As a Black Woman, I Always Avoided Tan Drops—Until I Tried These Ones

I've never been one to shy away from a viral beauty trend. From buzzy throwbacks like cracking nail varnish (2012, you called?) and burgundy lipsticks to more recent trends like contouring and glass skin, I'm always up for experimenting. However, there's one beauty trend that, up until recently, I just couldn't get on board with—self-tan. My reason for this? Well, first, as a Black woman, I've always been pretty dubious about what the end result would actually look like, whether it would be totally unnoticeable on my skin tone or would leave me looking patchy.

Second, even if I were curious, the tanning industry is notorious for being pretty much non-existent for darker skin tones. So imagine my surprise when I started to notice Black women professing their love for self-tanning on the internet. 


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

First, there were TikTok videos and then, much to my delight, came skinfluencer Alicia Lartey with a super-detailed Instagram post of self-tanning recommendations for Black girls and how these products could actually help to cover hyperpigmentation and stretch marks on darker skin. I also learnt that there were a number of tanning products on the market that imbued Black skin with a lit-from-within glow. And as someone who goes weak at the knees for any and all glow-boosting products, I was intrigued. 


(Image credit: @itsvanesem)

So that's when my quest to find a self-tanning product that was inclusive of darker skin tones, was suitable for beginners and gave me the ultimate glow began. Surely that's not asking for much, right? Admittedly, the tanning industry is still not super inclusive in 2021, but there are definitely some go-to tanning brands that are beginning to cater to darker skin tones. Case in point: the Tanologist Face + Body Drops in Dark (£15). I added them straight to my basket and got testing them for a week.


The before-and-afters:
(Image credit: @itsvanesem)

Vanese Maddix before applying Tanologist Face + Body Drops in Dark.

The Tanologist self-tan drops are described as a made-to-measure glow serum that is suitable for both face and body. Interestingly, the brand encourages you to use the drops alongside your existing skincare routine—which is exactly what I did. The product description says to apply one to 12 drops to your favourite moisturiser, depending on your desired end result, with more drops giving you a deeper tan. I decided to go the full way by mixing 12 drops in with my trusty CeraVe Moisturising Cream (£13). The drops and moisturiser blended effortlessly together, with the self-tan giving off an instant floral odour.


(Image credit: @itsvanesem)

Vanese Maddix after applying Tanologist Face + Body Drops in Dark.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how non-sticky the drops were. After all, while I've never tried any tanning products before this, I've definitely heard tanning fans discussing the gross feeling of a sticky tanning product. One of the most noticeable things after my initial application was just how glowy and hydrated my skin looked and felt. It took about two days for the final result to come in and, when it did, was a subtle but perfect sun-kissed glow. I think it's safe to say that I'm very happy with the end result. And while I don't think tanning drops will become an everyday or even weekly occurrence in my routine (mainly as I feel as though these same great results could be achieved by a bronzer and some sort of glow-boosting serum for a more instant result), I'm pleased it's now an option that I can consider.

Shop the best tan drops for Black skin: