BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Best Bronzing Mousse

Updated October 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
St. Tropez
Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
Check Price
Best for Experts
Bottom Line

Provides a bronze glow once fully developed. This water mousse is ideal for experienced self-tanners.


Featuring a lightweight and moisturizing formula, this bronzing water mousse leaves skin tan, soft, and glowing. Great for vacations or regular use, this formula dries fast and develops within hours.


May be challenging for beginners to get full coverage as the mousse goes on clear.

Best Bang for the Buck
b. tan tanned AF Darkest Sunless Tanner Mouse
b. tan
tanned AF Darkest Sunless Tanner Mouse
Check Price
Budget Friendly
Bottom Line

If you are looking for a self-tanner that produces a deep, realistic tan, this is the one to choose.


Dark-tanning option that delivers quick, natural-looking results in about an hour and a dark tan in about 4 hours. Doesn't contain parabens and is cruelty-free. Vegan formula. Offers a pleasant scent that isn't overpowering.


The consistency isn't as thick as others we considered, which makes it somewhat messy to apply.

L'Oreal Paris Skincare Sublime Bronze Water Mousse
L'Oreal Paris
Sublime Bronze Water Mousse
Check Price
Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

From a reliable brand name, this offers a streak-free, non-transfer, glowing tan.


With a quick-drying formula, this water mousse goes on easily, dries fast, and develops in 4-8 hours, leaving you with a glow that lasts up to 3 days. Layer for a longer-lasting tan! The coconut water and vitamin E in it leave skin soft and hydrated.


Has a tropical coconut scent to it, which some didn’t enjoy.

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Tanning Mousse
Natural Glow Instant Sun Tanning Mousse
Check Price
Best for Beginners
Bottom Line

With a color that's easy to see right away, this is ideal for beginner self-tanners.


This mousse dries fast and is easy to apply. If you're new to bronzing mousses, this option is for you. Available in both light and deep bronze, this product gives a subtle and natural-looking tan. Great for a skin-kissed glow that's not too dramatic.


Fades quickly. Needs regular reapplication in order to last.

St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse
‎St. Tropez
Self-Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse
Check Price
Premium Option
Bottom Line

A light, fast-drying, self-tanning mousse that's easy to use and natural looking.


A lightweight mousse that is easy to apply and spreads effortlessly with the included applicator mitt. Buildable color gives users a natural look. Doesn't have a strong, pungent odor like other self-tanners.


A few have complained that it left stains on their clothes.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

Category cover

Buying guide for best bronzing mousse

If you love the look of sun-kissed skin but not the damage caused by the sun's rays, you've probably applied bronzers to mimic the look of a tan. Bronzers in the form of lotions, gels, liquids, sprays, and powders are popular, but did you know that bronzing mousse is also available? Bronzing mousse works similarly to other self-tanners but has the added benefit of a foam-like consistency that's easy to control. These products resist dripping, absorb into the skin easily, and dry fairly quickly. The result for most users is a gorgeous glow.

Most bronzing mousses provide dual benefits when it comes to faking tanned skin. They’re tinted, so the results are instant, and they contain ingredients that interact with the skin to develop a “tan” that deepens over several hours after application and lasts as long as a week. Many products are also made with plant-based oils and extracts that nourish and moisturize for skin that feels as good as it looks. Most brands can be used on the face and body.

Not sure which bronzing mousse to buy? BestReviews can simplify your decision with our informative buying guide.

Content Image
As you use bronzing mousse to build your tan, it’s best to space the applications two to three days apart. This will give your skin a natural transition without looking suddenly and artificially bronze.

Key considerations

How does bronzing mousse work?

Bronzing mousse works in two ways to make your skin look like you just returned from a sunny beach vacation. In addition to pigments that tint your skin much like bronzing makeup, most formulas also contain a sugar-derived substance called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that interacts with the top layer of the skin. It basically causes dead skin cells to change color, which lasts until the cells begin to slough away.

Most sunless tans developed by bronzing mousse last anywhere from four to seven days and look natural as they fade. However, you can maintain your foam-induced tan by applying your favorite bronzing mousse every few days.

How to use a bronzing mousse

Prepare your skin. Shower, shave, and exfoliate before you use a bronzing mousse for a uniform tan.

Follow the instructions. You’ll achieve the best results when you use the bronzing mousse as directed. Instructions are typically printed on the bottle.

Protect your clothing. Like most sunless tanning products, bronzing mousse can leave marks on fabric. Don’t wear anything you don’t want to become discolored while you apply the mousse.

Work swiftly. Many consumers love how quickly bronzing mousse absorbs into the skin and dries, but the downside is that you can end up with patches or streaks if it dries in spots before you’ve applied it on all areas you want to tan.

Give it time. Even though many bronzing mousses are tinted, it takes several hours after application for your skin to interact with the DHA. For best results, avoid rubbing your skin, swimming, and showering for four to eight hours after you’ve applied a bronzing mousse.

Repeat as preferred. While most bronzing mousses provide instant color, they’re also buildable. If your tan isn’t as dark as you’d like, you can apply the mousse again until you’ve achieved your desired look.


Bronzing mousse works like other self-tanners, but there are a few features to think about before you buy.


The foamy texture of bronzing mousse is typically lightweight and fluffy. Unlike some lotions and oils, it doesn’t tend to drip when you apply it. Also, it absorbs quickly, which cuts down on drying time and mess.


Just like other self-tanning products, many brands that make bronzing mousse offer it in various shades from light to medium and medium to dark.


In addition to DHA, which is the key ingredient for creating a lasting tan, many quality bronzing mousses also contain ingredients like vitamins, antioxidants, and plant-based oils and extracts that moisturize and nourish the skin.

For many consumers, what a product doesn’t contain is as important as what it does. Fortunately for them, there are bronzing mousses available that aren’t made with sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and other artificial and harsh ingredients. Some brands are also cruelty-free.


If you’ve ever used mousse for your hair, you know what to expect of a bronzing mousse applicator. The bottle includes a pump top that spritzes out a puff of mousse every time you push on it.


Bronzing mousse varies in quantity from brand to brand, but bottles typically contain 4 to 8 ounces of product.


Achieving a realistic faux tan without streaks or uneven spots is possible with bronzing mousses when you follow the instructions and tips. But having a few helpful products on hand before you start can take your results to the next level. Check out these products that will be useful whenever it’s time to bronze and glow.

Loofah: CraftsOfEgypt Egyptian Loofahs
Exfoliating your skin before applying any self-tanning product will give you more even results by eliminating rough patches and bumps. That’s why we like the CraftsOfEgypt 100% natural organic loofahs. They have a naturally textured finish that polishes skin and makes it feel soft and look refreshed. You get three loofahs that can be trimmed to fit various uses and a storage bag to keep them clean and organized.  

Mitt: Skinerals Self-Tanning Mitt Set
Some bronzing mousses come with a mitt for application, but not all do. The Skinerals mitt set includes a full-size padded mitt for applying self-tanner on larger areas of the body and a small contour mitt for the face. Both are made of soft microfiber material that distributes product evenly. We’re also excited that the set includes an exfoliating glove for keeping your skin soft and smooth.

Robe: Alexander Del Rossa Fleece Robe
It’s a good idea to wear something loose-fitting and casual while your bronzing mousse dries and sets, and a robe is an excellent option. Alexander Del Rossa makes quality robes for men and women in soft, durable fleece. In addition to classic white, these robes are available in darker colors that are better for self-tanners, since any transfer stains won’t be noticeable. 

Bronzing mousse prices

Whether you’re on a limited budget, you’re new to using bronzing mousse and don't want to spend a lot to give it a try, or you prefer a premium brand, chances are you'll find a bronzing mousse to fit your needs.

Inexpensive: Many bronzing mousses that are made by popular drugstore brands cost between $10 and $15.

Mid-range: Products in the $15 to $30 range work well for most consumers, and brands that are made with natural ingredients and nourishing plant oils can be found in this category.

Expensive: You'll find premium brands that cost $45 and a bit more. While these products are also made with quality ingredients, the bronze hues they produce are not necessarily any better than those made possible by brands that cost a bit less.


  • Shave and exfoliate before applying a bronzing mousse. Smoother skin will make your sunless tan look even and realistic. Plus, if you shave after your tan has developed, you might cause it to fade prematurely.
  • Don’t rub too hard. Apply the product evenly, but don’t rub too hard. Applying too much pressure could remove too much mousse and lead to uneven results.
  • Use wipes to clean your palms. If you’re applying bronzing mousse all over your body, you want to be sure to apply it to the backs of your hands, too. However, tanned palms are a sure sign of using a sunless tanning product! Rub the mousse off your palms with wipes instead of washing them. It will prevent this telltale sign and allow the backs of your hands to develop a glow.
  • Follow the instructions closely. While the processes for applying potions that bronze and tan your skin are similar, they do vary a bit from product to product. You’re more likely to get results you love when you read the package before you start slathering one all over your body.
Content Image
Because bronzing mousse has a lightweight consistency and dries quickly, it pairs nicely with other types of lotions and sunscreens without weighing down the skin and feeling heavy or tacky.


Q. Do I need to use a large amount of bronzing mousse to see noticeable results?
Another selling point of the foamy consistency is that a little goes a long way. Even if you’re applying it all over your body, a few pumps of the applicator should provide enough product to begin developing a soft tan or deep bronze.

Q. What if my tan isn’t dark enough after I apply bronzing mousse?
Because bronzing mousse is buildable, you can reapply it until you get the tan you want. Wait at least 24 hours in between applications to see how the shade turns out, then repeat the process until you’ve achieved your tanning goal. Once you do, applying the mousse every three to four days should be adequate to maintain your look.

Q. I have pale skin but want a dark tan. Should I choose a bronzing mousse in a dark shade?
That probably isn’t the best option for you. If your skin tone is light and you use a dark bronzing mousse, your skin may end up looking unnatural or have an orange tint. A light or medium shade is your best bet for natural-looking results.

Q. What should I do if my bronzing mousse’s pump applicator gets clogged?
Try holding the pump under warm running water for a few seconds to dislodge any buildup in the applicator. Never try to pry or poke it with a sharp object because you could damage the mechanism.