Self-tanning is a tricky beast, and we’re totally down to experiment when it comes to bronzing our body. But when it comes to our money-makers, we’re not messing around. We want the best self-tanner for our faces without a trial-and-error process.
Even if you’re a self-tanner pro, getting a natural glow on your face can get a little iffy. If you have dry skin, a face self-tanner can stick to parched patches in the most unfortunate way. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, some self-tanners might clog pores and cause breakouts. And if you have sensitive skin, the chemicals and fragrances in some self-tanners might cause an inflamed flare-up. And that’s not even mentioning the hazards of ending up with an orange or streaky face!
That’s why we humbly suggest considering investing in a self-tanner solely for your face. After all, you’re keeping out of the sun and slathering on that SPF 30 every day (right?) no matter the season. From mix-in drops to refreshing mists and traditional lotions, here are the best options for face self-tanners that’ll give you a safe, sun-kissed glow year-round.
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Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
These vegan-friendly and cruelty-free drops are available in three color-correcting options which should be mixed with moisturizer to achieve a natural, streak-free glow.
St. Tropez Bronzing Water Face Mist
This brand is in the upper-echelon of tanning products and the face mist is a must-try. Simply use alone or as a setting spray over makeup and watch your complexion get gradually glowier.
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops
Drunk Elephant’s Sunshine Drops work for all types of skin. It is a serum that immediately replenishes the delicate balance that supports a healthy barrier function of skin – like sunshine’s bronzy color, delivered without the damage.
Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan
What’s so great about this tanner is it has sunscreen (SPF 40) built in—packed with aloe juice, vitamin E, and vitamin B5—to protect your skin from the sun as it gives you a gradual, healthy glow. Just spray on, rub in, and go.
Beauty by Earth Face Self Tanner
This vegan tanning lotion is a best-seller on Amazon, thanks to its ability to tan the face without leaving behind orange streaks and a no-fuss, easy to read ingredients list.
Clinique Self Sun Face Tinted Lotion
Apply this oil-free, dermatologist-tested lotion to a freshly exfoliated face for a golden tan complexion in just a few hours.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads
Exfoliation and bronzing in one? We’ll take two boxes please! This multitasker contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids for sloughing away dead skin cells, as well as encapsulated DHA for time-released color and soy protein to give it a more natural hue.
Pacifica Coconut Glow Mineral Bronzing Face Shade
This water-resistant lotion infused with SPF 30 adds natural-looking color and hydration so you needn’t sit out in the sun for a tan.
Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
Already have a favorite moisturizer, serum or face oil? Don’t ditch it; instead, add a few drops, and it’ll transform into a self-tan sans streaks and smells. So easy!
Coola Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum
If you have particularly uneven and/or dry skin or are looking for something that’ll help tighten up your skin, look no further than this product. COOLA’s sunless tan serum is also an anti-aging serum, thanks to its antioxidant-rich blend of argan oil, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and plant stem cell cultures.
Jergens Natural Glow Face Daily Moisturizer
If you’re looking to switch to a daily moisturizer for your face that will give you a nice glow for the summer, look no further. Use this every day to hydrate your skin while adding a natural tint of color. It even has SPF 20 to help protect your face from the sun.
Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster
Clarins is kind of the old-school standard when it comes to self-tanning, and their Radiance-Plus is pretty awesome. Just add a couple drops to your daily moisturizer to add a subtle warmth to your complexion.
James Read Gradual Tan Sleep Mask Tan Face
Build your tan while you sleep. Your face will look lightly bronzed in just six to eight hours of beauty rest. The colorless formula is full of hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and algae extract, so you’ll wake up with moisturized and tanner skin.
Tan Towel Face Tan Towelette
If you’re not into the mess and fuss of tanning lotions, you’ll love the ease of these tanning towels. They’re also perfect for traveling. You can use one quick-drying towel a few times a week for a gradual tan, or use several in quick succession for a deeper, faster tan. Not only do these towels deliver a natural tan, but they also hydrate and exfoliate the skin for a truly healthy glow.
Dior Bronze Self-Tanning Jelly
This jelly self-tanner promises a natural glow after four weeks of use. It leaves the skin radiant thanks to its dual skin-perfecting and self-tanning action.
Vita Liberata Invisi Soothing Tan Water
This clear tanning water foams into a thick, hydrating mousse that sinks right into skin when applied. The clear color of this product assures there’s absolutely no residue or transfer to clothing or sheets.
Sol de Janeiro Glowmotions Glow Body Oil
This body and face glow oil will give you a shimmery glow with its buildable formula. Made with coconut oil, açaí oil and cupuaçu butter, the oil locks into your skin easily—without getting on your clothes.
A version of this article was originally published in December 2018.