Jergens's Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer Is Still the Most Foolproof Self-Tanner on the Market

The gradual self-tanning lotion slowly and subtly darkens skin — on a drugstore budget.

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Readers Choice Awards Jergens Natural Glow
Allure/Clara Hendler
Best of Beauty
  • Best of Beauty
  • 2019, 2018, 2017
Readers' Choice
  • Readers' Choice
  • 2020, 2019, 2014
TL;DR:
What It Is: A lightweight, gradual self-tanner that adds a subtle glow to the skin
What It Does: Subtly darkens the skin and adds a natural-looking glow
Who It's For: Anyone who wants to look a touch tanner without getting sun damage

Something ironic about me: I spent my childhood in the not-so-tropical state of New Jersey, where I was tan — anywhere between a little and whoa — the entire time; it wasn't until I moved to South Florida as a teenager that I actively started avoiding the sun and embracing my consequent natural paleness. A staunch advocate of sunscreen since then, I've had sporadic desires to look tan again, but self-tanners repeatedly disappointed me. Well, it wasn't entirely their fault — I happen to be terrible at applying self-tanners evenly — but the ones that launched in my younger years weren't exactly foolproof. In fact, it wasn't until 2005 that I discovered the only self-tanner that satisfied my desire for the occasional subtle tan and could handle my hopelessly haphazard application technique: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. And today, 15 years later, it's still what I turn to if I want to give my legs a little color when I know I'll be wearing a leg- or arm-exposing outfit.

I say "when I know I'll be wearing" because Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer is unlike other self-tanners that develop noticeable results within a few hours. Instead, you see a more gradual, accumulative shift in color over the course of a week, letting you self-assuredly prepare a few days in advance for an event you'd like to look glowy at. Although it includes the DHA that gives all self-tanners their ability to give skin a golden tint, it's essentially diluted in the glycerin-packed lotion to allow you to apply it generously like a regular body lotion and not suffer the consequences you might if you applied a traditional self-tanner with semi-reckless abandon.

The formula has beautiful slip for such a thick lotion, which is one of the reasons it's so hard to mess up the resulting tan — it just blends so nicely. Like with conventional self-tanners, it's still best to avoid loading Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer onto dryer areas like ankles and knees; that may seem to defeat the moisturizer aspect of the formula, but a little really does go a long way in hydrating those spots.

And just like the color is more subtle than that of the full-blown self-tanners you may be used to, so is the scent. Sure, brands have come a long way in masking that telltale DHA smell, but Jergens mastered that long before the rest, and it's only gotten more pleasant to use and smell in recent years.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer just keeps wracking up the Allure awards, with the 2020 Readers' Choice Awards being its latest honor, so if you've been curious about the exception so many self-tanner-phobes have raving about for over a decade, it's time to grab yourself a bottle for less than $10.