of color and a nice, even blend. It's also great for in-between fingers and around my nails.


Shoppers Agree: This brush has 1,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Gaiyah Self Tanning Mitt Applicator

This is my go-to tanning mitt for larger areas of the body like my legs, arms, back, and stomach.


Shoppers Agree: This mitt has 19,100+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Tanologist Blending Brush for Self Tan

I like this application brush to apply instant tanner on my neck, shoulder blades, and arms. It's quicker than the smaller brush and more precise/controlled than the mitt. I will also use this to go over some of the larger body areas just to make sure the blend is even and natural-looking. 


Instant Tan Removal Hacks

Removing instant tanner isn't as extensive as it is with long-lasting tanners. There's a bit of a hiccup with these products: I use products that can last through sweat, rain, and anything else that may be disruptive. So, of course, it's a given that it may take some effort to remove the product.

Amazon Basics Baby Oil, Mild & Gentle, Dermatologist Tested

It's easiest for me to remove instant tanning products when I put baby oil on my skin for about three minutes. This makes it much easier to rinse off the tan in the shower and then I use my body wash. Bonus: my skin feels super-soft after.


If you're still shopping, you'll love these hacks for removing spray tans and self-tanner.

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