Scroll To See More Images
Self-tanning is a tricky beast and we’re totally down to experiment when it comes to bronzing our body—but when it comes to our money-makers, we’re not messing around. We want the best self-tanner for our face without a trial-and-error process.
Even if you’re a self-tanner pro, getting a natural glow on your face can get a little iffy. If you have dry skin, self-tanners can stick to the dry patches in the most unfortunate way. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, some self-tanners might clog pores and cause breakouts. And if you have sensitive skin, the chemicals and fragrances in some self-tanners might cause an inflamed flare-up. And that’s not even mentioning the hazards of ending up with an orange or streaky face!
That’s why we humbly suggest considering investing in a self-tanner solely for your face this summer. After all, you’re keeping out of the sun and slathering on that SPF 30 every day (right?). Here are our official picks for the 10 best self tanners for your face.
1. Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel
Even if you’re not on a budget, you owe it to yourself to try this self-tanning face gel. The light gel consistency is easy to blend into the skin and dries quickly, and it gives a sheer but buildable tint with no tell-tale streaks. The color is perfect too: just the right bronze shade, with no hint of orange. (Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel, $6.99; at Sally Beauty)
2. Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer
If you’re looking to switch to a daily moisturizer for your face that will give you a nice glow for the summer, look no further. Use this every day to hydrate your skin while adding a natural tint of color. It even has SPF 20 to help protect your face from the sun. (Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer, $9.99; at Ulta)
3. Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner
This tanner can be used all over, but we recommend grabbing the smaller (and more affordable) travel size solely for using on your face. You don’t really need an application mitt for this: you can get a natural, non-streaky tan on your face just by massaging this on with your hands. It’s even infused with maracuja, which is rich in fatty acids that deliver myriad skincare benefits. (Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner, $39; at Tarte)
4. Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster
Clarins is kind of the old school standard when it comes to self-tanning, and their Radiance-Plus is pretty awesome. Just add a couple drops to your daily moisturizer to add a subtle warmth to your complexion. (Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, $32; at Neiman Marcus)
5. BareMinerals Bareskin Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer
If you’re looking for something with a little less commitment, bareMinerals bronzing serum imparts a nice glow, but washes off at the end of the day. (BareMinerals Bareskin Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer, $28; at bareMinerals)
6. James Read BB Tan Pen
James Read’s tan pen takes contouring to a whole new level—the handy applicator lets you totally create a chiseled complexion that sticks with you 24/7. In addition to the sun-kissed glow, you’ll also find skincare and anti-aging benefits thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid and algae extract. (James Read BB Tan Pen, $30; at Dermstore)
7. St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Classic Bronzing Face Lotion
This product has a light and fast-absorbing consistency and formula that is designed for even the most sensitive skin. This self tanner will actually hydrate your skin without blocking pores. The best part is that it gives a natural glow without that stinky self-tanner smell. (St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Classic Bronzing Face Lotion, $30; at Sephora)
8. Tan Towel Self-Tan Anti-Aging Towelette
If you’re not into the mess and fuss of tanning lotions, you’ll love the ease of these tanning towels. They’re also perfect for traveling. You can use one quick-drying towel a few times a week for a gradual tan, or use several in quick succession for a deeper, faster tan. Not only do these towels deliver a natural tan, but they also hydrate and exfoliate the skin for a truly healthy glow. (Tan Towel Face Tan Self-Tan Anti-Aging Towelette, $30 for 15; at Ulta)
9. Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face
In a hurry? This gel-cream self-tanner promises a natural glow in less than an hour. Thanks to its “pH Bronze Perfect” complex that works with your skin’s natural pH balance, you’ll get the perfect tan for your complexion. (Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face, $37; at Bloomingdale’s)
10. Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask
Fancy the idea of getting a natural, glowing tan while you sleep? Try out this genius overnight mask that works hard while you sleep to give your skin hydration, anti-aging benefits, and a healthy glow. You’ll wake up looking like you just spent a week at the beach instead of a night in your bed. (Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask, $45; at Sephora)
Originally published June 2015. Updated May 2017.