The 8 Best Self Tanners For Your Face To Shop Ahead Of Summer

From easy-to-use mists to hyaluronic serums, here are the best fake tans for your face

best face fake tan

by Grazia Beauty Team |

Self-tanners for the face are having a moment. With increasingly sophisticated formulas that contain skin-loving ingredients typically found in skin care products (like hyaluronic acid), fake tan may just be the ticket for dry, lack-lustre skin in need of a pick-me-up.

The trick to tanning the face well is to go as natural as possible. The aim of the game here is to have a believable glow that will have friends asking 'where have you been?', and not 'what fake tan do you use?'. As Isle of Paradise founder Jules Von Hep says, ‘if you apply too much self-tan it will look unnatural. Think tanned, natural and effortless – not tangoed.' Follow his general rule of thumb: 'two coats on the body, one on the face.’

Choose a formula that works for you. From tanning lotion and gradual tan products to tanning drops and sprays, there are so many ways to achieve a glow on your face that's streak-free and believable.

Top tip? Look for one that dries quickly to avoid transference onto white bed linen. Scroll on down to discover our pick of the best face tanners, available to buy now.

SHOP: The Best Fake Tans For Your Face


The Best Self-Tanners For Your Face, 2022

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One of the best facial fake tans on the market. This, first and foremost, is a hyaluronic acid serum - and a very good one, too. As such, it hydrates the skin beautifully, and then lends a gradual bronze tint over time. This is the most un-tan like tanning product we've encountered. Go easy with a few drops, first, and then build it up.

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Combining hardworking skincare ingredients with fake tan, this serum lends a glow that looks remarkably fresh. Other hydrators - like aloe and natural oils - supply moisture, meaning the tan is less likely to gather in any dry patches on the face. Follow up with the deliciously scented Peaches and Cream Self Tan for the body, for a full body glow.

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Amanda Harrington's range is unrivalled when it comes to tanning the face. After you've applied the Illuminating Bronzing Mist, use the Face Buffer Brush to blend for the most even tan of your life. There's even a Pre-Colour Primer, which creates the optimal base for your tan and also contains low-level tanning agents to extend the life of your glow. The colour is brilliant, too: not too orange and warm, but not too ashy, either.

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Founded by spray tan wunderkind Jules von Hepp, Isle of Paradise is full of hero products that suit every skin type. The drops, however, are particularly special – and certainly one to use if you're a tanning novice. They come in light, medium and dark. Jules himself recommends adding 2-3 drops into your daily moisturiser and then sweeping the product over your skin in upward motions – don't forget the décolletage!

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If you know, you know. Clarins' glow booster is designed to be added to your moisturiser for your easiest fake tan yet. The colour is a rich honeyed gold once built, and is perfect for those wanting just a touch of colour.

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A really easy product to use, simply spritz and go – no need to wash off. Trust the tanning experts at St Tropez to produce a product free from that notorious 'fake tan smell'. This tan has an uplifting tropical scent that will have you thinking about booking your next holiday in the sun. It also fades beautifully and evenly (a must for facial fake tans).

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This is a fake tan that hydrates like a moisturiser, making it a seriously believable bronzing fix. The creamy nature of the product means it doesn't settle into pores, leaving a warm, bronze glow that can be built on with real ease.

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This multi-tasker is perfect for the perpetually busy, combining skin care and tanning into one seamless experience. This lightweight serum gives a subtle glow and has solid skin care credentials to back it up -hyaluronic acid to hydrate, algae to detoxify and plant stem cells to rejuvenate. It's slower to develop than others mentioned here, making it a solid option for tanning newbies.

Are Face Tanners Safe To Use?

The majority of self-tanners use an active ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (otherwise known as DHA) to temporarily tan the skin’s surface layer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved DHA for external application to the skin, stating it is safe to do so. However, they state that DHA shouldn’t be inhaled of applied to the lips or around the eyes as the risks of doing so are unknown.

Once you've settled on one of the best face tanners from our edit above, give yourself some time to apply the product carefully. Begin with exfoliation, before applying the product in sections and leave it to dry before hitting the hay.

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