If there’s one way to give your complexion a super quick perk up, it’s with a little layer of the best tanning products. Although tanning formulas have come a long way in the last 5 years, they can still be a bit of a faff to use (though well worth it in our opinion) and not everyone loves to walk around with their face marinating with tan, or risk getting the colour guide on their pillow. But there’s one type of tanning product that makes the process a total doddle: tanning drops.
Tanning drops are so easy to incorporate into your daily skincare routine — day or night — and give a lovely, natural-looking tan without needing to worry about a colour guide or transfer. All you have to do is add them to your favourite moisturiser and apply. As with all tanning products though, to get the best result, there are some need-to-knows.
We’re here to help give you all the info on how to use tanning drops, then round up some of the best brands out there; including Isle of Paradise, Tan Luxe, and Bondi Sands. Welcome to the easiest tan of your life.
What are tanning drops?
The great news is that tanning drops are pretty self-explanatory and aren’t complicated. Essentially they’re a concentrated tanning formula in a dropper bottle that can be added to any moisturiser or lotion to give a gradual tan overnight or even throughout the day.
They’re predominantly made for the face — and are particularly good if you find that regular body tan on your face can cause pimples or congestion — but can also be used on the body.
Another selling point of tanning drops is that you can tailor the level of tan, meaning you don’t need to have multiple bottles of different depths of tan; you can control it with the number of drops you use.
How do you use tanning drops
In more great news, tanning drops actually require a lot less effort than regular tan to apply. Here’s a foolproof way:
1. Cleanse your skin
A clean canvas is always the best way to start. Most people like to apply their tanning drops before bed so make sure all of your makeup is removed prior to application as you would any regular nighttime skincare routine.
2. Apply your serums
Pop on any serums you like to use before moisturiser and give these time to soak in.
3. Mix your magic
Next up is tanning drop time. Get your chosen moisturiser and pop the amount you’d normally use for your face and neck onto the palm of your hand. Then, apply 3-6 drops of tan, depending on the level of glow you’re after, right into the moisturiser. After mixing, you may need to add more moisturiser to get the consistency right; you want it to be well combined with the tanning drops but not use too many so that it changes the moisturiser texture.
Apply the mixture all over your face as you should a normal moisturiser but be a little mindful about over and under applying in certain areas. Don’t forget to get into that hairline and all the way down your neck and slightly onto your chest.
5. Brush the brows
This isn’t crucial, but it’s a good idea to swipe over your brows and brush up into your hairline using a towel or issue after applying to blend it out and make sure the tan isn’t clinging to those hairs.
6. Wash your hands
Since the tanning drops don’t have a colour guide, it’s easy to forget that you’ve used your hands to apply it so make sure you wash that moisturiser off your hands well. The last thing you want is orange palms.
How often should you use tanning drops
The frequency with which you use tanning drops depends on how deep you like your tan. Some people like to add it little and often to their routine, opting for around every other day and others like to do it once a week. Of course, if you only like wearing it for special occasions that’s great too; apply it a couple of days before your big event.
The trick is to make sure you’re keeping on top of exfoliating if you’re wearing it regularly. This ensures the dead skin cells and old tan are being sloughed away so the fresh tan looks, well, fresh.
Can I use tanning drops after retinol
In short: yes, you can use tanning drops after retinol. However, we’d advise to make sure your skin is used to the retinol and tan separately first to avoid any further irritation. Leave a decent amount of time for the retinol to soak into the skin before going in with your moisturiser. Plus, it’s a good idea to wash your hands after applying the retinol and before your moisturiser/tanning drop concoction.
What you should never do is mix your retinol with your tanning drops. This may cause irritation and also won’t give you a nice, even result. If you’re unsure about applying your tanning drops after your retinol, just alternate days. Or, apply your tanning drops in the morning before your makeup — this works well too and the makeup doesn’t disrupt the drops.
Can you use tanning drops on your body
You absolutely can use tanning drops on your body, in fact, some brands have even made bigger bottles to cater for this. Tanning drops used on your legs and arms is great if you don’t love using a tanning mousse, for example, but want a bit of a glow. It might take a bit of trial and error figuring out your moisturiser to tan ratio, but it’s well worth it for the results.
How to take tanning drops off
Tanning drops don’t require as much removal efforts as regular tan does. That’s because it’s a little more gradual so tends to wear off nicely over time if you’re making sure to cleanse your skin nightly. Having said that, regular exfoliation sessions are necessary to keep your skin from looking tiger bread-esque. On the face, we recommend some gentle chemical exfoliation and on the body, you can use a physical exfoliation to rid the old tan.