Self-tanners, either you love them or you hate them but if you do love them, you’re going to love this read. For years, Allure editors have tried hundreds of self-tanners and have noticed that yes, some can make you look orange, and yes, you’re going to want to use a different self-tanner on your face and body. According to Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based out of Connecticut, there’s a reason for this.
“For the most part, the active ingredients in all self-tanning products are the same,” she says. In fact, if you didn’t know, cosmetic chemist Ginger King previously told Allure that self-tanners rely on dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar that safely darkens the skin. However, Dr. Gohara adds that the ones on the market that are specifically made for your face have additional ingredients that will add hydration or glow to your skin like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. While you should be using skin-nourishing ingredients from head to toe, the below facial self-tanners have skin care in mind with their formulations.
On our list of favorites, we have self-tanning drops that you can add to your favorite moisturizers, self-tanning mists that are mess-free, and self-tanning serums that can replace the ones in your routine when you are feeling pale. Just be sure to exfoliate any dead skin before use to avoid any blotchiness. This all said — happy tanning.
The Best Self-Tanning Drops
The Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops is 2020 Best of Beauty winner for its hydrating formula. It’s made with raspberry seed oil and aloe vera so the skin is moisturized and hydrated while looking bronze.
L’Oréal Paris’s Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops are formulated with hyaluronic acid to add extra hydration to the skin. With just a few drops of this in your favorite serum or moisturizer, a golden hue will appear in just a few hours.
You can add the Tanologist Face + Body Drops to both your face creams and body lotions. Keep in mind that these drops are clear so be mindful because the more drops you add, the deeper the tan.
The Best Self-Tanning Mists
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist smells like a Maui vacation and looks like crystal-clear water — except it’s actually a self-tanner. That said, you’d have to spray a lot of the stuff to get a significant tan tint to develop on your face, so consider it more of a post-vacation glow extender than a bonafide bronze. P.S. It won a 2019 Best of Beauty award!