Best Self Tanners for Your Face, 2021 Reviews: Sprays, Lotions, Serums - Rolling Stone
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6 Self Tanners for Your Face to Get a Better, More Natural Glow

Easy ways to get a healthy glow on your face, without having to bake in the sun

best self tanner for facebest self tanner for face

Oleh Phoenix -

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When it comes to self tanning, your face is likely more sensitive to ingredients than the rest of your body. The benefit of having a self tanner specifically for the face is that it will include ingredients that are skincare-specific first, along with the necessary DHA ingredient for tanning. 

Here, we review some of the best self tanners for the face that will help give you a natural, sun-kissed glow – no orange or streaky looks here.

How Do You Apply Self Tanner to Your Face?

Just like applying self tanner to the body, using self tanner on your face requires a little extra care. First, make sure your face is freshly cleaned. According to tanning expert Kara Mac, who runs her own Connecticut-based tanning salon, after washing your face, apply a light moisturizer, especially for those with dryer skin types. “This will ensure the sunless tanner doesn’t grab onto any dry or dead skin cells and make the face look too dark or uneven,” she explains. 

Mac also shares another tip for flawless application that will allow your hands to be tanner-free. “Use a kabuki makeup brush or makeup sponge to apply the product. Whether you are using a mist, mousse or a creamy product, a makeup brush or sponge will help with flawless application and results,” she says. “With a mist product, you can mist it directly on the face holding it an appropriate distance away from the skin, then after application blend it in flawlessly with a brush or sponge.” What that means: No need to worry about over-tanning your palms.

Is Face Self Tanner Good for Acne-Prone Skin or Eczema?

If your skin is acne-prone, you’ll want to use a self tanner that’s not going to irritate the skin and cause flare ups. According to Mac, look for vegan non-comedogenic products so your pores don’t get clogged. Vegan formulas will ensure the least irritating ingredients so look for those free of parabens, sulfates and gluten. 

“For those with eczema, I always recommend applying a hydrating lotion prior to application,” she says. “Some ingredients to look for in sunless tanning products that won’t further irritate eczema are aloe, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid.”

What Are the Best Face Self Tanners?

Below, we’ve selected the best face self tanners that won’t irritate your skin. Whether your skin is oily or dry, there’s a self tanner that can safely give you a glow with confidence. 

1. Beauty by Earth Face Tanner



Beauty By Earth’s self tanner facial lotion is vegan and certified cruelty-free. It’s formulated for sensitive skin and includes organic aloe vera, which is a soothing anti-inflammatory ingredient, plus shea butter for softness, and anti-aging ingredients. Plus, it’s moisturizing as a lotion itself. This lotion is suitable for fair and medium shades. 

Buy: Beauty by Earth Face Tanner at $26.99

2. Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum



The D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum by Drunk Elephant not only gives you a glow, but is anti-aging and protects your skin from harmful pollutants. It can be used on all complexions. 

This formula is made to mimic the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D without the sun damage, while also providing a protective barrier to boost your skin’s defense against pollution and environmental stressors. This serum also has omega-rich virgin marula and black currant seed oils, which are both super nourishing. The best part is that Drunk Elephant makes their products with the consideration of combining ingredients, so you can also add a drop of the serum to your moisturizer or sunscreen to get the best benefits out of both products. It can be applied to your body as well.

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



St. Tropez’s tanning products are among the top-rated online. This Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist is lightweight and has a tropical scent. It’s infused with 100 percent natural tanning agents, hibiscus extract for its antioxidant properties, and fresh green mandarin water for an uplifting fragrance. It’s a spritz-and-go type of mist. You can spray over or under your moisturizer or sunscreen, and the tan will develop over 4-8 hours into a streak-less glow that lasts for days. 

Buy: St. Tropez Bronzing Water Face Mist at $30

4. Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum



For another vegan option, this gradual self tanner serum by Tan-Luxe is a hyaluronic, superfood for the face. The hyaluronic acid hydrates skin, cocoa seed extract protects skin from environmental stressors and pollutants, and raspberry seed oil works as a natural antioxidant rich in vitamin E. It only contains less than one percent of synthetic fragrance, so it’s great for sensitive skin. This serum will correct uneven complexion and minimize pigmentation, while giving you a customizable natural tan. 

Buy: Tan-Luxe Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum at $49

5. Norvell Venetian Sunless Self Tanning Mist for Face



As suggested by Kara Mac, the award-winning Norvell Venetian Sunless Self Tanning Mist for Face is a go-to spray tanner and professional favorite. It contains the proprietary Venetian bronzing blend, a special blended formula for delicate facial tissue. Made with high quality DHA, it also has natural enzymes to repair dehydrated skin and promote the efficiency of the body’s own natural moisturizing factor. Your skin will lock in the DHA for a long-lasting, deeper tan. The tanner is gluten-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and non-comedogenic.

Buy: Norvell Venetian Sunless Self Tanning… at $16.25

6. Jergens Natural Glow SPF 20 Face Moisturizer



A staple in the skincare world, Jergens’ self tanning facial lotion for fair to medium tones also includes broad spectrum SPF 20. It promises to get you a safe glow while also protecting your face from harmful UVA/UVB rays. It’s also oil and paraben-free and infused with coconut oil, vitamin E, and antioxidants to keep skin soft and moisturized. You can use this daily, to build up a natural-looking tan over time.

Buy: Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer at $9.49

In This Article: Beauty, RS Recommends, Skincare, summer


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