Compare self-tanning products from Bondi Sands, Dove and Nivea on their ease of application, smell, drying time, longevity, quality, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Self-tan – it’s a love/hate relationship. We love looking sunkissed without having to roast outside, but the trial and error process can end up with you feeling like an Oompa-Loompa mixed with a piece of streaky bacon. But this doesn’t mean the golden hour of self-tanning products is close to ticking over, with almost half of Aussies (47%) in our survey revealing that they feel more self-confident after they’ve tanned up, while one in three (37%) say they prefer to create their glow at home with a self-tanning product rather than have it done professionally.
So, which brand do Aussie gals and guys love the most? To help you find the best self-tanner, we’ve surveyed nearly 300 consumers across the country to get their critique on the products they most recently purchased and used from a supermarket or pharmacy in the last three months. Note, this refers to a home-use product, not a spray tan in a salon.
Results are based on ease of application, smell, drying time, longevity, quality, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction. Brands that received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are compared.
For the third year in a row, Bondi Sands remains the golden choice as the best-rated self-tan brand for overall satisfaction. It also earned five-star ratings in most of the other categories!
Here are the best self-tanning products in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Bondi Sands was rated best for overall satisfaction, and five stars for ease of application, time it takes to dry, smell, longevity, quality and packaging design. Dove and Nivea were rated a respectable four stars for overall satisfaction.
The latest results also saw a wave of extra five-star reviews in several categories. Dove was rated best for value for money, and achieved extra full marks for smell and longevity. It got the same score for drying time, similar to Nivea.
While our list is a good starting point if you’re looking to try your hand at a new brand, there’s plenty of choice out there. Other self-tanners you’ll find in supermarkets and pharmacies include:
Our survey found that nearly two in three (36%) survey respondents have tried multiple brands of self-tanning products, and by looking at the list above it makes sense! So, if one brand doesn’t cut it, you can always just move onto the next one! Before we dive into each key factor driving customer satisfaction, here’s what else our survey has found:
Aside from finding out which self-tanning brand is rated the best, our survey identified what ultimately makes Aussies happy (or unhappy) with their product:
Quality is one of the most important areas to consider when it comes to taking a self-tanning product to the checkout. If you’ve experienced a self-tanner that left you with a streaky, orange-tinted look, you’ll know what we mean. The quality of the product is important to help avoid those disappointments and get that sun-kissed Aussie tan you hoped for.
Smell is now the second most important factor for consumers, which is fairly surprising considering it was placed towards the bottom of the list in our previous rating (10%). This might be because some fake tans can override a perfume or cologne, or because the refreshing scent of coconut or vanilla has become a little too common on the shelves.
While packaging doesn’t have an impact on the end result, it helps to have a product that’s well designed and easy to open, especially if your hands are sticky or slippery from applying your tan. In addition, you might be drawn to one brand over another if it stands out from the crowd.
Applying tans can be a tricky business, especially as there are different application methods, whether you’re using a spray, lotion, mousse, or something else. While they all aim to do the same job, some users may prefer one type of application over another. When asked what type of self-tanning product they had recently purchased, the majority picked foam (30%) or lotion (29%). Gradual or daily moisturisers with tint were the next most popular (18%), followed by spray (13%) and oil (10%).
Regardless of what your preference is, they should all be easy to use and apply in order to avoid heartbreak if you come out patchy.
Self-tans typically last about a week so there’s a lot of re-application required to maintain the look. The cost can add up pretty quickly too, especially when nearly one in three (29%) lather it on weekly. But value for money doesn’t just mean looking at the price tag. You’ll need to find a self-tanning product that suits you, whether this means paying extra for a special formula that’s suitable for the face (14%) or something with cruelty-free or organic products (20%).
The goal is to make sure a fake tan lasts you the whole holiday. However, in the Aussie heat, it’s easy to sweat off the tan before you even get on a plane. Finding a brand that lasts is crucial! Typically, brands claim their self-tanners last between five and seven days.
Slow drying time is a big no-no when it comes to self-tan, especially when you just want to get on with your day. Even 20% of survey respondents admitted they have ruined clothes, bed sheets or towels because of their fake tan, meaning the quicker the drying time, the less likely you are to accidentally ruin something. Some brands claim to dry in seconds, leaving you with a natural tan that can be washed off after just one hour, meaning there are options for those on a tight schedule.
With so many brands on offer, you’re bound to find the right self-tanner for you, although you may have to trial a few brands and products first to find one that looks the best on you. But at the end of the day, nothing can beat the feeling of a good tan!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Our self-tanner ratings produced the following results for customer satisfaction:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,090 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used self-tanning products from a supermarket or pharmacy in the last three months – in this case, 270 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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