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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.
Bondi Sands Pure Self Tanning Drops
If there’s anything skincare or beauty-related we’re searching for, CVS is our go-to. So, it’s no surprise that the drugstore has one of the best face tanning drops around: the brand-new Bondi Sands Pure Self Tanning Drops. They’re so easy to use—all you have to do is add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer and apply it to your face and neck per usual (bonus: you can use these on your body too!). Plus, the buildable drops create an incredibly even and natural-looking tan. There’s no caking or creasing involved. In addition to tanning your skin, these drops have nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid that will coat your skin with hydration to boost its glow even more. What’s more, the tanner is a CVS SkinSAFE product, which means it’s free of common allergy-causing ingredients and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
If that all wasn’t good enough, you can get the drops for 20 percent off thanks to the huge All in On Skin Event CVS is having, where you can shop other favorites at up to 40 percent off now through May 28.
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! Not to mention, Kelly Ripa is a fan.
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. Moriz Radiant Glow Self-Tanning Face Mist
Packed with calming aloe vera and vitamin E, this mist is a must-do before bed. The scentless spray imparts a gorgeous color with no telltale lines (even on your neck!) and doesn’t stain your pillowcase. Bonus: you can still apply your regular skincare routine (just do this step after cleanser and toner, and before serum/moisturizer).
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 glowy-er.
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 the skin. The sunshine bronzy color it delivers is without 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 bestseller on Amazon
, thanks to its ability to tan the face without leaving behind orange streaks and a no-fuss, easy-to-read ingredients list.
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.
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 the 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.