Stretch marks are a part of life for pretty much everyone. Any time there’s rapid weight loss or weight gain, they happen. Old stretch marks are white or silvery, new ones are red or purple. Celebrities have them, athletes have them, and your neighbor probably has some as well.
So why are you searching for the best self tanner to cover stretch marks? After all, they’re not such a big deal. But we admit, our stretch marks bug us, too. Body makeup is such a hassle when you can just tan and hide those awkward little lines.
Does self tanner help cover stretch marks? Yes and no – your mileage may vary. Sometimes sunless tanner can bring attention to the discoloration. That’s why we recommend testing the self tanner to see how it looks. If you’re not satisfied, you can still get a spray-on bronzer like the one at the bottom of the reviews.
In the meantime, check out the best sunless tanning products to cover stretch marks:
|The best self tanner to cover stretch marks||Why we love them|
|VITA LIBERATA Advanced Organics Fabulous Self-Tanning Gradual Lotion||
|St. Tropez Self Tan Express Mousse||
|Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray||
|Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle||
|Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs||
Chrissy Teigen could care less about stretch marks (hers or yours)
More than once, Chrissy taken has posted photos of her stretch marks on social media (1). She knows that they happen because the skin’s connective tissue snaps under strain. Collagen and elastin break down when there’s a rapid change in weight or size, like a growth spurt or pregnancy. Moreover, if stretch marks run in the family, it makes a person more likely to get them.
Stretch marks change in color. They may begin lighter than your skin tone and turn purple. Ultimately, they fade back to more or less skin color. The first and last phases are the easiest to hide with self tanner.
Of course, a dermatologist can treat stretch marks with a laser. There are also treatments with retinol to stimulate collagen production and minimize the appearance of the marks.
In the meantime, here’s how to cover up stretch marks with self tanner.
How to hide stretch marks with self tanner
Whenever you do sunless tanning, it turns out better if you’ve exfoliated, shaved, and moisturized in the days leading up to it. On the day you plan to tan, don’t shave for a few hours before to keep the product from settling in the pores.
Apply the product to clean, dry skin before moisturizing. Follow the instructions and don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re done if you haven’t used an applicator or glove.
Go light on elbows, kneecaps, and knuckles. They tend to turn darker if you’re not careful.
Let the product completely dry before dressing. This may take anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. Then, avoid water (showering, swimming, and sweating) for the next few hours. It’s easiest to do self tanning at night so that you get the full eight hours for the color to develop without interference (2).
Exfoliating will make your tan fade faster and using gradual tanning lotion will maintain it. Expect that you’ll get anywhere from four days to a week out of your sun-kissed glow.
How well will self tanner hide stretch marks?
Let’s be honest, sunless tanning products create a translucent wash of color on the surface of your body. They interact with the proteins in the top layer of your skin. It’s not like makeup that creates an occlusive layer and blocks blemishes from view.
Anytime there’s a scar, a mole, or some other texture on the skin (here’s looking at you, KP), sunless tanning can turn out unpredictably. Sometimes stretch marks will absorb extra product and go darker, and sometimes they remain pale and stand out against the surrounding darkened skin. That’s why we recommend testing that self tanner on a small spot to see how things look. With luck, the self tanner will help everything blend nicely. Happily, it helps hide cellulite, too.
Best Self Tanner to Cover Stretch Marks in 2023
VITA LIBERATA Advanced Organics Fabulous Self-Tanning Gradual Lotion
Let’s begin with one of our favorites. This is the best self tanner for pale skin. It’s suitable for sensitive skin, and can help cover cellulite and keratosis pilaris (KP). How does it work these miracles?
It’s a gradual tanning lotion that deepens color with every application. Put it on Sunday night and wake up Monday looking like you spent some time outdoors. Apply it again Monday night and wake up Tuesday looking like you went on vacation. Of course, there is a limit to how dark it can go, but if all you want is a sun-kissed glow, it’s perfect.
It builds a natural-looking golden tan that doesn’t turn orange or streak or blotch. What’s more, it’s a very moisturizing lotion that’s packed with antioxidants and organic plant oils and extracts. The formula is 70% organic and extremely soothing. The hydration lasts up to seventy-two hours ! You won’t miss your regular body butter while you’re using this product.
Since it’s untinted, you won’t have any guide lines to see where you’ve applied it. On the other hand, it’s so nourishing and mild enough for the face, that you’ll probably want to use it everywhere. Plus, without bronzer, it won’t stain your clothes or your sheets.
Moreover, there’s no artificial fragrance or parabens. Instead, there’s Odour Remove Technology that practically wipes out the awkward self-tanning odor. It’s not surprising that Allure bestowed a Best of Beauty Award on this product.
- 70% organic and packed with soothing plant oils and antioxidants
- Buildable color that darkens each day you use it, creating a natural-looking tan
- Odor Remove Technology means no artificial fragrance and no sunless tanning odor
- Mild enough for sensitive skin, even the face
- Hydration lasts up to seventy-two hours
- Best of Beauty Award winner
- Not cheap, but worth every penny
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Mousse
Why wait for twenty-four hours to find out if your self tanner worked or not? With this express tanning mousse, it only takes an hour to make your skin glow a golden bronze. If you wait up to three hours before washing, you’ll see it at its deepest shade.
The mousse has a velvety texture that goes on smoothly. It has caramel to give it a slight tint to help you see where you’ve applied it.
Furthermore, it’s made with high-quality natural DHA. This is dihydroxyacetone, the active tanning ingredient. It browns your skin kind of like what happens when you slice an apple. You may notice a slight burned odor – that’s the DHA interacting with the protein in your skin. It fades after a few hours. (We kind of like the smell because it reminds us of summertime).
Now, there’s something you should know about sunless tanning mousse. It’s really best to apply it with a mitt or a glove. Think about your makeup and how it turns out smoother if you use a brush or sponge. The applicator mitt ensures even coverage and it keeps your hand from absorbing too much mousse.
It takes about one pump per arm and perhaps two per leg. Smooth on the mousse with long strokes and save your knees, elbows, knuckles, and heels for the last when there’s not much product left on the glove. Pull off the glove and swipe it on your hand to finish up. The skin will feel sticky for a few minutes as the tanner absorbs.
The lovely bronze color should last for about a week and fade naturally as your skin exfoliates. You can maintain it with gradual tanning lotion like the one above.
Although modern formulas don’t turn the skin orange, it can happen if you use alkaline soap. Switch to a body wash that’s pH-balanced or get a pH-neutralizing spray like professional salons use before spray tanning.
If your skin looks splotchy, it could be that you sweated or got it wet somehow before the DHA finished developing the color. It could also mean that your skin is insufficiently moisturized. Try using gradual tanning lotion to smooth over the uneven spots. By the next day, it should look fine.
- Rapid self tanning within one hour
- Deeper color after three hours
- From one of the leading brands in sunless tanning
- Paraben-free and lightly fragranced
- Application is easier with a latex glove or an applicator mitt
Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray
Skip the mitt and go for a spray instead. This can sprays at any angle so it’s a snap to reach those awkward spots all by yourself. But can a spray tanning mist do as good a job as rubbing in the product yourself?
Fortunately, this mist is ultra-fine. Practice with it and you’ll see it covers the skin evenly. You shouldn’t have to rub in anything once you get the hang of using it. It doesn’t streak, plus you can build the color by applying it again the next day.
The formula dries in about five minutes. It’s non-comedogenic and even somewhat beneficial for acne-prone skin as it’s oil-free and has witch hazel, a natural astringent.
What’s more, it doesn’t have a strong odor and doesn’t leave the skin sticky. It doesn’t rub off on clothes, either. The only downside is that it contains parabens.
Users say that one can is good for approximately five full-body applications.
- Ultra-fine mist lays down even coverage without the need to rub in product
- Non-comedogenic and infused with witch hazel
- Sprayer works at every angle
- Buildable color with repeated applications
- Contains parabens
- Be careful with the continuous spray setting as it can waste product
Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle
This brand created their self tanner with a green-gray base. The idea is to prevent orange tones. But it may also help neutralize reddish stretch marks.
Moreover, this is the best-smelling sunless tanning product we’ve come across. It’s a guava and mango tropical fragrance that wards off the typical toasty smell. Thankfully, the fragrance isn’t overwhelming.
Smooth on the mousse and you’ll start to see your tan in just two hours. Since it contains both DHA and erythrulose, the gorgeous color may last for a couple of days longer. Plus, each can is good for up to twenty full body treatments.
Other benefits include the fact that it’s vegan and cruelty-free. It’s infused with plenty of antioxidants from cocoa, papaya, and fig, too.
This kit also includes a velvety soft applicator mitt and kabuki brush for perfect coverage.
- Pleasant tropical fragrance and less sunless tanning odor than similar products
- Green-gray base prevents orange tones and may help neutralize reddish stretch marks
- Infused with natural extracts and antioxidants
- Each can lasts for up to twenty full-body treatments
- Comes in a kit with a kabuki brush and applicator mitt
- Not cheap, but has a diehard fan base
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs
Did you know that Airbrush Legs comes as either a spray or lotion now? The spray is the classic solution for hiding varicose veins, stretch marks, cellulite, and freckles. Once it’s dry, it’s resistant to water and transferring.
Don’t think of it as full coverage foundation – it’s about as good as wearing tan nylons. Dark-colored blemishes will still be visible. Still, you won’t have to deal with sunless tanning odor. This doesn’t bronze the skin as it’s basically makeup. Try a second coat if you’re not satisfied.
Is there a downside? We weren’t pleased to see that it contains parabens.
- Body makeup that minimizes everything from varicose veins to stretch marks
- Once dry, it resists water and rubbing off on clothes
- Available in a variety of shades
- Contains parabens
We hope our reviews helped you find the best self tanner to cover stretch marks today. If so, we’d love to hear about your experience with it. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.self.com/story/stretch-marks-normal-chrissy-teigen Stretch Marks Are Actually Completely Normal (And Incredibly Common) by Korin Miller, published January 19, 2017, accessed July 29, 2021
2. https://www.leaf.tv/4463519/how-to-hide-stretch-marks/ How to Hide Stretch Marks, by Melissa King, accessed July 29, 2021