Anyone who has applied self-tan will understand how crucial it is to match your face to your neck.
While some prefer to use the same product for their body, I enjoy using a self-tanner specifically for your face. With other beneficial ingredients, pleasant formulations, scents, and buildable shades of face self-tanners can provide a subtle glow that pairs perfectly with the rest of your body.
That said, a bad face tanner can be a disaster. Too orange, too splotchy and even worse, causing your skin to break out.
I have tried the good, the bad and the ugly so read on for my picks of the best self-tanner for face.
Best Self Tanner for Face in 2024
Eco Tan Face Tan Water
Face Tan Water by Eco Tan has become an essential part of my skincare routine for its anti-aging benefits and hydration while delivering a natural-looking glow.
The formula includes Vitamin C for anti-ageing and skin protection benefits, Aloe Vera to soothe irritated skin, and Glycerine helps lock in moisture and hydrate the skin.
It has a mild scent and lightweight consistency. This non-comedogenic, vegan gradual self-tanner is free of harmful ingredients and suits all skin types, including oily and blemish-prone skin.
Bali Body Face Tan Mist
The Bali Body Face Tan Mist secures a top spot in our selection, with its unique blend of 100% natural DHA, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and rosewater, which not only tans but also cares for your skin. This mist uses innovative micromist technology, ensuring an even, natural-looking application without the dreaded ‘dotted’ effect seen in other products. It’s available in two shades, offering a deeper, more lasting colour than many of its competitors.
I tried the mist and was amazed at how evenly it dries, leaving no streaks or patches. The tan develops fully over a few hours, revealing a rich, natural bronze that impressively lasts.
Luna Bronze Good Night Face Bronzing Serum
Luna Bronze’s Good Night Face Bronzing Serum is a standout in self-tanning, blending natural tanning actives with Australian native extracts for an overnight radiant bronze glow. It offers more than just tanning – it hydrates, brightens, and nourishes the skin. Easily applied directly or mixed with night cream, it allows control over the tan intensity.
Featuring Wattleseed for anti-inflammation and anti-aging, Desert Lime rich in Vitamin C for skin brightening, and Lemon Myrtle to reduce irritations and dark circles, this award-winning serum is formulated without parabens, sulphates, and synthetic fragrances, making it a clean, effective choice for a luminous complexion.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops offer a customisable golden glow by simply mixing with your favourite moisturiser.
Specially formulated for sensitive skin, these drops balance skin’s pH and are hypoallergenic. Each shade offers unique benefits: Light for a brighter complexion, Medium to calm and reduce redness, and Dark to minimise orange tones.
Key ingredients include Coconut Oil for hydration, Chia Seed Oil to reduce inflammation, and Avocado Oil for nourishment.
Loving Tan Deluxe Face Tan
The Loving Tan Deluxe Face Tan stands out in the realm of facial self-tanners. Tailored specifically for delicate facial skin, this product offers a luxurious, natural-looking tan.
Its formula is enriched with ingredients like aloe vera and green tea to hydrate and soothe the skin, while antioxidants protect against environmental damage. The tan develops quickly, creating a radiant glow that complements your existing skincare routine. Ideal for those seeking a streak-free, even complexion, this face tan is easy to apply and suitable for all skin types.
Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint
Dr Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzing Tint is a versatile addition to any beauty routine, offering a natural, sun-kissed glow. This lightweight tint blends seamlessly with your moisturiser or foundation, providing an adjustable bronzed effect to suit any skin tone.
Its unique formula, infused with medicinal plant extracts like witch hazel, nurtures the skin, ensuring a smooth and radiant complexion.
Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist
Spritz your way to a natural looking glow with Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist. This ultra-fine mist, crafted from organic Tasmanian ingredients, offers a hassle-free application, resulting in a natural, streak-free results.
Enriched with rosewater and infused with aloe vera, it hydrates and soothes the skin while developing a tan. Ideal for all skin types, this mist is particularly beneficial for those with sensitive skin.
St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Water Bronzing Face Mist
This self-tan mist stands out for its effortless, on-the-go application, making it a favourite for quick beauty routines. Just five to six pumps across your face, neck, and chest, and you’re done. Its lightweight formula, enriched with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, feels refreshing and hydrating on the skin, without any greasy residue. Ideal for fair and light skin tones, it develops into a subtle tan within just 4-6 hours. Despite its ease of use, it leaves no streaks or patchiness and doesn’t transfer, offering a clean, even tan.
Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster
Clarins Self Tan for Face is a luxurious, lightweight cream that gives a natural, sun-kissed look. It’s enriched with soothing plant extracts, ensuring a gentle, non-irritating application. The formula blends effortlessly, providing a streak-free finish. Its hydrating properties make it suitable for all skin types, offering a radiant and long-lasting tan that enhances your natural complexion.
What to Look For in a Self Tan for Face
Non-comedogenic: It’s important l to choose a product that won’t clog pores, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic tanners are less likely to cause breakouts, but that’s not always guaranteed.
Formulation: Look for tanners with skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, peptides or vitamins. These ingredients not only tan but also nourish and hydrate the skin.
Consistency: The right consistency ensures easy application and absorption. Options range from lightweight waters to creams and oils, depending on your preference.
Types of Self-Tanners for Face
Face self-tanner generally comes in three main forms:
Water: Lightweight and absorbs quickly, ideal for a subtle, buildable glow. Eco Tan Face Tan Water is one of the top-rated products to try.
Mists: Great for even application and hydration, mists are convenient and quick to use. If you’re after a mist self-tan, try the Bali Body Face Tan Mist.
Drops: These allow for customisable tanning when mixed with your regular moisturiser. Reviewers find the Luna Bronze Good Night Face Bronzing Serum to be the ‘perfect’ drops for a ‘natural-looking glow’.
How to Prep Your Skin and Apply Self-Tanner
- Exfoliate: Before applying self-tanner, exfoliate your face a day or two prior to application to remove dead skin cells.
- Dermaplanning: If you dermaplane your skin, then you will want to also do this a few days before applying self-tan for the face for the best results.
- Moisturise: Apply a light moisturiser or vaseline to dry areas like eyebrows, hairline, and lips to prevent uneven tanning.
- Apply Evenly: Whether using a mist, water, or drops, apply the tanner evenly across your face. Blend well to avoid streaks. Try using a headband to avoid transfer onto your hair.
- Wash Hands: After application, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid stained palms.
Do I really need a tanner for my face?
Many people often just use the same self-tanner for their body on their face which is totally okay if it works for you.
However, a specialised facial tanner can often provide better results. They are formulated to suit delicate facial skin and offer additional benefits like hydration and anti-aging properties. Plus, facial tanners allow for a more natural, buildable colour that can complement makeup application.