A gradual tan is the secret to a low-commitment, streak-free golden glow —perfect for those not quite confident in their fake tan abilities. The best thing about gradual tans is that the colour builds up gradually (hence the name…) so it’s far easier to get an even tan than with a dark foam or spray.
If you prefer a deeper fake tan, a gradual tan can also help top up the colour and keep it looking fresh for longer — win!
But don’t just take our word for it. Below we’ve rounded up 10 gradual tans with great reviews from our beautyheaven members and all available here in Australia, so you can find your perfect match just in time for summer to start.
We say: Dove Summer Glow Gradual Self Tan Body Lotion ($9.99 at Chemist Warehouse) is infused with intense moisturising ingredients to hydrate dry skin while giving you a very subtle fake tan. Having received 4 out of 5 stars from an impressive 436 member reviews, this $10 gradual tanner is always a steal for the summer.
You say: “This is such an easy tanner to use! It smells nice, and applies a tan evenly. It is also super affordable. There is a noticeable difference within about 4 days and you end up with a lovely golden glow, no orange to speak of.” – bh member missm7393.
#2 Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk
We say:Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk ($16.49 at Chemist Warehouse) has a dual-actual formula that gives a deep and long-lasting tan while also moisturising the skin. Antioxidants, aloe vera and vitamin E help to give 24-hour hydration.
You say: “It is really easy to apply, even with hands, and doesn’t come out streaky at all. It dries down completely and doesn’t leave you feeling greasy all day like the last one I used (another huge plus). It smells great, but is just a subtle smell, not overpowering. And best of all the colour is very natural, in two coats it looks like a real tan.” bh member Midnight Blue.
#3 Ella Baché Great Sunkiss
We say: Ella Baché Great Sunkiss ($39 at ellabache.com.au) is formulated with cocoa butter to give you instant radiance while protecting against moisture loss. This one is ideal as a top-up to an existing fake tan, to keep the colour rich and unpatchy for as long as possible.
You say: “I love Ella Bache products and have been a long time user of their body moisturisers, so I was thrilled to test this and also to end up loving it. The smell is so much better than a lot of the tanning products out there in the marketplace and the result is a lovely healthy glow.” – bh member justjo.
Read more Ella Baché Great Sunkiss reviews.
#4 Natio Sun-Kissed Glow Gradual Tan Lotion
We say: Natio Sun-Kissed Glow Gradual Tan Lotion ($14.95 at Myer) is a quick-drying gradual tan that gives you a golden glow within a few days. Scented with cinnamon and tangerine, this is a summery but festive fragrance perfect for the holiday season.
You say: “I have been using this tan moisturiser for over 2 years now and it is by far the most natural looking tan, easiest to apply and most hydrating I have tried”. – bh member fernegully.
#5 pureTAN Pure Bronze Gradual Tan SPF15
You say: “This gradual tanner is so gorgeous on the skin and smells absolutely heavenly! The formula is a rich, white cream that sinks into the skin. My skin felt moisturised and fresh, not sticky at all. This gradual tan can be used as both a gradual tanner and as a tan extender. I like how it is versatile depending on how urgent my tanning needs are. ” – bh member Bee1.
#6 St. Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted Everyday Body Lotion
We say: St. Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted Everyday Body Lotion ($33.99 at Priceline) is a tinted body lotion that not only gives a healthy-looking glow, but it also blurs and illuminates. The formula has a 48-hour Hydraglow complex for extra radiance, and the scent is light but lovely.
You say: “I absolutely love this product, I am always wary of fake tanning looking just that – fake. This gives a lovely natural colour that is not streaky or orange. It is moisturising and easy to use. It just glides on easily and absorbs well, its kind of a tinted moisturiser with hint of tan and just looks like I have a natural suntan after the first use. I would buy this product again for its natural results and ease of use”. – bh member debbie1000.
#7 Sukin Naturals Sunless Bronzing Gel
We say: Sukin Naturals Sunless Bronzing Gel ($15 at Chemist Warehouse) is formulated with aloe vera for hydration and DHA to help develop a radiant glow. Free from any overpowering chemical scent, it is lightly fragranced with lemon myrtle and lime oils.
You say: “The self tanner creates a natural looking tan, minus the smell, with the added benefit of hydration. My skin is tanned, soft and smooth and I can feel good knowing I am not covering myself in chemicals. I am so pleased and cannot recommend this self tanner highly enough.” – bh member Juliet37.
Read more Sukin Naturals Sunless Bronzing Gel reviews.
#8 Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze Body Lotion
We say: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze Body Lotion ($8.69 at Chemist Warehouse) combines cocoa butter and vitamin E for deep hydration. When using daily, you will develop a natural glow within a few days. The classic Palmer’s cocoa scent makes sure there’s no lingering chemical scent.
You say: “Now I hate going to the effort of fake tanning it’s time consuming and I often end up patchy or getting it on my clothes or bed sheets even tho I only ever tan my legs but with the palmers cocoa butter gradual body bronzer I just apply like my everyday moisturizer it’s so quick and easy and with fast results in a matter of days and leads me to such a natural looking tan”. – bh member pamela278.
#9 Bronze by La Mav® Gradual Tanning Moisturiser – Medium
We say: Bronze by La Mav® Gradual Tanning Moisturiser – Medium ($39.95 at Adore Beauty)is infused with magnesium to deeply hydrate the skin as it develops a rich bronze tan. It contains argan, macadamia and camellia oils to soften and hydrate skin. ‘Medium’ is suited to those who are after a deeper colour.
You say: “My skin is left looking so hydrated but it also leaves my skin with a matte sort of feel which is great because it’s nice that it’s super non-sticky and it ‘dries’ almost straight away so it doesn’t feel like it’s going to rub off onto clothing or anything. I also love how it comes in variations of lighter tans to darker tans. I’d repurchase this in spring when I’m more prone to using a fake tanning product.” – bh member clearcrystalwater.
#10 JERGENS Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturiser
You say: “The lotion has a nice light scent to it, and absorbs really quickly. It doesn’t have a fake tan smell to it and I can get dressed quickly after it. If I want to achieve a deeper tan I use it twice a day after my morning and evening shower. It fades really well if you stop using it so once you achieve your desired colour you can just take a break from using it while it fades.”- bh member GigiandBobbi.
*This article has been updated since its original publication date.