| |

Best Self Tanners and Leg Makeup for Mature Skin

There’s been a lot of talk about warm weather essentials on AWSL lately. We’ve covered the Best Sun Hats to Protect Your Skin and Cruelty-Free Sunscreens for Mature Skin. I also touched on Modest Bathing Suits and Cover-ups You’ll Love, and we even talked about Comfortable, Yet Stylish Sandals for Problem Feet. This made me realize that I have neglected to talk about another absolute essential for me…self-tanner. Today I have rounded up the best cruelty-free self tanners and leg makeup for mature skin.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have extremely fair skin. My legs are glaringly white, which can cause the blue veins to stand out like on a roadmap. I didn’t know enough about the importance of sunscreens when I was younger and used baby oil with a splash of iodine which promised to “dye my skin.” That was also a major fail and only succeeded in marinating my skin for the resulting sunburn.

I don’t tan no matter how long I stay in the sun, so I need to rely on self tanners which have come a long way in the last few decades. After asking my readers and trying a few options myself, I decided to dive deep and find the best self tanners and leg makeup for mature skin.

self-tanners for mature skin

Does self tanner make you look older?

It really depends on who you ask! My personal opinion is no. I think that a little bit of (fake) color can add to your appearance and even give you a more youthful look when done right. To be honest, the best part about a self tanner is that it helps to camouflage any veins or bruises you may have. When I arrived in Florida last month, I found most of the other bloggers had gotten spray tans for the trip. It had never occurred to me, but it will next time.

What self-tanner is best for mature skin?

Tan-Luxe The Butter Tanning Butter


Let me start by saying that this tanning butter is a luscious moisturizer, even without the self-tanning properties. It contains Vitamin E, sweet almond oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and tons of other moisturizing oils. It smells lovely and feels super hydrating going on.

Best Self Tanner for Mature Skin

Here, I’ve applied TAN-LUXE The Butter Tanning Butter on the right and regular lotion on the left. You can see it quickly dialed down the pastiness in just four hours. You can apply it all over, but I’m only interested in adding color to my legs.

UPDATE: After trying the Tanning Butter, I noticed it began to rub off on my white towel after a few days. If I’d had dark towels, I don’t think I’d have seen it. I’m interested in trying the other options that Tan-Luxe has to offer to see if they stay on better because the color was very flattering. Some of the products from the brand are currently on sale at HSN if you want to try them here!

Isle of Paradise Tanning Drops

Isle of Paradise

I tried these very popular Isle of Paradise drops. I like that they’re organic because I try to avoid as many chemicals as possible. My daughter mixes them with her moisturizer and loves them. Unfortunately, I had a horrible time using them and ended up with an uneven and streaky tan/mess. I know many people swear by them, so I’m guessing it was user error. The brand also has quite a few other options, and almost all of them have five-star reviews, so I’m tempted to try the brand again.

Beauty by Earth Tanning Lotion

This one comes at the recommendation of an influencer. I was surprised to see that it has 19,000k+ reviews on Amazon, yet I’d never heard of the brand. It lives up to my cruelty-free and clean standards, so I’ve added the mousse to my cart to try in the fair/medium shade and will report back.

+ Lux Unfiltered

+ LUX UNFILTERED was co-founded by lifestyle blogger Sivan Ayla. This is another one I discovered on Amazon with amazing reviews. It’s non-toxic, cruelty-free, and vegan. I love that it has two scent options, Santal or Rosewood, instead of smelling like your normal, horrible self tanner.

Vita Liberata

As I was researching the best self tanners, I came across this brand that’s cruelty-free and has a variety of products. The Gradual Tanning Lotion received Allure’s 2020 Best of Beauty Award, so I’m planning on trying it.

Saint Tropez

This was one of the most recommended body and face self tanners from the AWSL community. Be sure to buy the mitt for easy application of this mousse, so it doesn’t get everywhere or stain your hands.

  • “As for the rest of my body, I really like St. Tropez self tanning foam. You use a mitt to apply it, and it’s very natural looking.” – KATIE

Why I Don’t Use Jergens Anymore

I used to use the Natural Glow by Jergens for many years. While the brand does meet cruelty-free standards in the USA and has it on the label, the brand as a whole is not cruelty-free. To be clear, Jergens does not test on animals, but they are sold in mainland China which demands it is tested on animals to be sold there. They allow animal testing by a third party “where required by law”. The bottom line is the dollar is more important than their commitment not to support animal testing.

Body and Leg Makeup

I noticed a lot of readers talking about how they like to use body makeup on their legs. While I haven’t ever done that, I can see the advantages. This is a quick solution that I would consider using for something like a wedding or wearing a dress.

  • Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup: This came highly recommended by many of you. In the reviews, you’ll notice that many use it to cover up tattoos and show you before/after pictures. If you have any bruises, I think this would cover them up!
  • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs:
    • “I have used Sally Hansen leg makeup for years. Yes, you have to apply it daily as it washes off so it might not last if you swim! It does not come off on the bed linen and takes just a couple of minutes to apply, and you are able to see it go on evenly, no streaking.” – FRAN
  • Westmore Beauty Body Coverage Perfector:
    • “Self-tanner doesn’t cover up veins or marks though, so when I’m going out somewhere and feeling self-couscious, I use Westmore leg make-up as a nice smooth cover-up. It stays on and doesn’t drip or sweat off. It’s applied just like a lotion would be.” – NANCY
  • Extra Large Body Makeup Brush: This helps to create a non-streaky finish and blend things to look natural.

Do you have any self tanners to add to the list? Are you a fan of leg makeup?

Thanks for reading, and have a great day.


  1. Here’s a tanner I’ve used for YEARS ! I like it a LOT, so thought I’d share it with you: Neutrogena MicroMist® Airbrush Sunless Tan
    MicroMist® Airbrush Sunless Tan.I think the ‘MicroMist’ application makes it look more ‘natural’. After I spray it on, to minimize streaking, I rub it in/on with my rubber gloved hand. I use the ‘fair lighter color b/c my skin is fair.

  2. Thanks for the information. I’ve tried several brands and types..most cause a rash after a couple applications. Best ones have been the drops and Beauty by Earth..also mix with my moisturizer. Spray tan looked good for a day or so, but then lots of brown spots that were hard to get off! LOVE the Westmore leg makeup. Great color and coverage right away. Just allow to dry and when dry rub over lightly with a soft mitt. Color does not transfer to clothes.

    1. That’s great to know. Thanks for sharing, Marge.

  3. Hi Jennifer. Thank you for your research. I’ll be waiting to see how they work for you. I have olive skin and tan easily so might react a little differently from your skin. I have tried so many of the self tanners and always, even if it is later in the evening, they start to smell. I can’t tolerate the smell at all! Many of the readers have mentioned that some smell much less than others but really none that don’t smell. Could you include that in your review of what you are planning to try? Thank you, I love your posts!

    1. I certainly will include the smell.

  4. Thanks for these tips. What is your favorite exfoliator for your legs?

      1. Dear Jennifer,
        Thank you for your inspiration. My Mom went home to Heaven in August 2023. She was the epitome of class, style, and elegance. I used to love shopping with her because she always brought so much fun and energy to the experience. Your inspirations have given me hope and renews confidence as you remind me of the importance of taking care of yourself. As woman, we are the nurturers and take care of so many, our God given character. Shopped just yesterday and purchased new clothes instead of second hand. Also tried on the clothes and discovered they fit me well. Thought of my Moms encouragement and yours as I encouraged myself to buy these Spring- Summer clothes. Thank you for all you do. God bless you sweet friend. 58 year old woman.

      2. I’m so very sorry to hear about your mom, Marcie. She sounds like an amazing woman. You’re right! We’re often so busy caring for others we often forget to care for ourselves. Self-care is so important!! I’m glad you’re here with us.

  5. Sharon Hughes says:

    I have just found your site on Pinterest. I loved this whole article! I have used the lotions from the drug stores….color is either too light, or doesn’t last at all….I used to use Tan Towels. They really do work well, but the smell was too much for me. I cannot stand the smell of anything I have used. Is there any tanner that doesn’t smell badly? I am definitely following you from now on!

    1. Welcome Sharon. I’m trying a new one this morning and will let everyone know!

  6. I sure liked the difference a tanning lotion made on your left leg. Vericose veins are such a bother. I’m tempted to try some tanner but I don’t want to have to worry about my sheets! Did I miss a rec’d for one that won’t rub off?

    1. Most will not rub off. The Jergens never rubbed off for me

  7. Wow: where have I been: I never considered using a self-tanner or covering my (unattractive) varicose veins behind my knees! I have thought of getting them removed… Nonetheless, this is a useful post, so thank you!

    1. Thank you for your information. I have used the Jergens Natural Glow and it works so well. I do tan naturally as I’m out doing yard work or going to the beach with the grandkids but the Jergens helps smooth out the places that don’t get coverage. I’d love to have your advice on best sunscreen 😊

  8. I have very fair skin with several scars from skin cancer ( baby oil w/ iodine and Crisco 😳). I have found Tan Towel has a nice color and does not streak. I am careful to apply it rubbing up my leg and overlapping. I apply it similar as to shaving my legs. However, I am sensitive to an ingredient in most tanning products so end up with a rash after several hours. Tan Towel is not so bad. I also use Isle Of Paradise drops. I mix with my lotion. It works well also.

    1. Crisco is a new one to me; you were really creative. But what did we know? Thanks for sharing the Tan Towel. They sound really user-friendly.

  9. Thanks Jennifer,
    I would love wearing more dresses in the summer but my legs always stop me. I tried tart leg makeup but it didn’t cover well enough. Will be interested in seeing your results! Really helpful posts lately!!

    1. I’m so glad you’re finding these helpful.

  10. Karin Carlson says:

    Thanks for these recs! Has anyone tried one that doesn’t accentuate age spots or should I try leg makeup?

    1. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking leg makeup would be best with spots.

  11. I use Jergans, but when summer comes, I use Lorea’l bronzing foam. I find it is darker, great color, spreads easily, and lasts longer.

    I might try the Vita lotion. Lot’s of options here, thank you.

  12. Janice in Ky says:

    I use the Lux Tan Butter that you mentioned in last years self tanning blog. I’m very pale and my legs just don’t tan very much at all. Use mostly on my legs as directed. Usually apply two days in a row and then reapply every two to three days. Main thing I find is making sure it is good and dry before fully dressing. After showering I put on my underwear then apply and while I’m standing applying my makeup it get good and dry and haven’t had any rubbing off . And best of all smells good.

    1. I do love the smell of the Tan Luxe, and it’s so moisturizing! I’m so glad it’s not rubbing off for you. Whew, I felt terrible that I’d recommended it and then had an issue.

  13. Anne Hester says:

    So glad you shared this post, as I am also super pasty white and the age where veins and bruises show. Never had much luck with self-tanners. I hope you will do a follow-up post after you have tried some of these recommendations.

    1. I will do a follow-up, Anne. One arrived today, so I’ll be trying it in the morning.

  14. I have used Jergens for many years. If you use too much it turns fake looking.
    I use it ever other day and it gives me good color.
    Thanks for all the good advice. 🌞

  15. Great article, thank you for your candid review. Since I stopped going to a tanning salon (yes I know not a good life choice) I realized my body is the color of a dead fishes belly. I’m very fair…I’ve used Jergens and really like the coverage..Now I’m using Tanologist Express Tan Mousse, found this at Ulta..The color lasts for a few days, I brought it on a cruise and I never felt like I was glowing so to speak.. I just ordered ST TROPEZ Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist for Women from Amazon..will see how that works. I know I feel better with at least a slight tan…When I was a teenager, it was iodine & cocoa butter…what did we know back in the 60’s???

    1. I hear you, Nancy. I trashed my skin with sun damage when I was young.

  16. I discovered beauty by earth self tanner a few years ago, and have never looked back. Wonderful product that works beautifully!

    1. Thank you so much Jodie.

  17. Michele in SC says:

    I’ve used Bondi Sands Liquid Gold mousse. It gives excellent color. The scent going on is pleasant, but then it dries down to that usual self-tanner smell. Definitely buy a mitt to apply this. I also really like the Isle of Paradise tanning drops. Those are the only self-tanner I’ve ever used that don’t have that funky smell. Thanks again for another excellent cruelty-free post!

    1. I knew I was using those drops wrong because they have such great reviews! Thanks for sharing the Bondi Sands with us.

  18. Deb Taylor says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share these with us! I am definitely going to try a couple of them. I was a dedicated tanning bed user for a long time when I was much younger, but those days are over! I used Jergens for many years because it was easy to find and a good price point. Then I started using St. Tropez which is my go-to for everyday in bare legs weather. The mitt makes it so easy to use and for me it does not turn orange or rub off once it’s dry. Many times people have asked where I’ve been on vacation! The key is to wear something loose afterwards so that it dries completely over several hours. And when it fades I start over by exfoliating and then reapply. I tried the Sally Hanson airbrush spray, but found the spray just doesn’t get the coverage like you can with a mitt plus the mist from the spray ends up on the floor. I find it messy for that reason. I think that using an exfoliant in the shower before using any self-tanner allows the product to adhere and soak in better. I also do salon spray tans for an event or a beach trip then use the St. Tropez to touch up as it begins to fade. Happy safe tanning ladies!

    1. I wondered about sprays for just that reason, Deb. Thanks for sharing your routine. I think exfoliating first is really important.

      1. Great post. Thank you for letting me know about Jergens. I’ll be trying something new!

  19. I’ve been using one from LimeLife by Alcone. It’s temporary and washes off with soap. I don’t use it real often, but since I don’t like wearing hosiery, I use it to camouflage the veins on my legs when wearing skirts/dresses.

    1. Thanks for sharing the brand with us.

  20. I use L’Oreal Sublime Bronze tanning lotion. Medium tan. I have used it for years. You do have to be careful when applying, making sure that you rub it in your skin completely or it will streak. It does not give a deep tan but I like that since the rest of my body has a light tan. I use it 2/3 times a week to get the desired effect. Wash your hands after applying.

    1. I think keeping it up every few days is the best way to keep the coverage even.

  21. Carolyn K says:

    I find that self tanners tend to magnify any age spots I have and therefore do not give an even look. I also have not found one that doesn’t give off that “self tanner smell” or turn my towels orange. I use the Sally Hansen Spray for a quick fix for an event. It covers imperfections but not practical for every day. I did a spray tan one time and thought it gave the best tan and natural looking coverage without a lot of odor. However, it lasted less than a week for me before it started streaking. I look forward to any feedback you garner from others as well as what you find yourself as you try these products. Thanks for all you do and all the good research.

    1. I’ve never had a spray tan, so thanks for the heads up about the duration and streaking.

  22. Cheryl spratt says:

    I also tried jergens but noticed after a few days that I had that orange appearance rather then that golden look. I will try one of the ones you listed to see if I can get a nicer look. Thanks so much

    1. Please let us know how it works for you.

  23. I’ve used self tanning on my legs prior to getting a tan and found that there are some do rub off which I wasn’t pleased with. Last one I used was Jergens and it didn’t rub off. What I liked about this one and the one you showed they don’t give that “orange look”. So many do and that’s a turn off.

  24. Thanks so much for this information about tanning …I am also very light skinned and never tan. I have given up on most products, but am anxious to try a few you recommended!

    1. Let us know how they work out for you.

  25. Thanks for all of this information……you are so good at what you do (clothing too). Have a great week end.

    1. Happy weekend, Robin.

  26. I too have fair skin and have tried many products. I scored when I found Bronze Fox by Farmhouse Fresh. I mix it with my foundation & moisturizer. It gives me the glow I was looking for. The product is organic & natural, cruelty free and woman owned.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Lynn. I’ll check them out!

  27. I just purchased and used for the first time, Beauty by Earth tanner. I have VERY fair skin, never get a tan. I did however, buy the medium to dark as my experience in the past has been that the “fair” shades hardly give you a tan look at all.
    I am very happy with my first application. I alway begin by moisturizing my knees and ankles with a small amount of plain lotion. Then, I used about a quarter size dollop of tanner and added some plain lotion to that. This way I get a very even, streak free tan. I look forward to hearing how the Fair to medium works for you.

    1. I have never thought to put moisturizer on my knees and ankles first. That’s genius, thanks, I will try that.

  28. Good to know about all the different self tanners. I’ve always used Jergens and have been happy. I really like the section on leg makeup as I have so many spots. Dermablend is what I’ve used but have been curious about Westmore leg. Thanks for all the great info.

    1. Many readers do love that Dermablend!

  29. Blanche E. Marchitto says:

    I have recently joined your site and am just enjoying all the topics and recommendations you give us!

    1. Welcome, Blanche! I’m so glad you’ve joined us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *