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When it comes to beauty blunders, I think it’s safe to rank a streaky, overly orange-tinged self tan job gone wrong at the very top of the list. And, if you’re applying a sunless tanning product to your face, you’re automatically faced with an increased number of potential mishaps, from breakouts to the dreaded mismatched neck-face situation. Fortunately, UV-free tanning has come a long way, and it’s easier than ever to find the best self tanner for your face (and skin tone). Sure, you can apply a bronzer to warm up you complexion instantly or add a drop or two of darker foundation to your current color match for a instant-gratification faux-glow, but frankly, these techniques are only going to go so far, and are obviously going to wash away after your nightly cleanse and skincare routine is complete.
One of the things that I enjoy most about self tanner, is that it offers the off-label benefit of covering up minor imperfections, like acne scars and hyperpigmentation. You can wake up feeling like you already have a slight, “no-makeup makeup” shield on your face without having to apply a skin-smoothing BB or bronzing cream to do the trick. However, this skin-enhancing side effect doesn’t exactly work if you had an ~oops~ moment during the application process or opted for the wrong shade for your skin tone. But, thanks to new-and-improved formulas becoming more and more available, it’s a lot easier to avoid such a disaster now than ever before.
While some products are suitable to use on both the face and body, there are a number of options specifically designed just for the face. From elixirs designed to be mixed with your favorite skincare serum to fool-proof, gradual moisturizers, there are plenty of options to achieve a faux glow without basking in the sun’s (or tanning bed’s) harmful and aging rays.
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1. Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
To be honest, this is hands down one of the most genius beauty products I’ve ever discovered (and I see a lot, folks). This facial self-tanner is designed to be mixed into your favorite night-time skincare serum or cream, so you don’t have to compromise your nightly complexion routine to get a covetable faux-glow come morning. This stuff really works overnight, too. Just make sure to wash your hands after you apply, because it will stain your palms if you’re not careful.
2. Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer
For an even more user-friendly option, this gradual facial moisturizer is the way to go—especially if you have super fair skin. You won’t get overnight results with this buildable product, but you will develop a subtle faux tan within 3-5 days of continuous use. Best of all, this hydrating moisturizer is chock full of nourishing and anti-aging ingredients, so it won’t dry out your skin in the process. It also doesn’t smell as bad as most self tanners, and it’s oil-free, meaning it won’t make you breakout or clog your pores.
3. Tanceuticals CC Color Correct Self Tanning Face Lotion
This easy-to-use self tanning lotion is designed specifically for the face and is suitable for dry and sensitive skin types as well. This formula is thicker than other alternatives, and super moisturizing to keep your faux tan intact for longer and maintain supple, luminous skin. It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts or blackheads.