Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of self-tanner over the years because I’ve had too many blunders that left me scrubbing my hands and ankles with lemon juice, baking soda and just about every sugar scrub I had in my cabinet. I know, I probably skipped a key prep-step or didn’t use the most ideal formula for my skin, but that’s my story. When another editor (who is keen on my self-tanner misfortune) heard me complaining about wanting to give my face more color without adding more makeup and without ending up like an oompa-loompa, she said I should try Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops. “They look so natural,” she told me.
Happy to report, she was right. Here’s what makes this facial self-tanner a must-try for a weeklong sun-kissed glow without makeup or sun damage.
My Skin Type:
Combination. I’m drier in the cold-weather months and oilier in the warm-weather ones thanks to the high humidity on the East Coast. Occasionally when I try a new product or use a formula with a high concentration of acids, I experience a little sensitivity (mainly redness, but sometimes tingling).
This tailor-made self-tanner works in tandem with your existing skin-care routine, so you don’t have to add an extra step. It mixes (like a skin-care booster) into your moisturizer, serum or oil of choice. I tried it with all three, and prefer cream as the delivery system for this because of the spreadability. I felt like I achieved the most even application, but that’s not to say I was splotchy with serum or oil—just personal preference.
It comes in two shades: Light/Medium, which is best for cool-toned skin with red or pinkish undertones that tends to burn easily in the sun (that’s me); and Medium/Dark, which is great for olive or darker skin tones that tan easily in the sun. The naturally derived DHA in the formula reacts with the melanin in your skin to produce the temporary glow.
For skin-care benefits in addition to the beautiful bronze, the brand added raspberry seed oil, which helps the skin retain moisture, as well as antioxidant vitamin E and hydrating aloe vera.
DHA, raspberry seed oil, vitamin E and aloe vera
How to Use It:
One of the best things about these drops is the customization factor: the more drops you add to your moisturizer, serum or oil, the deeper your tan will be (mix them together in your hand). The brand recommends two drops for a radiant finish, four for a sun-kissed finish, eight for a golden finish, and 12 for a bronzed finish. I started with two and eventually tried four, but after some testing, I prefer two to three for my skin (I’m pretty fair). I also apply my moisture-drop mixture to my neck. And like other self-tanner products, wash your hands well afterward. The results usually take two to four hours to develop, and you should avoid sweating or showering during that time.
I’ve had a few friends ask me if you can mix the drops with sunscreen, and I’d say no. The brand doesn’t recommend this either, as it could degrade the sun protection, so it’s better not to go that route just in case. The results should last up to a week, and they’ll fade naturally. Pro tip: If you have dry skin, exfoliate before applying so the tanner doesn’t stick to any dry patches (those areas could turn slightly darker), which can happen.
Price/Where to Buy: