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8 best tanning drops for your face to get your glow on: From Isle of Paradise to Charlotte Tilbury & the TikTok-famous must-have

Bronzing drops are having a real moment right now...

Best tanning drops
Leanne Bayley
Director of Lifestyle & Commerce
16 April 2024
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Bronzing drops are having a real moment right now, especially because we've had some new launches from some major beauty brands and they're all creating a buzz on TikTok and Instagram. 

Not only are face tanning drops easy to apply, and help to achieve that bronzed radiance, but they are more delicate for the sensitive skin on your face, and some contain skincare-worthy ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. 

Tanning drops - or bronzing drops as some people describe them - are wonderful for giving YOU the control over how tanned you want to look in the face, and you can either achieve a slight glow or a full on tanned complexion, without the harmful UV rays. The personalisation is a major plus, and they can be easily incorporated into your daily skincare regime. 

Best bronzing drops - at a glance

In the past, I've suffered breakouts after using tanning drops, but nowadays most drops are packed with added skincare ingredients that are kinder to the skin. I always make sure I clean my face really well at the end of the evening, and go over with a toner. I've also noticed that since I've started using my LED face mask, my breakouts have calmed down, too. 

How I chose the best tanning drops 

  • Tried & tested: I often get sent new products to test out, so I've tried all the products in this list and I recommend them. 
  • Skincare benefits: I only included tanning drops packed with skincare ingredients.
  • Trending on social media: I'm always on TikTok and Instagram and I get easily influenced - the majority of these brands are TikTok famous.
The tanning drops I have on rotation right now© Leanne Bayley
The tanning drops I have on rotation right now

Experts in this article

Jules Von Hep, founder of Isle of Paradise, a renowned tanning brand. Jules has over 90,000 followers on Instagram and is a passionate advocate for body confidence. 

What are the golden rules for face tanning? 

Isle of Paradise founder, Jules Von Hep, emphasises the importance of a natural look, saying: "Faces that have too much self-tan on them look unnatural – think tanned, natural, glowing, effortless skin." 

For an effortlessly tanned face, Jules recommends tanning drops. "Mix your desired amount of drops in with your normal face moisturiser (the more you drop the deeper the glow – I advise 2-3 drops). Sweep your moisturiser over your skin, massaging in upward motions, and down the neck to the décolletage. Embarking on your self-tanning journey doesn't have to be daunting. Remember, whether you choose to tan at night or in the morning, it's all about what works best for you and your routine. And when it comes to your face, less is more for that natural, effortless glow".  

Before you start, ensure your face is cleansed thoroughly. "Exfoliating will help deliver a uniform skin tone," Jules advises.  

He also recommends splashing your face with cold water beforehand to close pores.  It's important to note that AHAs and retinol should not be used with self-tan. You don’t want anything to compromise your tan application, and that can include your toothpaste. Jules says: "Brush your teeth prior to tan application. Toothpaste can collect at the side of your mouth and remove tan here if you do it afterwards." 

Which tanning drops are best? 

  1. 1/8

    Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Island Glow Easy Tanning Drops

    Charlotte Tilbury tanning drops© Charlotte Tilbury

    Charlotte Tilbury

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Infused with skincare ingredients including hyaluronic acid to hydrate, nourish and plump the look of your skin

    How To Apply:

    Working with your existing morning or evening skincare routine, wear under, mixed in with or on top of your moisturiser.

    Why We Love It: This product is so incredible, and it's kind to the skin. What's more, it's fuss-free and fully customisable for the seamless, streak-free, bronzed tan of your dreams. Reflecting how different skin tones behave in the sun, Charlotte Tilbury has expertly formulated two shades suitable for all skin tones! Choose Fair/Medium if you have cool undertones and Tan/Deep if you have warmer undertones.

  2. 2/8

    Isle of Paradise Liquid Sunny Serum

    Isle of Paradise Sunny Serum© Isle of Paradise

    Isle Of Paradise

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Type: Serum

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Niacinamide, Squalane, and Jojoba Oil

    How To Use:

    You have four different ways to use this product. You could wear it alone or with your favourite moisturiser for a really natural no-makeup glow. You could use it under makeup or mix with your foundation. You could use as a highlighter for the highpoints of your fave, or you could even apply it to your body to illuminate areas such as decolletage, collarbones or shoulders.

    Why We Love It: A huge hit on social, this universal formula is suitable for all skin types and tones and is the key to having more radiant, brighter and illuminated skin within seconds. It was developed to help with redness and to even out skin tone, but there are four different ways you can use this serum. 

  3. 3/8

    Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops

    Isle of Paradise tanning drops© Isle of Paradise

    Isle of Paradise

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Formulated with SuperBalance complex to reduce redness & calm the skin and improve your karma. Contains Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), a powerful antioxidant to reduce visible redness, dark spots, and uneven tone

    How To Apply:

    Mix drops to your moisturiser or serum, spreading evenly over the entire face and neck, avoiding the eye area.

    Of course you can opt for the brand's iconic tanning drops as well. Formulated with HyperViolet complex to reduce orange tones, these can be added to your favourite moisturiser for a natural, streak-free glow. With shades to suit a variety of skin tones, these colour-correcting drops effortlessly fit into your daily routine to keep your skin looking radiant all year round.

  4. 4/8

    Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

    Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops© Drunk Elephant

    Drunk Elephant

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Formulated with a chronopeptide, which mimics the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D, omega-rich virgin marula and black currant seed oils, along with vitamin F (fatty acids)

    How To Use:

    It's not advised to use by itself as it's too concentrated. Add a drop or more of D-Bronzi to your serum, sunscreen, oil or moisturiser and you'll be left with a gorgeous glow and a potent dose of protective antioxidants and omega fatty acids.

    Why We Love It: Loved by countless TikTokers (especially Alix Earle), this is often described as a little bottle of sunshine, without the damaging effects! Infused with the brand's signature cold-pressed virgin marula oil and black currant seed oil, working to hydrate and nourish skin while adding a bronze tint.

    The peptides work their magic on the skin, giving the vibes of a post-holiday glow.  Be warned though, this has a tendency to sell out all the time. 

  5. 5/8

    Garnier Ambre Solaire Natural Bronzer Self-Tan Face Drops

    garnier tannig drops © Garnier


    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Enriched with hyaluronic acid and moisturising coconut water

    How To Apply

    On clean skin, mix 4-12 drops with your moisturiser in the palm of your hand. Smooth evenly over face and neck. Blend at the hairline and eyebrows using a cotton pad.

    Why We Love It: Mrs Hinch is a big fan and declared the tanning drops as being a 10 out of 10. I also really rate these drops, and it was actually Mrs Hinch who convinced me to try this product out as the result looked so good on her. I have a tendency to break out when my skin comes into contact with fake tan so I was a little bit cautious, but this product felt gentle on my skin. I also love the fact that there’s no strong ‘fake tan smell’. I really advise mixing this in with your moisturiser, rather than applying like a serum. The overall look is way more natural.

  6. 6/8

    Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

    Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops - Light/Medium© Tan-Luxe


    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Raspberry Seed Oil, Vitamin E and Aloe Vera

    How To Apply:

    Mix 1-12 drops into your moisturiser, serum or oil in the palm of your hand, then apply evenly to the face. The more drops you apply, the deeper your glow will be.

    Why We Love It: I'm a big fan of Tan-Luxe products and this is definitely one of my favourites. I love that there's a 'body' version which I sometimes mix with body moisturiser. The liquid tan-in-a-bottle helps to minimise skin imperfections, unify uneven skin tone and enhance your skin with a luminous radiance without any streaks to give it away. 

  7. 7/8

    Bondi Sands Self Tan Drops

    Bondi Sands Self Tan Drops© Bondi Sands

    Bondi Sands

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml 

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Enriched with Australian botanicals for nourished, glowing skin

    How To Use:

    Add 4-12 Self Tan Drops to your face or body moisturiser, mix well and apply evenly over face or body. When applying to your face, avoid eyes and be sure to wash your hands. Increasing the number of drops will result in a deeper tan.

    Why We Love It: Bondi Sands’ tanning drops are just what you need before the warmer months ahead (a girl can dream!). Whether you’re new to the world of self-tan or are an avid tanner, this tan hero face product is fool-proof, natural looking and fast drying – getting your glow on has never been so easy. 

  8. 8/8

    St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops

    St Tropez tanning drops© St Tropez

    St Tropez

    Key Details:

    Size: 30ml

    Star Skincare Ingredients: Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Echinacea and Acerola Cherry extract rich in Vitamins C & E

    How To Apply:

    It's super easy! Apply direct to skin or blend 2-6 drops with your moisturiser or serum. The more drops you apply, the deeper your glow. Your customised tan will develop over 4-8hrs, No need to rinse. 

    Why We Love It: St Tropez is a trusted brand within the self tan industry, and it's clear to see why. Within the luxe range you'll find the popular St. Tropez Luxe Tan Tonic Glow Drops which are enriched with science-backed skincare ingredients. 

    Infused with 100% natural tanning active, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Echinacea and Acerola Cherry extract rich in Vitamins C & E to help plump, protect, smooth fine lines, reduce redness and give a natural sunkissed glow.

What are tanning drops?

Tanning drops are in liquid form, and contain a self tan formula to give your skin a faux sun tan, and depending on the product can vary from light to dark shades. They usually contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a colourless chemical that interacts with the amino acids in the skin to produce a temporary tan. They are super simple to use, you can apply two to three drops directly to your face, and let it sink in, similar to a moisturiser, or you can blend with a serum as a tan enhancer. 

How to use tanning drops?

Tanning drops are super simple to use. 

All you have to do is apply a few drops to your face, whether you apply directly to your skin, blend with your moisturiser, or on your hands before blending in, as you would any other face serum. 

Let it dry, and develop, and you will notice your skin will be glowing.

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