Let’s be honest: sun damage is never fun, so using the best fake tan drops or mists in your regime is a great way to cheat the look of a two-week holiday in Greece, without the UV exposure.
In the summer it can be tempting to top up your tan when you see other people bronzing under the sun (don’t do it without SPF, your future self will thank you!), whereas the winter months and lack of vitamin D leave us all looking a bit more glow-deficient than we’d like.
This is where fake tan drops can be a welcome addition to your skincare routine, whether you’re jetting of somewhere sunny or sticking closer to home.
What are fake tan drops and how do you use them?
For the uninitiated, fake tan drops are essentially a concentrated tanning formula that usually contain the glow-giving ingredient dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. They can be mixed into your usual serum or moisturiser to help create a custom glow that’s to your liking, giving your skin added warmth. There are also pre-mixed fake tan serums and masks that do the same job, without the custom element, while mists are simply spritzed over your face to gradually add that hit of bronze.
Can’t you just use regular fake tan on your face?
The skin on our faces is actually very different to the skin on our bodies, so it’s important to use something that’s been specially formulated with its different composition in mind. What’s more, tanning drops, mists and serums are often infused with skincare ingredients, so they slot into your regime easily and ensure your complexion benefits as well as getting a glow.
How do you prep to use face tanner?
Before you tan, make sure you prep your canvas by gently exfoliating to remove any dead skin. This will ensure your tan doesn’t cling on to any dry or flaky patches and help your faux glow to last longer.
How do I buy face tanner according to my skin tone?
Classically, self tanners have been categorised into light/medium for paler skin tones and medium/deep for deeper skin tones, and the same applies with face tanners. Newer formulations to the market however have gone one step further, taking into consideration the undertones of your skin.
Isle of Paradise’s tanning mists are formulated to work with your skin tone to colour correct and brighten, whereas Amanda Harrington’s self-tanning range features three different undertones (honey, rose and olive) to give you the most natural finish.
Now let’s dive into the best fake tan drops and mists on the market.
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops for Face and Body, £21.95
Founded by legendary spray tanner and fountain of positivity Jules Von Hep, Isle of Paradise has quickly established itself as one of the go-to brands for self tan.
The drops, which should be added to your favourite moisturiser, are unique in that they colour correct as well as developing a gradual tan, to ensure you end up with a natural-looking glow that is never orange.
They come in three different colour options: peach for a light glow, green for a medium glow and violet for a dark bronze, so there’s something for everyone.
Tan Luxe The Face, £36
Tan Luxe’s drops are the height of luxury and are loved by beauty editors and influencers all over the world. Obviously more drops will yield a darker colour when mixed with your moisturiser of choice, but there are two different shades to choose from depending on your skin tone and the level of tan you’re after: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark.
Housed in chic, minimal packaging, the formula is packed with skin-loving ingredients like raspberry seed oil to hydrate, antioxidant-rich vitamin E, and aloe vera to soothe for soft and smooth-feeling skin when you wake up.
Bondi Sands Pure Concentrated Self Tan Drops, £14.99
The name Bondi Sands instantly makes you think of a serious Aussie glow, and that’s exactly what these great fake tan drops are – but in bottle form. In terms of additional skin benefits, the tanning formula also boasts hyaluronic acid to help draw moisture into the skin, as well as the antioxidants vitamin C and E, which are great for brightening.
Promising to suit all skin tones, these drops are also housed in a squeezy bottle, rather than your classic serum dropper situation, but this actually feels a bit more precise than a pipette when adding the formula to your moisturiser or serum. Easily some of the best fake tan drops around.
Bare By Vogue Face Tanning Mist, £16
The light edition of this facial tanner by Bare By Vogue, founded by presenter Vogue Williams, is actually one of the best fake tan mists I’ve tried because it gives the subtlest hint of colour to very pale skin with just a spritz or two (there are also medium and dark options on offer for those with darker skin tones or for those who want a deeper bronze result).
Another gradual developer, this lightweight mist is very soothing, containing skin-calming oatmeal, chamomile and antioxidants. It lasts well and fades gradually without ever going patchy, so it’s a great option for beginners or low maintenance self tanners.
St Tropez Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist, £22
St Tropez is probably one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of fake tan brands, because it’s a classic high street fave. This mist develops gradually and is great for adding a really healthy, glowy tone to skin, making me look like I’ve been on a decent length holiday in the Mediterranean.
As well as this, the refreshing mist is packed with ingredients that are good for your skin too, including hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidant hibiscus extract and refreshing green mandarin water. There is only one shade available, though it can be built up for a very bronzed result.
Skinny Tan Wonder Serum Face Tanning Drops, £19.99
Another big name fake tan brand, Skinny Tan’s concentrated drops contain hydrating hyaluronic acid to help boost your skin’s hydration levels as well as its glow while your tan develops.
The formula also packs vitamin E, soothing aloe vera, skin-firming blackberry leaf extract and anti-ageing ingredient Q10 into its INCI list for an impressive roster of skin benefits. Although it’s subtle when mixed with your moisturiser or serum, the formula does have a bit of a sparkly golden sheen to help boost your radiant glow, but it’s not too noticeable if you’re worried it will look too highlighter-esque.