Tanning Mousse vs Lotion, Spray and Drops

 There are four different types of self tanning products you can use and each are used differently. The four different types are mousse, lotion, spray and drops. All four of these self tanners have DHA in it to make your skin tan. However, they are all used differently and for different areas of the body. For example, I would NEVER use tanning drops to tan my entire body, it is a misuse of product and a waste of money. So what do you choose? 


  1. Using a self tanning mousse is my favorite way to get a sunless tan if I am super pale. 
  2. A mousse is going to give you the most even and easy application. You always use a mitt to apply a self tan mousse unlike the other types of self tanners which allows for an easier and even application. 
  3. A self tan mousse is going to give you the fastest full body tan, with our mousse you only have to wait 8 hours for a beautiful natural looking tan. You can also use a rapid or express (same thing) self tan mousse that you only have to keep on for 2-4 hours depending on how tan you want to be, 2 hours light, 3 hours medium and 4 hours dark. Do not go over the 4 hour mark with a rapid self tan mousse or you risk it over developing and turning you orange. 
  4. It will give you the darkest full body tan result, unlike a lotion where it is a gradual tan that takes a few days to produce a dark tan.


  1. I recommend using a lotion when you already have a base tan and you want to maintain it or gradually have a darker tan.
  2. A lotion is gradual, meaning it will take 5-7 days to give you a dark tan. If you prefer something very subtle this could be a good option for you, you can also purchase a light self tan mousse.
  3. You have to use your hands to apply the tanning lotion and wash your hands with soap right after applying it or the tanner can get on your hands.
  4. It takes longer than self tan mousse to rub into your body, I find that I really have to work the product into my skin for it to be blended.


  1. I do not recommend using a spray for your whole body, you will end up with an uneven application. It is too hard to spray the self tanner and expect the mist to get in all the right areas. I am a professional spray tan artist and spray solution after being trained and still can’t do it on myself. I do not recommend a spray for a full body tan.
  2. They do make sprays that are just for your face, and that is fine to use as it is a small area. When you are using this product, close your eyes and spray your face in four sections, the left forehead, right forehead, left cheek, and right cheek. Spraying in those four sections should get your entire face. Most face sprays are “water” based, that just means that there is not bronzer in the product so you won’t see an instant tan. Any self tanning water product will take time to see the results.


  1. I love self tanning drops, but they are only meant to be used on your face. Do NOT do a full body application with drops, it will be uneven and is not cost effective. 
  2. Tanning drops are amazing because you can still do your skincare routine, where other face tanners you can only use that product or your face won’t get tan. I add the drops into my face oil or moisturizer and then apply it to my face. 
  3. You apply the tanning drops with your hands so make sure you wash your hands with soap right after applying the product to your face.
  4. It will say on the bottle how many drops to use on your face, I recommend starting with 2 and then working your way up to 4-6 drops. Each self tanning drop product will have a different level of DHA (what makes you tan), so start out small and add the next day if you want a deeper face tan.

Each type of self tanning product is different, I hope you can make a better decision on what you should use after reading what each one is for. If you are still hesitant, start with a self tan mousse in the shade medium, like the Sunless Rae Self Tan Mousse. This shade has a lower DHA level, which makes it more forgiving, easier to apply and if you want to be darker you can add another coat the next day. You can also apply self tan mousse to your face with the applicator mitt. 

Xoxo, Rae

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