To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best face tan drops 2023: Get glowy skin all year-round

Keeping your tan topped up is a breeze with the best face tan drops – here are our favourites

For those who’d like to try out a fake tan product but can’t quite figure out how to incorporate it into their skincare regime, the best face tan drops could be the ideal solution. Just mix a few drops into your moisturiser, apply as normal and leave the tan to develop overnight. Since you can choose the number of drops you add to your moisturiser, you control the strength of your tan.

With so many facial tanning drops available on the market, it can be difficult to know which is best for your needs. Well, you needn’t worry, because we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve tested a whole range of facial tanning drops and hand-picked the most effective, even, and glowy options to save you the trouble. If you’re unsure about exactly how to use face tanning drops, we offer help and advice in our buying guide below. Or, skip further down to discover our reviews of the best face tan drops available now.

READ NEXT: The best hairspray to buy

Best face tan drops: At a glance

How to choose the best face tan drops for you

What are face tan drops?

Face tan drops are arguably the easiest way to get a customisable tan on your face. They have a serum-like consistency that is dispensed in drops and mixed with any moisturiser before being applied to the face, hairline and neck. Once applied, a glowing tan that lasts for days will develop in around six to eight hours.

While most tan drops are formulated with skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, the best thing about them is that you can control how dark you want your tan to go. Most manufacturers recommend using anything between three to eight drops; the more drops you add, the darker the result will be.

If you’re not sure how many to use, always start with less and build up. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take them off once they’re on. Nobody wants to be stuck looking like they’ve been tangoed just because they went overkill with the tanning drops!

READ NEXT: The best sunglasses to buy

Which tan drops are good for me?

After testing a whole range of facial tan drops, we can safely say that all of the drops featured in this roundup work beautifully to give you a healthy, natural-looking tan. However, that doesn’t mean that every tanning drop will be the best for you.

If you’re looking for a good all-rounder you can opt for a face tan that’s suitable for the face and the body. Others can be mixed with foundation to create a lasting glow, whereas others have anti-ageing properties. Make sure you’ve looked at all the options before purchasing the tanning drops you think best fit your needs.

Do face tan drops offer sun protection?

No – face tan drops, and facial fake tans in general, do not provide any sun protection whatsoever. So, while you might be using facial tan drops to avoid actively tanning your face in the sun, it’s still important to wear SPF every day to protect your skin from the sun. Dermatologists recommend using at least SPF 30 every day to stave off premature wrinkles and sun damage.

READ NEXT: The best sunscreen to buy

How we test face tan drops

We use various criteria to assess facial tanning drops, and we start by looking at a product’s ingredients list, noting any standout additions – good or bad – that have been included in the formulation. Then we move on to testing the product on the skin, to assess the speed at which the colour develops and its intensity, comparing the results to other tanning drops.

Like the majority, we’re not keen to walk around with tangerine faces, so we start by applying each product to our forearms, then testing the best of the initial bunch on our faces.

For accuracy and fairness, we use eight drops of each tanning solution mixed into an even amount of moisturiser, applying it to small sections of our forearms. This enables us to compare the efficacy, evenness and longevity of the tanning drops side by side.

The best face tan drops to buy in 2023

1. Skinny Tan Tan & Tone Face Tanning Wonder Drops: Best face fake tan drops

Price: £20 for 30ml | Buy now from Sephora

These long-lasting tanning drops from Skinny Tan are formulated with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, Q10 and aloe vera to hydrate, smooth and protect your skin from natural stressors. The drops are also vegan, cruelty-free and fragrance-free, so you can be sure there’s no chance of nasties going on your face.

The tan itself has a dark, slightly shimmery appearance in the bottle, but when mixed with moisturiser in the recommended concentration of 3-10 drops, the tan dulls to a more subtle glow. It smells great thanks to the coconut oil in the formula, and its glass pipette-style dropper is angled to allow you to precisely control the number of drops you dispense. Overnight, the tan develops on your face, providing even coverage and a glowy tan that stays for days. As there’s a large range in the number of drops you can use, this tan is incredibly versatile and even using the full ten drops the tan doesn’t make you look orange. It’s a great option for those looking for versatility.

Key details – Size: 30ml; Developing time: 6-8 hours; Vegan and cruelty-free: Yes

Buy now from Skinny Tan

2. Coco & Eve Sunny Honey: Best face tan drops for travel

Price: £23 for 30ml | Buy now from Look Fantastic

One of the worst things about tanning can be that persistent biscuit smell caused by the chemical reaction that happens when the tanning agent, DHA, comes into contact with the skin. Luckily that tan smell is nowhere to be smelled with this tan from Coco & Eve; instead, these facial tan drops have been made to have a sweet mango and guava scent. Its alcohol-free formula is formulated with hyaluronic acid, coconut water and dragon fruit to make the skin appear moisturised and plump.

As far as tanning properties go, it’s suitable for daily use and mixing the recommended two to three drops in with your moisturiser results in a subtle, natural-looking tan. If you’re wanting a darker tan, it’s available in both medium and dark shades, so make sure you select the one that’s right for you. Unlike the other face tan drops in the roundup, the packaging for Sunny Honey is not a glass pipette bottle. Instead, the packaging is plastic, making it perfect for travel as it takes up less weight in your bag.

Key details – Size: 30ml; Developing time: Not stated; Vegan and cruelty-free: Yes

3. Cha Vøhtz Age Defy+: Best anti-ageing tanning drops for face and body

Price: £36 for 30ml | Buy now from Green People

If you’re on the hunt for tanning drops that work for both your face and body, then look no further than these anti-ageing tanning drops from Cha Vøhtz. It’s formulated with pentasaccharide-rich seaweed to smooth and firm the skin, alongside deeply hydrating glycerin to give you a youthful glow. The drops also contain green tea, which helps to soothe inflammation and protects against natural environmental stressors.

In terms of the tanning effect, the manufacturers recommend using up to five drops for your face, and six to ten drops in body lotion. When we tried it, we found that it applied smoothly and evenly, leaving our skin feeling deeply moisturised and hydrated. Although it’s designed specifically with over 35s in mind, this anti-ageing product can be used by anyone hoping to proactively prevent signs of ageing. And, of course, it works for anyone who wants to get a healthy-looking tan.

Key details – Size: 30ml; Developing time: 12-24 hours; Vegan and cruelty-free: Yes

4. Skinny Tan Coconut Water Face Serum Tan Drops: Best budget face tan drops

Price: £17 for 30ml | Buy now from Sephora

Our best budget option in this roundup is this coconut water face serum from Skinny Tan. Its super hydrating formula includes coconut water, vitamin E and aloe vera, and the infamous fake tan biscuit smell has been replaced with a coconut and vanilla scent. Be warned: the scent is really sweet so it’s one to avoid if you’re put off by sugary smells. In the glass bottle, the product is pale and shimmery, but this dissipates to a subtle glow when mixed with moisturiser.

As with the other Skinny Tan product in this roundup, the dropper is angled at the end to make it super simple to accurately measure out how many drops you want. Skinny Tan recommends using six drops for each application, but we’d start with a little less than this if your complexion is particularly fair. Better still, the serum can be mixed into a serum, moisturiser or foundation, making it incredibly versatile for the price. Just be sure to thoroughly mix the tanner with your moisturiser and use oil-free moisturiser for the best streak-free results.

Key details – Size: 30ml; Developing time: 6-8 hours; Vegan and cruelty-free: Yes

Buy now from Boots

Read more

Best Buys