Canstar Blue’s self-tanning review compares Le Tan, L’Oréal, Bondi Sands, Dove and Nivea on quality, drying time, longevity, ease of application, scent, 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 looking 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 a third of Aussies (35%) in our survey revealing that they feel more self-confident after they’ve tanned up, while one in four (26%) 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 more than 500 consumers across the country to get their critique on the product(s) they most recently purchased (from a supermarket or pharmacy) and used. Note, this refers to a home-use product, not a spray tan in a salon. Respondents scored brands 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.
Le Tan was the hot pick for self-tanning products after rating best for overall satisfaction and scoring five-star reviews in several other categories! Le Tan replaced three-year consecutive winner Bondi Sands at the top of our ratings.
Here are the best self-tanning products in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Le Tan was the golden choice in our latest consumer ratings, receiving the only five-star review for overall satisfaction and top marks for quality, scent and value for money. L’Oréal and Bondi Sands followed behind on four stars overall, while Dove and Nivea rounded up the results on three stars for overall satisfaction.
But despite getting bronze, Bondi Sands still impressed after rating best for packaging design. It also scored full marks for scent, longevity, and ease of application, along with L’Oréal which additionally got five stars for quality and drying time. Nivea also got five stars for drying time.
While our list is a good starting point if you’re looking to try your hand at a new brand Aussies rate, there’s also plenty more choice out there. Other self-tanners you’ll find in supermarkets and pharmacies include:
Our research found that nearly one in three (29%) Aussies surveyed 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 on to 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 consumers rate best, our survey identified what ultimately makes Aussies happy (or unhappy) with their product:
Quality is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to taking a self-tanning product home to try. If you’ve ever experienced a self-tanning mishap or disaster, like the 16% of survey respondents who turned themselves orange or looked over-tanned for their complexion (14%), then 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.
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.
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 self-tan users (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 (12%) or finding a cruelty-free or organic product (14%).
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.
Smell is no longer seen to have as big of an impact on consumers’ satisfaction compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. After all, fake tans can sometimes overpower the smell of perfume or cologne, so you’d want something that smells good. Luckily, self-tanning products now come in a variety of delicious tropical scents and fragrances besides the standard coconut or vanilla.
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 (37%) or lotion (24%). Gradual or daily moisturisers with tint were the next most popular (15%), followed by spray (14%) and oil (9%).
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.
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 18% 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 journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 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 six months – in this case, 525 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.
Here are the previous winners of Canstar Blue’s self-tanning products review:
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