Self-tanner is hit or miss. If you use the right formula, you'll end up with an all-over glow. If you use the wrong formula, you'll end up with patchiness, streaks, and an unnatural hue (although your application technique may have something to do with it, too). That's why self-tanning can be scary—especially when it comes to your face. After all, it's pretty hard to disguise a bad self-tan if it's front and center.
Luckily, we live in a time when brands are creating self-tanning products specifically for the face, so we don't have to risk the same faux pas that we did in the past (is there anyone else out there who used to tan their face by rubbing a body mitt all over it and hoping for the best? Or was that just us?). These days, there are drops and mists and more, all of which will ensure a seamless, glowing result. Keep scrolling to see the 16 best face self-tanners on the market.
Tan-Luxe is one of our favorite self-tanning brands, thanks to its range of products that depart an even, natural-looking glow to our skin. This product is one of them. Add a few drops of the liquid formula to your moisturizer, serum, or face oil to create a customized self-tan. Start with one drop at a time for a healthy glow and build up to four drops at a time for deeper color.
Tanologist is another editor-loved self-tanning brand. These self-tanning drops are organic, vegan, and virtually odorless, and the best part is that you can use them on your face and body. Simply dribble a few drops into your moisturizer before applying it evenly across your skin.
If you're looking for a super subtle self-tanning product, this is it. Adding just a couple of drops to your moisturizer will give your face a healthy, natural-looking glow. Continue to use it daily, or every other day, and it will slowly build in intensity.
A little goes a long way with these drugstore tanning drops. Although the brand recommends adding 8-10 drops into your moisturizer, we recommend starting off smaller, by just adding a few, and then building up as you see fit. We like that they're dye and fragrance-free, so they won't stain clothing or irritate our noses.
And the award for most convenient self-tanner goes to...this face mist. Simply spritz it over clean skin and wait for a tan to develop four to eight hours later. You can use it daily or whenever you feel like you want to boost your glow. We like that the formula includes hibiscus and mandarin orange extract for a little antioxidant action.
Reviewers love this self-tanning mist for a few different reasons. The first is that it's easy to apply (you just spritz it over clean, dry, and exfoliated skin). The second is that it has no guide color, which means it won't transfer or stain clothes or sheets. The third is that the formula includes vitamin E and aloe for skin benefits.
This tanning water can be applied with a cotton pad or with your fingers (if you take that route, make sure you wash them off after application!). However, we recommend mixing it into your moisturizer—just like you would with tanning drops—to get a gradual, sun-kissed effect.
The reason they call this self-tanner a serum is because the formula includes vitamin C and D to brighten the skin and provide antioxidant benefits. Apply it straight from the bottle, or mix it into your moisturizer, for a sun-kissed glow. Just like the other St. Tropez product on this list, this self-tanning serum has a tropical fragrance.
This serum from Coola includes ingredients like aloe, centella asiatica, hibiscus, grape seed oil, and hyaluronic acid to provide calming, hydrating, and anti-aging benefits...along with self-tanning benefits. Just like with any other self-tanning serum, apply this straight from the bottle and spread it evenly across your face and neck (we even take it down to our chests), or mix it into a moisturizer for a more gradual effect.
If your skin is so dry you're even looking for hydration from your self-tanner, then this product is for you. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep dryness at bay and give the skin a glow. The brand recommends applying four to twelve drops directly to the skin. Err on the lower side of that if you want a subtle glow. Err on the higher side of that if you want deeper color.
This is one part sleeping mask and one part self-tanning product. Here's how it works. Once it's applied evenly over clean skin (and you made sure you washed your hands, otherwise it will develop on your palms), it begins to build a tan. Meanwhile, good-for-skin ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid go to work brightening, hydrating, and providing antioxidant effects.
This sleeping mask meets self-tanning product is formulated with aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid and algae extract. The first two ingredients soothe the skin, the third hydrates the skin, and the fourth gives it an antioxidant boost. Apply this nightly (the colorless gel formula won't transfer onto your clothes or sheets) until you reach the glow you desire.
Normally tanning is a multistep process. You have to exfoliate, then you have to tan, and then you have to moisturize once the tan has developed. Dr. Dennis Gross has eliminated one step, by formulating these presoaked towelettes with AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate while you tan.
Here's another one-step tanning towelette. These are infused with glycolic and salicylic acid, vitamin K, and chamomile and lavender, so they're as soothing and hydrating as they are exfoliating. Swipe them across the face, neck, and chest for a subtle, natural-looking glow.