6 best face tanners for dark skin that even out your complexion and deliver a healthy glow | THE INDEPENDENT

6 best face tanners for dark skin that even out your complexion and deliver a healthy glow | THE INDEPENDENT

These lotions and serums will deliver skin radiance and a smooth texture

As a woman of colour, you automatically assume that self-tan isn’t for you. Already showcasing a darker complexion, you instantly compare yourself to marketing standards that highlight tanning products being used on caucasian skin. However, with the innovation that has hit the market in recent years, self-tanning for women of colour has become a way of evening the complexion and eliciting an all-over illuminating glow.

The shift has been introduced through the development in formulation, which is no longer solely based on colour guides garnering light, medium and dark but now formulated to adjust with the individual’s skin tone.

Amanda Harrington, celebrity tan consultant, says: “It’s all about the base colours of the tints, rather than just increasing the percentage of DHA (tanning agent) to make you the darkest possible colour. Tan base colour ranges between red, purple, and green”. So, it is this base guideline that adapts to darker complexions allowing the self-tan to even the complexion while diminishing any dull, grey tones.

“It is important to pack the formulation with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and illuminators to make the skin radiant,” Harrington adds. By infusing fake tan with skincare actives, it allows your tan to not only fade evenly but also keep the skin hydrated and moisturised.

The focus for facial tanning when it comes to women of colour is about adding warmth, enriching a radiance and removing grey or ashen colouring. That’s why we put the best products on the market to the test. We considered the visible results, longevity, adaptability into our skincare routines, colour intensity and the difference it made to the skin overall. The search for the best facial tanner that makes a natural but radiant difference was difficult, but these are our favourites.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism acrossThe Independent. 

James Read glow20 facial tanning serum

Ticking all the boxes for your summer wishlist, we love and recommend this facial tan serum not only for its quick and effective application (boasting a 20 minute tan wonder) but the perfect glow it elicits on the skin. The formula initially applies completely colourless with no scent, but harnesses vitamin C to brighten the complexion, hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and aloe vera to keep the skin soft and supple, ensuring the ideal tan for summer. Once dry on the skin (with no transfer), it doesn’t leave the skin orange-looking. Instead it creates a natural and even finish, especially for those wanting an extra boost of colour to the skin without the need to wear make-up. What we love most is the non-sticky formula that when dried down on the skin feels more like skincare than anything else.

Tan-Luxe super glow hyaluronic self-tan serum 30ml

We love this product for its versatility – it’s perfect for those women of colour who perhaps don’t want to embrace a medium/deep colour but want a glow instead. Tan-Luxe’s hyaluronic self-tan serum is colourless and therefore can be added to any moisturiser, SPF or serum. Allowing you to customise the finish based on the amount of drops you use, the serum offers a luminating and sun-kissed look to the skin with the added skincare benefits of hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated and healthy. We especially loved combining this with our tinted moisturisers or primers for the perfect base.

Price comparison

Amanda Harrington face illuminating bronzing mist in natural olive

This kit is for anyone who wants to even out the appearance of pigmentation while still retaining a natural look. We love that the set comes with a tanning glove and body brush as well as the mist, as it makes the application process seamless, whether you’re a beginner or expert. Delivering a natural finish, the formula includes coenzyme Q10 to support and strengthen the skin while delivering vital antioxidant properties for protection. It’s also infused with collagen to help promote a youthful complexion and light-reflecting elements to create the long-lasting radiance. You also don’t have to worry about missing spots because the soft buffing brush takes on the job of blending the semi-permanent colour in with no trace.

Dr Sebagh self-tanning drops 20ml

For women of colour who crave an even and illuminated complexion but also need the superior skincare benefits too, then Dr Sebagh’s self-tan drops are the perfect addition to your arsenal. They contain HEV melanin, which protects against HEV rays that can be emitted by smart devices. Unlike other tanning drops, these don’t stain your hands or pillows, which is an added bonus. The golden glow lasts for days.

Price comparison

Isle of Paradise self tanning drops dark 30ml

These are the perfect drops for those who want a heavy duty, long-lasting and noticeable tan. Don’t be put off by the “dark” in the name or its strength – it doesn’t leave the complexion streaky or orange but instead effectively conceals any dullness or ashy tones to the skin. Its unique formulation contains a hyper-violet complex ,meaning that it cancels out any yellow or orange undertones. Plus, it’s packed with tanning actives such as avocado, chia seeds and coconut oil for a healthy glow.

Price comparison

By Terry tea to tan face and body travel size

The perfect glowy hybrid, this delivers the sun-kissed complexion of a bronzer with the longevity of a self-tanner. To be used for both face and body, we love this for those who want an instant glow for on-the-go without having to wait for your tan to develop. Infused with antioxidant black and red tea extracts to protect the skin and fruit actives such as cherry, the formula moisturises and softens the complexion. Dispelling the myths that women of colour can’t facial tan – it’s the perfect product to overthrow the thought, leaving skin bronzed, even and radiant.

Price comparison

The verdict: Face tanners for dark skin

We love that so many tanning brands have innovated their formulas to include all skin tones. The selection was difficult as we wanted to find the right balance between colour enhancing and colour correcting, as well as including skincare benefits for the extra seal of approval. However, we were blown away most by James Read’s glow20 serum. It stands out as our best buy for its lightweight and colourless texture, non-drying or tacky formula as well as the hydrating, healthy and radiant results that looked incredible on bare skin or under make-up.

Amanda Harrington’s illuminating bronzing mist was also a strong contender for its ability to create a professional yet natural-looking tan as well as By Terry’s tea to tan face and body for even and illuminating results.



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