6 Best Self-Tanning Drops for an Overnight Vacation Glow
We found the best self-tanning drops to give your skin a healthy, sun-kissed glow.
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If you’ve dabbled in self-tanners, you know that self-tanning drops are among the elite when it comes to tanning products. The foolproof application and ability to control your color makes drops the preferred way to achieve a straight-from-the-beach bronze.
Skip the harmful tanning beds (or hours in the sun) and get the same outcome with these customizable drops. You’re able to layer on the SPF and still attain a dewy and glowy complexion. Most self-tanning drops recommend applying anywhere from two to 12 drops (depending on your desired shade); if you’ve gone too far, you can mix in more lotion to balance out the hue. The ease of use takes away the fear of an orange and streaky face, which is especially helpful for self-tan beginners.
If you’re looking for a light Cali-kissed look, just a couple of drops will do. Want a deeper tan? Simply increase the number of drops. The moisturizer, serum or night cream you use to mix the drops into helps dilute that final color, making it simple to increase or decrease the tint of your tan.
Read on to see our picks for the best self-tanning drops on the market right now to help you achieve that just-home-from-vacation look.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
One of the most beloved self-tanners on the market today is Isle of Paradise, and for good reason. The customizable drops not only tan—they also reduce redness, brighten and even out the tone of your skin. Available in three different shades ranging from light to dark, these self-tanning drops are blended with moisturizer to achieve your desired hue.
Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops are infused with natural ingredients like grapefruit and avocado oil, which help provide a sun-kissed glow in the healthiest way possible. The vegan and cruelty-free solution seamlessly integrates into your current routine for a long-lasting tan on the face and body.
- Healthy skin benefits for a natural addition to any routine
- Works on both face and body
- Completely customizable
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- May leave orange residue on hands if you do not wash them
L’Oreal Paris Self-Tanning Facial Drops
For a wallet-friendly option, L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze takes the cake. The fragrance-free drops are made specifically for the face and neck, and can be mixed with your favorite serum or moisturizer. The customizable self-tanning drops are formulated with hyaluronic acid for an extra boost of hydration.
Plus, these drops don’t have that sticky feel, which is typical in many self-tanners. It’s best to use five to seven drops if you’re aiming for a golden natural-makeup look, and then add more drops in the following days for a bolder bronze.
- Formulated with moisturizing hyaluronic acid
- Fully customizable
- Safe for daily use
- Although the product is fragrance-free, some reviewers note there is still a slight tanning scent as the product develops
Best for acne-prone skin
Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster
Anyone on the hunt for a little bit of glow without the fear of breakouts should opt for this Clarins Radiance Booster. Made with 99% natural ingredients and infused with glycerin and aloe vera, this self-tan booster not only gives a golden glow as prescribed, but also leaves skin soft, supple and hydrated.
It’s recommended to mix these self-tanning drops with your favorite moisturizer, and apply three to four times per week during your normal skincare routine. This fragrance-free product works well on all skin types, and can be used to either create a tan or help prolong one.
- Formulated with 99% natural ingredients
- Consumer tested with participants noting 100% uniform color
- Glycerin and aloe vera hydrates skin
- Reviewers note it may take a few days of use to achieve your desired tan
Best for sensitive skin
St. Moriz Tan Boosting Face Drops
Use the St. Moriz face drops to help you get the glow you crave, without the stress of an adverse reaction. The fragrance-free and non-abrasive serum pairs perfectly with delicate and sensitive skin, and is fully customizable to create a light, medium or dark hue.
Mix it with moisturizer in the morning and a gradual bronze appears throughout the day, or apply it before bed to wake up with an illuminating complexion. There is no tint in this solution, so while it creates a streak-free tan on your face, you don’t have to worry about it transferring to clothes or sheets.
- Dermatologically-tested for delicate and sensitive skin
- Easy to add to existing routines for an additional glow
- Fragrance-free and non-abrasive
- Can lead to hand staining if you don’t immediately wash hands
Best for the body
Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops
If you want an effortless shoulder-to-toe glow, Tan-Luxe’s Illuminating drops are the way to go. Just mix a few drops in with your current body care routine and a natural-looking bronze develops in four to six hours. As an added bonus, there are skin-enriching ingredients that not only create a radiant look, but also help to tighten skin.
The hydrating formula and customizable color also helps to minimize imperfections, even skin tone and reduce redness. The foolproof application provides streak-free results and a tailor-made tan. It’s the quickest way to a sun-kissed beach bod, without the need to ever step on sand.
- Includes skin-boosting benefits for the body
- Tones while giving skin a plumper look and feel with caffeine
- Helps even skin tone and balance out redness
- Pricier than other self-tanning drops
Best for beginners
Tanologist Face + Body Drops
These vegan and cruelty-free Tanologist drops are an excellent pick if you’re just dipping your toes in the self-tanning drops game. Simply mix them with your favorite face and body moisturizers or serums already in your current routine. Three flexible formulations and adaptable shades offer complete customization, putting you in control of your tan.
Dermatologist-tested and approved, these non-comedogenic drops won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. Nutrient-rich ingredients add skin benefits, like brightening pink grapefruit and hydrating and soothing aloe vera. They can also be applied morning or night, whenever you want to add a hint of color to your skin.
- 100% customizable–the more drops you add, the darker the glow
- Created for both face and body
- Dermatologist-tested and approved
- Clean ingredients
- The tan fades fairly quickly, so reapplication is needed
What to Consider When Buying Self-tanning Drops
Now that you know which self-tanning drops will deliver the perfect post-vacay glow, there are a couple of things to take into consideration before hitting add-to-cart. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, look for soothing and natural ingredients and opt for a fragrance-free product to err on the side of caution.
Also, decide how deep of a glow you’d like. Most self-tanners range from light to dark, and while drops are fully customizable, the dark hue will (obviously) get you to a “just spent 14 days in the Caribbean” tan much faster. If you’re new to self-tanning, lighter options are your best bet. Always remember you can adjust the drops-to-moisturizer ratio to alter your desired shade.
How We Chose the Best Self-tanning Drops
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Do self-tanning drops actually work?
Yes, self-tanning drops work! They contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is the ingredient that causes the keratin in your skin to turn darker.
How long do self-tanning drops last?
Depending on which drops you use, the highly-concentrated self-tanner will last at least one or two days. Excellent self-tanning drops should hold up to facial cleansing, showering, makeup and sweat. Once you see the color fading, you can simply apply a bit more during your skincare routine.
How do you use self-tanning drops?
To correctly use self-tanning drops, add two to 12 drops to at least a 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite moisturizer. Decrease the ratio if you need to lighten the tan shade, or increase the amount of self-tanning drops if you want to go darker. The drops are a liquid concentrate, so they always need to be mixed with moisturizer before applying.
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