Our Favourite Tanning Drops & How To Use Them

Self-tanning drops are one of the easiest ways to build a believable glow. Sheer in texture, they develop gradually – so even tanning novices can use them with confidence. Start with a couple of drops in your daily moisturiser or body lotion, and you’ll soon notice a subtle, healthy-looking radiance. If you’re yet to give them a go, here are the ones we rate…

Balance Me Gradual Tanning Drops, £24

These lightweight drops are some of the best we’ve come across. Mix into your regular face cream or body lotion to get a gradual tan that suits even the palest complexions. They’ve also been repackaged so both the pipette and glass bottle are completely recyclable. Effective and guilt-free. 

Top Tip: “If you’re applying these formulas directly to the face without moisturiser or serum, try using a make-up brush for a fast and simple finish,” says A-list tanner, James Harknett. “Using one with soft, fluffy bristles allows you to gently disperse tan carefully into the hairline and work the contours of your face. The Real Techniques brushes By Sam & Nicola Chapman are great.” 

Available at BalanceMe.com

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, £20

These lend a caramel, golden tone to skin. Recommended by experts and beauty therapists, it’s designed to be mixed with your serum or moisturiser for optimum results. Meanwhile, aloe vera keeps skin hydrated and nourished.

Available at Clarins.com

D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, £30

If you want a subtle boost, look no further. These drops allow you to tailor your glow accordingly, no matter your natural complexion. Add one or two drops to your usual serum or moisturiser, or take it up a notch with four drops for a deeper finish. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Ecooking Self-Tanning Drops, £22

We love this new eco-friendly brand and their tanning drops are no exception. Free from that tell-tale fake tan smell, a couple of drops will build a fresh-looking radiance over a few days. Control the intensity of your final colour by using them daily, or take breaks in between. Hyaluronic acid gives your skin a moisturising boost, too. 

Top Tip: “Before applying any fake tan to the face – including drops – protect your brows with a little Vaseline,” says James. “It’s also worth using your finger to pat in tan gently around your eyes to get an even blend.”

Available at TheFragranceShop.co.uk

Isle of Paradise Hyglo Self-Tan Face Serum, £21.95

Isle of Paradise are adding these new serum drops to their cult line for a gradual tan that delivers intense hydration. Available in one, suits-all formula, apply a few drops (anywhere between 4-12 depending on desired results) directly to the skin, or mix it in with your go-to body or face cream for a more gradual colour. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, avocado and coconut oil, it works to strengthen the skin and improve firmness. A must-try.

Top Tip: “To avoid too dark a glow, build up your colour over a few days,” adds James. “Do this by starting with just one drop on day one, then two drops on the second day and so forth. This will allow you to learn how much is needed and how long the colour lasts. It’s also important to maintain your tan with hydration. Try using a mist like La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane.”

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

James Read Gradual Tan H20 Tan Drops For Face, £30

When these first launched on QVC they sold £427,000-worth in just 12 minutes. With a water base and skin-boosting ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, these work to plump, hydrate and lend skin a streak-free radiance that never veers towards orange.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

Lumene Nordic-C Self-Tan Drops, £25.90

Lumene’s lightweight drops deliver a natural glow that never streaks, while the formula is both kind and nourishing to even the most sensitive of skin. Formulated with glow-giving vitamin C and nourishing wild Arctic cloudberry, a few drops mixed into your moisturiser will give your skin a bronze tint in just a matter of hours. We’ll be using this all year round.

Available at LookFantastic.com

Oskia Adaptive Tan Tri-Phase Self-Tan Drops, £70 

These are expensive, but they don’t disappoint. With plenty of rave reviews, they deliver a tan that makes you look like you’ve been on holiday for two weeks. Formulated with amino acids and a natural melanin complex, they keep your complexion in peak condition, while imparting a flattering, suits-all colour – no wonder they’re so popular.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum, £35

The easiest way to create a golden base is with these innovative drops. Add them to your moisturiser, serum or facial oil for a gradual olive-toned colour. Hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and cocoa seed extract keep skin firm and moisturised – if needed, just add a bit of extra contour with your usual bronzer. 

Top Tip: “For a seamless blend, prep your skin pre-application,” advises James. “A hot cloth cleanse is best, rather than a harsh exfoliation. If you have a good cleansing routine, you won’t need to worry about extra scrubs – these can over stimulate the skin and result in an uneven tan. Always place your cloth in cold water, then hold it over the face just before applying your drops to close the pores properly.”

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Tanologist Face + Body Drops, £14.99

These transparent drops deliver an impressive veil of colour that lasts for days. As well as giving great radiance, they blur imperfections and correct uneven tone with brightening juniper and goji berry. They’re non-comedogenic, too, so you never have to worry about clogging up in your pores and in turn, suffering from sudden breakouts.

Available at Superdrug.com

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