Fake Baking | Natural, Somewhat Organic + Safer Sunless-Tanners

Best Natural Self Tanners Best Organic Sunless Tanners

Hey there Glow-getter! Got your tan on this summer + tryna keep it that way throughout the year? Well, let’s take a little looksie at our healthiest fake-baking options… in other words, pick your poison. Lol. 


Bronzers are probably one of the best bets out of the bunch, other than the risk of mineral makeup inhalation. But, that’s with any powder makeup you wear, + as long as your not snorting lines of it – you should be A ok. To be on the super-safe side, go for a liquid or a cream {here we run into preservatives + emulsifiers – saving that lecture for a different day though}, or at least a pressed powder vs. a loose powder for less fly-away. And, lucky for you, they make some pretty snazzy natural bronzers, with organic ingredients. For a fake-it-till-you-make-it, upper-body tan, get your face where the sun hits naturally, including your ears, neck, chest + shoulders, + blend well. However, if you want for full body coverage, this isn’t going to work.

Tanning Beds

Aside from bronzers, tanning beds used to be my method of choice. In fact, in college, I went religiously, on a weekly basis {sometimes more!} + even worked at a tanning salon so I could tan for free. Best. Job. Ever. Minus, wiping up pools of other people’s sweat, + exposing myself to mass doses of radiation that would come back to bite me less than 10 years later!

Cancer in my early 30’s was obv. a huge wake up call, but it wasn’t until after treatment that I realized I wouldn’t be able to go tanning anymore. I’d been going for so long, creating the illusion of health, + in reality was anything but. It had actually been years since I saw myself pale {aka, my natural skin tone, which is not really pale at all} + it freaked me out!

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking I couldn’t go because I had radiation treatments, right? Well, that was totally true – I’d burn severely in the areas where I’d had “targeted” radiation, but at that point I was still on autopilot + that hadn’t even cross my mind yet. All I cared about was looking looking like myself again {the body-burden reality-check + side effects didn’t hit me until much later!}. So, I did a little research + found out that Dr. Mercola suggests that some tanning beds may actually be sans the radiation, + in fact can even be healthy for you – but, it has to be a certain type of bed. I want to believe this, but I’m still on the fence about it, + have yet to find a salon that uses these beds. Personally, I threw in the towel on tanning beds, but if you’re going to tan anyway, at least check out this list of bed-safe, natural + organic tanning oils. 

Spray Tans

Spray Tans are usually nowhere close to being truly natural, or organic, despite the way some salons try to sell it to you. Much like sunscreen sprays, airbrushed + powdered mineral makeup, they also pose the risk of chemical + mineral inhalation – which can be  carcinogenic when ingested. On top of that – the person giving you those cute little customized abs, is exposing themselves multiple times a day, with each client. Fortunately for me, I was never really into them because I didn’t think they looked all that natural. So, I’ve only ever had maybe 2 or 3 of them, but when I did – I always fell for the bronze bombshell up-sell + had what’s called a cocktail – a combo of tanning bed sesh + a spray tan. Ugh! I don’t even want to know the damage from that. So sorry, body.

Sunless Tanning Lotions

This leaves us with self-tanning lotions, + the truth is, there are no totally organic self-tanners either, at least not to my knowledge, or by USDA Organic standards. We’re talking lesser evils here when it comes to products like these that stay on our skin, hair {hair dye} or nails {nail polish} for a prolonged period of time. While sunless tanning lotions are similar in ingredients to spray tans, they usually don’t contain any propellants + there’s virtually no chance of inhaling them – so, in my opinion, that already makes them a better option {depending upon ingredients, of course. Good luck getting a complete ingredient list on your spray tan, BTW}.

I don’t however recommend using the daily or gradual types, because these are not something you want to use on the daily, regardless of how companies market them. You should only use these when  you really need them, as the active ingredients in ALL sunless tanners {natural or not} can inhibit the production of Vitamin D in the body + cause free-radical damage on the surface of your skin {especially in the sun!}. Read more about that here. So I went on a mission to find brands that only have the necessary ingredients to make them work well, but don’t contain any of the excess junk {Gluconolactone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, etc}.

As far as Sunless Tanners go, these are as clean as it gets…

True Natural Tropical Tan Face + Body Dark Self Tanner Review

True Natural Tropical Tan Face + Body Dark Self Tanner

While True Natural’s Sunscreens were new to me in the last year or so, this has been a go-to of mine since I made the switch. And, every year or so – they seem to upgrade the ingredients in the formula, + it gets better + better! This gel-like lotion dries quickly {absorbs within 10 minutes!}, giving you an deep, dark, non-orangey glow, that lasts for about 5-7 days. And, with True Natural’s signature Vanilla Coconut scent, it even smells delish too! Personally, this one is my go-to + I always go for the darkest tanning option available, but they do have light-medium, + medium ones too.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Dihydroxyacetone, Organic Soybean Oil, Ethyl Alcohol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coconut Oil, Glycerin, Fragrance (natural), Erythrulose, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Sunflower Oil*, Cocoa Butter, Pomegranate Extract*, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, p-Anisic Acid. * Certified Organic Ingredients ** natural essential oils. 

Lavera Self Tanning Lotion Review

Lavera Self Tanning Lotion

This self tanner was probably one of the very first natural brands I tried {about 5 years ago}, but I can’t comment on how it works – as I really don’t remember the deets. Plus, I know the formula’s been updated recently. I do remember that I liked it though, + if I try it again soon, I’ll definitely keep you posted! I know this product won a lot of awards for it’s smooth, natural, streak-free tan in just 3 hours + is an all-time fave of Green Beauty Queen, Sophie Uliano’s. So, hopefully that’ll help a little. When I try it again, I’ll post an update!

Ingredients: Water, Glycine Soja Oil*, Grain Alcohol*, DHA, Glycerin, Erythrulose, Myristyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance(natural essential oils), Macadamia Seed Oil*, Shea Butter*, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Calendula Flower Extract*, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice*, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Vitamin C, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citranellol**, Citral**, Coumarin**, Eugenol**, Benzyl Benzoate**, Benzyl Alcohol**. * Certified Organic Ingredients ** natural essential oils

Eco Tan Invisible Tan Review

Eco Tan Invisible Tan

Eco Tan Invisible Tan is an organic moisturizer (by Australian standards) for your face + body that nourishes your skin without any synthetics or truly toxic ingredients. Just apply it to clean, dry skin + see a beautiful, rich, honey tan emerge. And, since it applies clear, you can even sleep in it without staining your clothes or linens, which I love! The only thing was that this was a little on the lighter side for me {color-wise}, compared to what I’m used to – but it was very natural-looking, which is what we’re going for here anyway. Like I said, I always go for the darkest lotions available due to my skin tone {when available} – so, I’m not sure if I just didn’t apply enough or what, but I’ll update if anything changes with that.

Ingredients: Aloe Bardadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Dihydroxyacetone**, Glyceryl Stearate**, Persea Gratissma (Avocado) Oil*, Macadamia Terifolia Seed Oil*, Glycerin*, Cetyl Alcohol **, Stearic Acid**, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate**, Xanthan Gum**, Lecithin* , Tocopherol Acetate **, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil*, Lenconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate**, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract**, Citronellol**, Geraniol**, Linalool**, Citral Limonene**. *Certified Organic Australia **Natural.

Profesh Tips

  • For best results, exfoliate before applying on slightly damp (not wet) skin.
  • To avoid orange palms, wear rubber gloves to apply to as much of your body as possible, until it’s time to do the tops of your hands + wrists. Then wash hands + exfoliate palms immediately, patting (not rubbing) hands dry.
  • Rough spots like elbows, knees, knuckles + hairlines will always be darker – so go a little lighter in those areas.
  • To avoid streaks + spots, apply in small circular motions, rubbing it in really well to distribute evenly.
  • To “erase” fake baking mistakes, gently rub baking soda, a slice of lemon, or a combo of both on the area + rinse well.
Have you ever tried any of these natural + organic sunless tanners? Do you have any to add to the list?  


FTC Disclosure | Products provided. May contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
FDA Disclaimer | Statements not evaluated by FDA. Products not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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  • Reply
    September 11, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Thank you for this! I have been wondering what my options were for self-tanning. I picked up the Tarte one but I know it’s not that clean.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Hi……I purchased TRU”E through your website a couple of months ago. I have been trying to go organic in all areas of my life for a while now, and I was wondering what on earth I would do concerning not having pale whit skin during the summer months here in Georgia. Well, thanks to your blog I found TRU’E. The first time I used this self tanner I was in love. The color was fairly dark and went on flawlessly…the only thing I would say to be careful with is the feet and ankles……I haven’t figured that out yet. My hubby said I looked like I had dirty feet. I will try to apply as little as possible to the foot and ankle area. But as far as the rest of my body, I was unbelievably surprised. I also have to be honest and say that the tube is rather small, and I only got a couple of applications out of it for the price. Other than that, I absolutely love the the product. Thanks GG!!!!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hey Brenda! :) Yep, you have to be careful with any sunless tanners on areas with dry skin {feet, ankles, knees, elbow, knuckles, etc.}. So glad it worked for you! XO <3

  • Reply
    Image by Laser
    November 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I learnt from early on to wear gloves – the first couple of times it took days to scrub the stains from my hands and nails! Its also good to apply a small blob to the backs of hands and rub togther after washing so you don’t end up with tanned arms and white hands.

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