The Trick to Self-Tanning Your Face

A summer tan can do so much for our confidence, but it can also have dire consequences. You see, the sun is not a true friend. She makes you look great with her UV rays that amp up melanin production in your skin – all the while, she’s secretly causing harm that could come back to haunt you later, like premature skin aging and risk for certain cancers.

While you don’t have to cut ties with the sun completely, you should proceed with caution. Always use sunblock and wear protective gear like hats and sunglasses. As for your tan, you can fake it and still look every bit as great by using a self-tanner. Applying self-tanner to the body is fairly simple, but applying it to your face is a bit more complex. Here are some tricks to self-tanning your face.

Proper Prep

To avoid that streaky look and prevent color from settling into cracks and texture imperfections, you must first prep your skin. The first step? Exfoliate! You can use your favorite facial scrub or exfoliator tool, or you can wax or dermaplane. No matter your preferred method, it’s important that you remove hair and buildups of dead skin before you apply your self-tanner. You should exfoliate anywhere between a day to a few hours before you intend to apply the self-tanner, so your skin has a chance to calm down and prevent irritation.

Immediately before applying the self-tanner, wash your face with a gentle cleanser – and be thorough. Oils, debris, and makeup residue can all lead to patchy tans. Pat dry.

Use a Dedicated Formula

Always use a self-tanning product formulated for the face since formulas designed for the body can clog pores and lead to irritation and acne. In contrast, face-specific formulas often contain key skincare ingredients that are non-comedogenic.


It might be tempting to dive right in with a lot of product that will deliver dramatic results, but resist that urge! Natural-looking tans are built more slowly. For an even, sun-kissed look, dilute your tanner with some moisturizer or serum. This results in a smoother application as well as more even blending. You can also select a product designed for more gradual results – like a self-tanning mist, spray, or water.

If you use a thicker product, like a cream, pay special attention to ensure even coverage and proper blending. A beauty blender sponge can help you blend out harsh lines in tricky areas like the jaw and the hairline.

Do you have any tips and tricks for using self-tanner on your face? Share them with us in the comments below!

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