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The 10 Best Face Tanners for Mild Sunless Tanning

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
The 10 Best Face Tanners for Mild Sunless Tanning

Self-tanning the face can be trickier than the rest of your body. 

That’s because the skin on your face is more sensitive to ingredients than other body parts. This means self-tanners can cause a breakout or stick to patches of dry skin!

Another struggle is the risk of getting an orange or streaky face.

Fortunately, you can prevent all that by getting a good self-tanner for face-tanning!


St. Moriz Radiant Glow Face Tanning Mist


St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops


Sol by Jergens Deeper by the Drop

Best Face Tanners for a Natural Glow

Live out your best self with the best self-tanners that can give your face a natural tan:

1. St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops – Best Overall

St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops

Worried about how to fit self-tanning into your skincare routine? The St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops have you covered!

This self-tanner contains high-performance skincare ingredients, making them double as a skincare product to give you glowing skin.

Vitamin E and Echinacea even out your skin’s tone and reduces redness.

Meanwhile, niacinamide smooths out fine lines. It also has hyaluronic acid to plump up your skin.

This product is easily customizable too!

Put on two drops to get a light hue, add two more for a medium golden tan, then add two more if you want that deep bronze.

However, these St. Tropez drops can cause dry skin — so ramp up the moisturizer if you’re using it.


  • Easily customizable
  • Contains great skincare ingredients


  • It can be drying on the skin

2. Sol by Jergens Deeper by the Drop – Best Value

Sol by Jergens Deeper by the Drop

This self-tanner is tagged as Amazon’s Choice and backed by good reviews!

Sol is a lightweight serum that contains coconut water for hydrated and glowing skin.

It’s great for beginners, too, since you can add the drops to your moisturizer and then apply. Then it dries in LESS THAN FIVE minutes.

What makes the price great for its value is you can use Sol on your whole body too! It’s also easy to get since it’s a drugstore option.

This product will give you a sun-kissed look, but you won’t get an intense tan.

You might also get a strong self-tanner scent for the first hours of wear. But don’t worry — it’ll go away.


  • You can use it on the body
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Keeps your skin hydrated


  • Won’t give you an intense tan
  • Has a strong scent for the first few hours of wear

3. St. Moriz Radiant Glow Face Tanning Mist – Best Budget Pick

Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil

When discussing a budget pick, it must be a St. Moriz self-tanner. After all, the brand is known for some of the best self-tanners in their price range.

Their Self-Tanning Mist gives you a smooth and natural golden glow. 

It’s non-sticky while you wait for it to try, and when it’s dry, it doesn’t stain everything.

The product contains aloe vera and vitamin E to keep your skin hydrated. It’s dermatologically- and salon-tested, too, so it’s friendly to acne-prone skin.

Unfortunately, while it’s buildable, you can’t layer it over an old tan. That means you’ll need to remove your old tan every time you want to use it.

This face self-tanner can also be tricky to apply since it doesn’t have a wide spray.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to incorporate into your skincare routine
  • Dermatologically- and salon-tested


  • You can’t layer over an old tan
  • It can be a struggle to apply

4. COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

COOLA also offers a self-tanner for face-tanning that does MORE than just tan you!

Its product contains an antioxidant-rich blend of argan oil, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and plant stem cells.

If you like piña coladas, you’ll love this scent too!

This anti-aging tanning serum gives you a gradual tan. If you want immediate serious tanning, you’ll have to layer the serum.

Another option is to use it day and night.

But if you’re willing to wait, Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum can give you that gorgeous glow for up to three days!

Even then, this product might be hard to get a deep tan.


  • Has anti-aging ingredients
  • Also good for dry and uneven skin
  • Lasts longer than other face tanners


  • A gradual tanner
  • It might be hard to achieve an intense tan

4. Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

The Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops would be another self-tanner that’s EASY to incorporate into your skincare routine.

Add one to four drops of this self-tanner to your favorite moisturizer, serum, or face oil!

What’s great about these Tan-Luxe drops is they don’t affect the drying time of skincare products.

This product has the Triple Tan Technology to give you a natural golden glow. You also get ingredients like raspberry seed oil and aloe vera for healthy glowing skin.

Tan-Luxe has a high percentage of DHA to help you develop a quick tan.

Unfortunately, that high percentage also means you get a pretty strong smell while it’s on your skin.


  • You can mix it with other skincare products
  • Comes in two shades


  • More expensive than other choices
  • Has a strong DHA smell during wear

5. St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

St. Tropez is back on the list with another of their best self-tanners.

This mist is great for anyone, whether you’re a pro or a beginner in face tanning. That’s because all you need to do is spray!

It’s suitable for all skin tones too.

Yes, there’s no need for blending, massaging, or patting with a tanning mitt.

Its colorlessness might be intimidating, but you won’t worry about accidentally turning other things brown if they get sprayed.

The product has a super fine mist, so your face doesn’t feel wet when you apply it.

However, it does have a strong tropical scent at first. But it’ll eventually fade away.

It will also give you a gradual tan that will take up to eight hours to develop.


  • Easy to use
  • Has a very fine mist
  • Colorless


  • Has an intense tropical scent at first
  • Takes up to eight hours for a tan to develop

6. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops

The Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops is a TikTok famous self-tanner.

Looking at your options, you might be worried about why the liquids are colored. Well, they’re meant to be color-correcting and can achieve different outcomes.

For instance, the green one reduces redness, so you get a PERFECT natural-looking tan.

Thanks to ingredients like chia seed extract and avocado oil, the formula is great for dry and sensitive skin. It’s good for acne-prone skin too!

Depending on how deep or subtle you want your tan to be, you can mix two to 12 drops into your moisturizer.

However, that wide range can make it tricky to determine how many you should use for a certain tan.


  • Has different color-correcting options
  • Has Sephora’s “Certified Clean Seal”


  • It can be hard to guess the number of drops to use

7. Bondi Sands PURE Self Tanning Sleep Mask

Bondi Sands PURE Self Tanning Sleep Mask

Bondi Sands gives us a heavy-duty sleeping mask that lets you develop a sun-kissed glow overnight while also hydrating your skin!

It has a vegan formula free from fragrances, parabens, and sulfates.

This face self-tanner is very easy to apply — just put it on your face like you would any night cream.

Let it work its magic while you get your beauty sleep and wake up to your BEST SELF!

You can repeat this process every two to three days.

An easy application you need to do every other day makes for a low-maintenance product!

However, you should know that you can’t use other skincare products on the nights you use this cream.


  • Easy to use
  • Vegan formula


  • Can’t apply other skincare products until the color has developed

8. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow for Face

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow for Face

You might have heard of Dr. Dennis Gross’ peel pads. Well, now he’s back with a tan towel!

The short reason to get this self-tanner is that it’s dermatologist-made!

The long reason is that because a dermatologist created the brand, you can expect a lot of science stuff behind the scenes.

For one, these pads contain AHAs, which gently exfoliate your face. AHAs can reduce fine lines and correct pigment abnormalities to leave you with glowing skin.

The towelettes are very easy to use too!

But one thing you should watch out for is it can get quite patchy as the tan wears off — especially if you’ve applied two or more layers.


  • Gives you vitamin D
  • Very portable
  • Created by a dermatologist


  • It can be patchy as the tan wears off

9. Loving Tan Deluxe Face Tan

Loving Tan Deluxe Face Tan

You might be concerned about how dark this cream’s color is, but that tint ensures an immediate tan after just ONE application!

The formula contains acai berry, pomegranate extract, and green tea to give you glowing skin.

Surprisingly, the scent you get is a faint coconut one!

You can apply this fast-drying cream any time of the day — but put it on at night for optimum results.

However, this self-tanner is quite expensive for its size. Some users also complained that it washes off easily.


  • Gives an instant glow
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Dries in less than a minute


  • Quite expensive for the size
  • Washes of easily

10. Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan

Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan

If you’re going for sunless tanning, why have sunscreen?

Well, that makes this product a better choice for those going out. That’s because you have some sun protection to prevent skin burn while having an even tan.

This spray tan has aloe vera, vitamin E, and vitamin B5 to nourish your skin too!

Staying true to the name, Supergoop! Healthy Glow Sunless Tan does have a thick formula — but it dries surprisingly fast.

However, that thick formula makes it easy to have a streaky tan.

You get only a subtle glow after a full 12 hours, but it’s a natural-looking color with no orange tones.


  • Has an SPF 40
  • Nourishes the skin


  • Prone to streaky tans if you’re not careful
  • More suited to those who go outside a lot

What to Look for in the Best Face Self-tanner

There are hundreds of face self-tanners out there.

So we’ve put together some tips to help you find the best face tanner.

#1 Check the Ingredients

The skin on your face is more sensitive than your body’s.

Because of that, you’ll want to ensure that your choice won’t clog pores or cause an inflamed flare-up.

Check for familiar names like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid to avoid those.

Of course, you should also know what ingredients your self-tanner should NOT have.

Some ingredients to AVOID:

  • Mineral oil – This will clog pores. It can also cause cancer.
  • Artificial fragrances and colors – These can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate acts as a “natural preservative” but will cause skin and eye irritation in high concentrations.

#2 Compare the Formulas

Many face self-tanners have ingredients that nourish your skin — from common ones like hyaluronic acid to something more unique like algae extract.

You can further narrow your choices depending on what other effect you want the tanner to have on your skin.

For instance, look for ingredients like vitamin E and argan oil if you want glowing skin.

#3 Choose the Color Deposit

The face tends to get darker faster than the rest of the body.

Because of that, facial products are designed to give your face a lighter tan than your body.

The face tanner you choose depends on your skin tone and how dark you want to go.

For example, if you have fair or light skin, you should try a gradual tan since you can build it up every day until you get the natural glow you want.

#4 Decide on the Type

There are different types of self-tanners:

  1. Drops – Face tanning drops are the most concentrated type. Just a few drops of these can give you an instant tan.
  2. Spray – A self-tan face mist can help hydrate your skin too. It can also be used as a makeup setting spray. Both a spray and tanning foam are good for oily skin.
  3. Serum – Serums are beginner-friendly. They’re subtler than drops and are subtle enough that you can use them every day! Just make sure to mix them into a moisturizer first.
  4. Lotion – You can swap out your moisturizer for a self-tanning lotion every other night or so. That’s because these lotions already have moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
  5. Mask – A mask is simple — slather on the cream before sleeping.

Are Face Self-Tanners Safe?

Are Face Self-Tanners Safe

Yes, face self-tanners are safe!

Similar to self-tanners for the body, they contain a harmless sugar called dihydroxyacetone. This interacts with the amino acids in your dead skin cells to give you that temporary tan.

Just watch out for irritations and allergic reactions.


We’ll answer a few additional questions on self-tanning.

How Long Does Face Tanner Last?

The best self-tanners last for about three days.

This is much shorter than body tanners since cell turnover on the face happens faster.

Can I Use the Same Self-Tanner on My Body and Face?

You technically can — but not all the time.

Some self-tanners are explicitly for the face. But some of the best self-tanners for the body are also friendly enough for the face.

One guideline is that if it’s oily, don’t use it on your face. You should also dilute a body tanner with moisturizer before applying it to your face.

Summary of Top Picks

Let’s have a quick recap of the best self-tanners for your face:

Best Overall – St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops

The St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops are our best self-tanner for face-tanning.

These give you a natural-looking glow since it gives you a great tan while also nourishing your skin! It’s easily customizable too.

Best Value – Sol by Jergens Deeper by the Drop

Sol gives great value with its oil-free formula that results in a subtle tan.

It’s lightweight too and can be used on the whole body.

Best Budget Pick – St. Moriz Radiant Glow Face Tanning Mist

You can get this self-tanner for face-tanning for just under $20! It’s great for acne-prone skin and doesn’t feel sticky as it’s drying. 

This spray can give your skin a healthy glow too.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to perfect a self-tan on your face.

Fortunately, there are face self-tanners that can come to your rescue.

To find the best one for you, find ingredients, formulas, and the type of tanner that will work best for you.