• Top 9 Best Japanese Tanning Lotions in 2021 - Tried and True! | mybest 1
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  • Top 9 Best Japanese Tanning Lotions in 2021 - Tried and True! | mybest 3
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Top 9 Best Japanese Tanning Lotions in 2021 - Tried and True! | mybest

Is your skin looking pale and sickly after months spent indoors? Do you want a healthy golden-brown glow without lying in the sun and risking a burn? Tanning lotion is what you need! But there are so many good brands, how can you choose the best one? That's why our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping for the best Japanese tanning lotions available online. 


We then picked out the most popular products and tested them in-house. We focused on four things:


  1. How does it look?
  2. How does the color last?
  3. Is it easy to apply?
  4. Ingredients

We then ranked the products and put what we learned into a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese tanning lotions available online.


  • Last updated: 05-29-2021
  • 186 views
Table of Contents

Tanning Lotion 101

Tanning Lotion 101

Do you want that golden glow without being exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays? Of course! Tanning lotions are what can get you there.


They contain dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which provides the color change you seek. The ingredients only penetrate as far as the stratum corneum, or the surface of the skin. So, even though they're hard to wash off in a bath or shower, the color naturally fades as your skin replenishes itself.


This makes them safe to use and means the color will appear in a few hours and last for a few days to a week. If you have an event coming up and want to look your best, these sunless tanning lotions are a great choice.

Top 9 Best Japanese Tanning Lotions

We picked out some of the most popular products and tested them for formula, ease of use, finish, and how well the color lasted. Then, based on our tests, we ranked the top 9 Japanese tanning lotions available online.

Japanese prices for some of the products are given, but they've been converted into US dollars to make it easy for you.

1

NurbsSelf Tanning Lotion Contest Black

$35.36

JapaneseNURBSセルフタンニングローション コンテストブラック ナーブスローション01
TypeLotion
Amount6.76 fl. oz.
Finish4.0
Lasting power4.0
Ease of use2.4
Ingredients3.0
Overall score3.7
2

Fuji ChemicalBronze Magic DX

$19.27

Japaneseフジケミカルセルフタンニングローション ブロンズマジックDX
TypeLotion
Amount10.14 fl. oz.
Finish3.5
Lasting power4.0
Ease of use2.8
Ingredients3.2
Overall score3.6
3
JapaneseIDEAブロンズターナー セルフタンニングローション
TypeLotion
Amount5.07 fl. oz.
Finish3.0
Lasting power3.5
Ease of use2.8
Ingredients3.8
Overall score3.3
4

CBKomugihada

$27.54

JapaneseCB小麦肌 セルフタンニングローション
TypeLotion
Amount10.14 fl. oz.
Finish3.5
Lasting power3.5
Ease of use2.2
Ingredients3.2
Overall score3.3
5

Chez MoiLe Ciel Roll-On Tanning Lotion

$18.21

JapaneseシェモアLe Ciel セルフタンニングローション ロールオンタイプ
TypeLotion
Amount1.35 fl. oz.
Finish3.0
Lasting power3.5
Ease of use1.8
Ingredients5.0
Overall score3.3
6

DRPowder-in Fake Tanning Lotion

$8.09

Japaneseディーアールフェイクタンニングローション
TypeLotion
Amount5.07 fl. oz.
Finish2.5
Lasting power3.5
Ease of use1.6
Ingredients2.5
Overall score2.8
7

Ishizawa LabSelf Tanning Lotion 100

$28.32

Japanese石澤研究所セルフタンニングローション100
TypeLotion
Amount5.07 fl. oz.
Finish2.0
Lasting power3.0
Ease of use3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall score2.6
8

BiprotecCoeur de Beau Seltan Essence

$24.83

Japaneseビープロテッククードボーセルタンエッセンス
TypeEssence
Amount5.07 fl. oz.
Finish2.5
Lasting power2.5
Ease of use2.8
Ingredients1.5
Overall score2.4
9

MakeUpMagicNAJAKuro Tanning Gel

$38.43

JapaneseMakeUpMagicNAJAタンニングジェルKURO
TypeGel
Amount6.76 fl. oz.
Finish2.5
Lasting power3.8
Ease of use2.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall score1.0

Compare the Best Japanese Tanning Lotions

Image
1
Nurbs Self Tanning Lotion Contest Black 1

Nurbs

2
Fuji Chemical Bronze Magic DX 1

Fuji Chemical

3
Idea Bronze Turner 1

Idea

4
CB Komugihada 1

CB

5
Chez Moi Le Ciel Roll-On Tanning Lotion 1

Chez Moi

6
DR Powder-in Fake Tanning Lotion 1

DR

7
Ishizawa Lab Self Tanning Lotion 100 1

Ishizawa Lab

8
Biprotec Coeur de Beau Seltan Essence 1

Biprotec

9
MakeUpMagicNAJA Kuro Tanning Gel 1

MakeUpMagicNAJA

Name

Self Tanning Lotion Contest Black

Bronze Magic DX

Bronze Turner

Komugihada

Le Ciel Roll-On Tanning Lotion

Powder-in Fake Tanning Lotion

Self Tanning Lotion 100

Coeur de Beau Seltan Essence

Kuro Tanning Gel

Features

mybest's Top Choice! The Finish is Paramount

Tanning Lotion That Gets More Intense Over Time

Easy to Use and Great Finish Makes for a Well-Rounded Product

If the Color Suits Your Skin Tone, It's a Good Buy

A Small Roll-On Type Perfect for Spot Treatments

Smooth, Matte Finish but a Bit Tricky to Use

Non-Streaky, Light Color That's Great for Second Coats

Convenient to Use, but Watch for Streaks

Spreads Well, but it Could be Easier to Use

Price$35.36$19.27$40.23$27.54$18.21$8.09$28.32$24.83$38.43
JapaneseNURBSセルフタンニングローション コンテストブラック ナーブスローション01フジケミカルセルフタンニングローション ブロンズマジックDXIDEAブロンズターナー セルフタンニングローションCB小麦肌 セルフタンニングローションシェモアLe Ciel セルフタンニングローション ロールオンタイプディーアールフェイクタンニングローション石澤研究所セルフタンニングローション100ビープロテッククードボーセルタンエッセンスMakeUpMagicNAJAタンニングジェルKURO
TypeLotionLotionLotionLotionLotionLotionLotionEssenceGel
Amount6.76 fl. oz.10.14 fl. oz.5.07 fl. oz.10.14 fl. oz.1.35 fl. oz.5.07 fl. oz.5.07 fl. oz.5.07 fl. oz.6.76 fl. oz.
Finish4.03.53.03.53.02.52.02.52.5
Lasting power4.04.03.53.53.53.53.02.53.8
Ease of use2.42.82.82.21.81.63.02.82.0
Ingredients3.03.23.83.25.02.53.01.52.0
Overall score3.73.63.33.33.32.82.62.41.0
Link

How We Tested the Japanese Tanning Lotions

How We Tested the Japanese Tanning Lotions

We put each of the tanning lotions through four tests. We wanted to know:


  1. Does it look natural?
  2. Does the color last and not change?
  3. Is it easy to work with?
  4. Does it have good ingredients?

Then we gave them a score from 0.5 to 5 and ranked them.

Please note that the products listed in the ranking were independently scored after our editorial staff tested them. In addition, we do not guarantee you will see the exact results we did. Please read the product descriptions carefully before choosing.

Test ① Finish

Test ① Finish

Our first priority was to check how the products actually turned out. One of our wonderful staff let us apply each lotion on his back one by one in its own taped-off section.


We made him take his shirt off again after five hours and then one week later to check the color development. We were looking to see how natural it was and if there was any unevenness or streaking.

Yellowy-Orange Looks Unnatural, and Deep Coloration is Hard to Get Smooth

Yellowy-Orange Looks Unnatural, and Deep Coloration is Hard to Get Smooth

We saw a range of tones develop from the different lotions. Some had a strong yellow or orange tint that looked noticeably unnatural on our test subject.


It's not that these would be bad for every person, because we all have different skin tones, but you need one that suits your own natural shade. Take our analysis into account to decide which ones would work on you.


Streaking is another thing you want to avoid, and we found it harder with the lotions that tinted more powerfully. Consider choosing one which only provides a light color and plan to apply a few coats, especially if you're not confident in your ability to get an even finish.

Test ② Lasting Power

Test ② Lasting Power

There's great color, and then there's great color that lasts. We evaluated each one after a week to see how they'd changed in tone or faded, if at all.

Light Ones are Great for Re-Application, and Some Got Darker as Time Went On!

Light Ones are Great for Re-Application, and Some Got Darker as Time Went On!

The lotions that started off with a natural-looking color tended to stay that way. Ones that only provided a subtle tint were good for re-applying after several days, which is a great way to avoid streaking.


Some even showed a deeper color one week later than on the first day we applied them. It seems you need to know the properties of each product to plan ahead for the look you want.

Test ③ Usability

Test ③ Usability

Since a lot of people will use their self-tanner on a regular basis, it's important that it's easy to apply. Five of us checked the feel, ease of use and scent of the products. We averaged out each tester's results to maintain fairness.

A Strong Alchohol Smell and Drips Made Us Sad

A Strong Alchohol Smell and Drips Made Us Sad

Two things stood out in this test: the smell and the dripping.


We were not fond of ones that had a strongly alcoholic odor. They're just not pleasant to use. Also, many lotion types had a thin viscosity which dripped easily. A lot of our testers said, "I'm worried about it all coming out of the bottle at once."

Test ④ Ingredients

Test ④ Ingredients

We looked at the label to see if the tanning lotions contained any commonly-recommended moisturizers and skin conditioners. Instead of taking away points for bad ingredients, we added points for good ones to get our scores.


Want to know what ingredients we were looking for? Scroll down to the "How to Choose" section below!

Limited Ingredients Can Make a Great Product - Sometimes Less is More

Limited Ingredients Can Make a Great Product - Sometimes Less is More

Since there's only one ingredient you need to get the color change that's the main point of using a tanning lotion, anything else could be considered extra. Some of the great ingredients we found in our top scorers in this category were ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and collagen.


Some contain plant extracts as well. Don't make your decision based only on the images in our tests or on the product's page. Check out the formula and make sure that will work for you, too.

How to Choose a Japanese Tanning Lotion - Buying Guide

We recommend keeping these four points in mind when trying to find the perfect tanning lotion for you.

Find the Right Finish and Shade

Find the Right Finish and Shade

Each product is unique, and each user is unique! Some lotions are yellower, some browner; some develop their color all at once, while others reach peak performance after a bit of time; and some are subtle whereas others are deeply pigmented.


Your skin tone will obviously affect the results too. One that comes out bronze on one person could look orange on another. Until you know what you're looking for, we recommend choosing one that's natural for you and doesn't overdo it.


Of course, it's really hard to know until you try the lotion! So use our pictures and descriptions to roughly guide you, and take our tester's skin tone into account.

Think About Your Tanning Timeframe

Think About Your Tanning Timeframe

Tanning lotions vary in how long they keep their color. Most will give you a gradual fading over a week, but some disappear after just a few days. Make sure to check our results; we took photos of the application day and one week after for you to compare.


You can use these to help you plan when you need to put on the lotion to have the most flattering look on the day you really want it.

Choose a Type That Spreads Well and Doesn't Drip

Choose a Type That Spreads Well and Doesn't Drip

Most of the ones on our list are lotions, but other forms are available. A lotion has a smooth, refreshing feel and is less likely to produce streaks. Gel is nice because it balances refreshing and moisturizing and doesn't drip much.


Creams are great if you're concerned about dryness, but you may have trouble getting an even finish with them. Spray is perfect for hard-to-reach places like the back and neck but is quite difficult to apply evenly, so be careful.


The main thing is to get something you can achieve an even look with. If you can't spread it evenly, it could come out looking unnatural. For beginners, thicker lotions and gels will be the easiest to work with. These are also suitable for your face, where any streaks would really stand out.

Look for Moisturizers and Skin Conditioners for Added Bonuses

Look for Moisturizers and Skin Conditioners for Added Bonuses

If you're trying to get tan without exposing yourself to the sun's UV rays, you're probably already concerned about taking good care of your skin. Some ingredients can help you avoid dryness and improve the condition of your skin. Let's look at a few.


Good moisturizing ingredients are aloe vera juice and extract, ceramides, proteoglycan, sphingolipids, hyaluronic acid, amino acids such as arginine, glycine and serine, collagen, glycerin, butylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, and sodium PCA.


Some skin conditioners you might find are dipotassium glycyrrhizate, an anti-inflammatory from licorice root; allantoin, coix extract, and vitamin C. If you have sensitive skin, remember to always do a patch test and check all the ingredients carefully!

Tips and Precautions for Using Tanning Lotions

If you're new to self-tanning, read this advice before trying it out!

Preparation Leads to a Beautiful Finish

Preparation Leads to a Beautiful Finish

For the best results, prepare your skin first! We recommend shaving or otherwise removing unwanted hair and exfoliating. Using a scrub to remove dead skin cells before application is a good idea. You also want to apply the tanner to clean, dry skin, so take a shower and towel off well.

Get an Even Finish With Sponges and Mitts

Get an Even Finish With Sponges and Mitts

To get a golden glow that looks natural, you have to avoid streaks by applying the lotion evenly. Using your bare hands is not recommended, as it is hard to control the application and also colors your palm!


Instead, soak a makeup sponge with tanner and spread it over your skin in a thin layer. Wear rubber or vinyl gloves for the entire process, except when you need to do the back of your hands. You might even be able to get a product that comes with mitts or a sponge in a set.

To Go Dark, Plan to Re-Apply After a Few Days

To Go Dark, Plan to Re-Apply After a Few Days

For a solid, deep color, think about applying the tanning lotion over several days rather than all at once. Try to put it on every two or three days, and be patient - this will get you the best results.


This way you can also make adjustments to the color gradually. Going for a lot at once is just asking for streaks and an uneven finish, so stick with thin, smooth applications.

Have Dark-Colored, Loose Clothes Ready

Have Dark-Colored, Loose Clothes Ready

When the product is dry, in most cases it won't fade because the stratum corneum layer of the skin is tinted. But sweat can still make some of it come off and transfer to your clothing. Plan to wear dark colors and loose-fitting clothes to minimize any pigment transfer, especially until it completely sets.


if you do notice stains on your clothes, wash them immediately! These products are meant to stay on your skin, so they'll do that on your outfits, too.

Get Ready to Get a Great Tan

Get Ready to Get a Great Tan

As we mentioned, a little preparation can make your self-tanning experience easier and give you the results you're after. Here are some products that can help you with that!

Summary

mybest looked at the most popular Japanese tanning lotions available online and tested them all. We found that the while the right color for each person varies, we'd recommend looking for ones that you can apply in layers over several days for the most natural-looking results.


We hoped you found a great Japanese tanning lotion you want to try out! Remember to do a patch test, even if you don't have sensitive skin, just to make sure the color works on you.


Translation: Susan Lucier-Ogawa

Ranking date: 6/27/2019


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