Skip to Content

How to Self Tan Your Face Perfectly: Flawless Glow in 10 Easy Steps (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

how to self tan your face perfectly62% of women use self-tanner to boost their confidence. Therefore, knowing how to self-tan your face will help you achieve a faultless, sun-kissed glow without the damage of UV radiation.

Learn in 10 easy steps how to choose the product right for you, prepare your skin, apply with ease, and maintain your tan.

Whether you’re just starting or want to perfect your technique, this guide will help you bring control over your look and grant you the freedom of a sun-kissed glow year-round.

Key Takeaways

  • Prep like a pro: Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize your face before tanning. It’s like laying the perfect foundation for a masterpiece – you wouldn’t build a sandcastle on rocky ground, would you?
  • Choose your weapon wisely: Pick a self-tanner that suits your skin type and tone. It’s not one-size-fits-all, folks – what works for your bestie might turn you into a walking carrot!
  • Apply with finesse: Use gentle circular motions and don’t forget those tricky spots like hairline and ears. Think of it as painting the Sistine Chapel of your face – attention to detail is key!
  • Maintain that glow: Keep your tan looking fresh with regular touch-ups and daily moisturizing. It’s like watering a plant – neglect it, and your sun-kissed look might wither away faster than you can say "beach, please!

How to Self Tan Your Face Perfectly?

To self tan your face perfectly, start by choosing the right product for your skin type and desired shade. Prep your skin by cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing.

Apply the self-tanner using gentle, circular motions, covering all areas evenly. Don’t forget your hairline, ears, and neck! For a natural look, use a lighter hand on areas that wouldn’t naturally tan as much. Blend well, especially around the jawline and hairline.

Consider contouring with a darker shade to enhance your features. Remember, less is more – you can always add more later.

Avoid common mistakes like over-applying or forgetting to wash your hands. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a flawless, sun-kissed glow.

Understanding Self-Tanning for the Face

Understanding Self-Tanning for the Face
Facials in self-tanning aren’t some slapdash action where you apply any product and hope for good. It’s an art that requires an understanding of your skin type and the science behind that glow.

In contrast to body self-tanners, facial products have been uniquely designed to work with the particular chemistry of your skin. Most include DHA, an active ingredient that reacts with your skin cells to produce that sun-kissed look.

Be aware, though—it’s different skin for different people. Perfecting self-tanning routines and being savvy about ingredients will unlock the secret of getting that flawless, natural-looking tan: enhancing your features and boosting your confidence.

Choosing the Right Self-Tanner

Choosing the Right Self-Tanner
You’re going to need to choose the right self-tanner for your face, pick out a shade, and settle on a formulation type that best suits you.

Skin Type Considerations

Now that you know the basics of facial self-tanning, it’s time to talk skin type.

Breakout-prone? Avoid oil-based products and, instead, use noncomedogenic facial self-tanners.

Dry skin? Self-tanners with hydrating formulas are for you.

And if your skin is sensitive, it’s best to opt for gentle, fragrance-free options.

Let’s not forget that the proper skincare routine also has much to do with obtaining this perfect, natural glow.

Shade Selection

When selecting your facial self-tanner shade, consider your skin’s undertones. Compare options and match them to your natural color for a personalized glow.

Analyze your complexion carefully – you don’t want to end up looking like an orange!

For a subtle fake tan, go one shade darker than your skin. Remember, it’s easier to build up color gradually than to tone it down.

Formulation Types

Once you’ve chosen your shade, it’s time to pick the right formulation. Facial tanners come in various types, each suited for different skin needs. As a tanning ambassador, I recommend considering your skin’s unique requirements.

Here are the main formulation types:

  • Mousses: Lightweight and fast-absorbing
  • Drops: Customizable and easy to mix
  • Creams: Hydrating for dry skin
  • Mists: Quick and convenient application
  • Gels: Noncomedogenic for acne-prone skin

Prepping Your Face for Self-Tanning

Prepping Your Face for Self-Tanning
But cleaning your face isn’t the only thing one needs to do right before applying self-tanner; you need to prepare your facial skin as well properly. Cleanse your face well, scrub off dead skin gently, and use some light, oil-free moisturizer to set up the perfect canvas for your self-tanner application.


Now that you have chosen your self-tanner, it’s time to prepare your face. Start by cleansing well so that the application is perfect. Take off all facial makeup and use oil-free products, which might interfere with the tanner. Here is a nutshell sample of how to do it:

Step Action Tip
1 Remove makeup Using micellar water
2 Cleanse Select a mild, pH balanced cleanser
3 Rinse Use tepid water to prevent irritating skin


Next would be exfoliation. This crucial step removes dead skin cells so that the application can be even.

Use a light scrub or chemical exfoliant 2-3 times a week. If you have sensitive skin, then milder ingredients like lactic acid can be used.

Exfoliation helps you achieve a smoother texture and absorb the products more effectively. However, don’t over-exfoliate since this will result in skin irritation, which further affects the duration of your tan.


Exfoliate, then moisturize your face. Reach for oil-free moisturizers that won’t interfere with the absorption of the self-tanner.

Pay attention to areas that are usually dry, like your cheeks and forehead, but don’t over-moisturize. This has prepared your facial features so the application will be even.

Pro tip: Dust a translucent powder all over your skin to prevent smudging while you sleep.

Your skincare routine is ready for some tanning magic!

Applying Self-Tanner to Your Face

Applying Self-Tanner to Your Face
To apply self-tanner to your face perfectly, you’ll need to master the right techniques, cover all areas evenly, and blend seamlessly. Focus on using gentle, circular motions to distribute the product, paying extra attention to often-missed spots like the hairline, ears, and neck for a natural-looking glow.

Application Techniques

Now that your face is prepped, it’s time to apply your self-tanner.

For a flawless finish, use gentle, circular motions with a tanning mitt or clean hands.

If you’re using DIY ingredients or have sensitive skin, patch test first.

Professional application techniques include using a makeup brush for precision.

Coverage Areas

Be sure to hit all the spots on your face when applying self-tanner for an ultra-natural look. Here are some easily missed areas:

  1. Under your eyebrows
  2. Behind the ears
  3. Along your hairline

Be more careful in pimple-prone areas; use non-comedogenic facial tanners. Avoid oil-based moisturizers since they can affect the absorption process. Contour to even out your complexion for any pigmentation-related issues.

Blending Tips

Once you’ve covered key areas, it’s time to perfect your glow. Use brush techniques for a flawless finish, focusing on circular motions. Layering tips: start light and build gradually for a natural color. Blend outwards, paying extra attention to hairline and jawline. Remember, less is more. Take your time, and you’ll achieve that enviable, sun-kissed look you’re after.

Contouring With Self-Tanner

Contouring With Self-Tanner
You can take your facial self-tanning to the next level by contouring with a darker shade. Apply the darker self-tanner to areas you want to enhance, like cheekbones and jawline, to create depth and dimension for a sculpted look.

Enhancing Facial Features

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to take your facial self-tanning to the next level. Enhance your features by strategically applying tanning products to accentuate your bone structure. Focus on areas that naturally catch the light, like your cheekbones and brow arches.

Consider your skin tone and undertones when selecting products. For a sun-kissed look, apply a slightly darker shade along your jawline and temples.

Don’t forget sun protection during the day to maintain your glow and protect your skin health.

Creating Dimension

Now that you’ve enhanced your features, let’s create dimension. Contouring with self-tanner isn’t just for makeup pros; it’s your secret weapon for a sculpted look.

Use a darker shade or layer your regular product for depth. Apply to areas where shadows naturally fall: under cheekbones, along jawline, and temples.

Blend well with a tanning mitt or brush to avoid harsh lines. Remember, a little goes a long way – you’re aiming for subtle definition, not a drastic change.

This technique can last longer than makeup, giving you that chiseled look for days.

Avoiding Common Self-Tanning Mistakes

Avoiding Common Self-Tanning Mistakes

  • Skipping facial preparation
  • Rushing the application process
  • Neglecting often-missed areas
  • Overdoing it with product
  • Touching your face too soon

Maintaining Your Facial Self-Tan

Maintaining Your Facial Self-Tan
To keep your facial self-tan looking fresh, you’ll need to focus on longevity tips and touch-up techniques. Moisturize daily to extend your tan’s life, and use a gradual tanner every few days to maintain an even, natural-looking glow.

Longevity Tips

Want your facial self-tan to last longer? Incorporate these tips into your skincare regimen:

Tip Benefit
Moisturize daily Prevents flaking
Avoid harsh cleansers Preserves tan
Use gradual tanners Maintains glow

Don’t let your sunless tanning efforts go to waste! By tweaking your skincare routine, you’ll keep that sun-kissed look for days. Remember, your face sheds cells faster than your body, so a little extra TLC goes a long way. Think of it as pampering with a purpose – you’re not just caring for your skin, you’re preserving your glow!

Touch-Up Techniques

To maintain your sun-kissed glow, master these touch-up techniques for your facial self-tan:

• Set up a touch-up schedule according to how fast your skin fades.

  • Blend using blending tools like makeup sponges for flawless applications.
  • Consider your skin sensitivity when choosing touch-up products
  • Opt for gradual tanners or tanning drops for subtle maintenance
  • Add some touch-ups to your aftercare routine

Keep that tan fresh by reapplying a little self-tanner every few days. Mix with your moisturizer to create an even more subtle effect. Touching up the face, less is more. Exfoliate gently if there’s a bit of patchiness, then reapply as you usually would for an even and natural-looking tan.

Removing Self-Tanner From Your Face

Removing Self-Tanner From Your Face
When it’s time to bid farewell to your facial tan, you’ll want to know the tricks for removing stubborn stains.

Start by exfoliating gently with a scrub or mitt to slough off tanned skin cells. For neutralizing orange tones, try using a lemon juice and baking soda paste.

Prevent over-tanning by removing color gradually with oil-based products. If you’re addressing skin irritation, opt for soothing aloe vera gel.

When choosing the right products, look for specialized self-tanner removers that won’t strip your skin.

Natural Alternatives for Facial Tanning

Natural Alternatives for Facial Tanning
While self-tanners are effective, you might want to explore natural alternatives for facial tanning. These options can give you a sun-kissed glow without chemicals. Here are some popular choices:

  • Coconut oil: Apply a thin layer for a subtle sheen
  • Carrot juice: Drink or apply topically for a natural glow
  • Black tea: Use as a facial mist for a light tan

These natural methods offer a gentler approach to sunless tanning. They’re perfect if you’re looking to avoid synthetic ingredients or want to switch up your routine. Remember, results may vary, and it’s all about finding what works best for your skin.

Safety Precautions and Skin Health

Safety Precautions and Skin Health
While natural alternatives are gentle, it’s essential to take care of your skin while self-tanning. Remember that extra tender loving care is needed on the face.

Always patch-test all new products to make sure that there isn’t going to be an irritation or allergic response to some ingredient. Be aware of skin sensitivity; in already existing conditions, be more cautious.

Never overdo it—excessive self-tanning will ultimately result in skin damage. Be attuned to your skin, and stop use if any irritation or other side effects occur.

With these precautions, you’ll be able to glow with a sun-kissed shade of radiance while keeping your skin healthy in the long run. Stay radiant, stay safe!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you get the perfect fake tan on your face?

Start with clean, exfoliated skin. Apply a facial self-tanner evenly using a mitt or brush. Blend carefully around hairline and eyebrows. Don’t forget ears and neck. Moisturize daily and reapply tanner as needed for a flawless, sun-kissed glow.

How do you tan your face effectively?

Cleanse and exfoliate your face thoroughly. Apply a facial self-tanner evenly using circular motions. Don’t forget your hairline and ears. Blend well and let it develop. Moisturize daily to maintain your glow and avoid streaks.

What can I use to self tan my face?

You can use facial self-tanners, tanning drops, or diluted body tanners. Choose products with noncomedogenic ingredients for acne-prone skin. Apply with a mitt or brush, blending well into hairline and jawline. Don’t forget ears and under eyebrows.

Do you moisturize before self-tanning face?

Did you know 73% of self-tanners recommend moisturizing first? You’ll want to apply a light, oil-free moisturizer to dry areas before self-tanning your face. It’ll help the tanner absorb evenly and prevent patchy results.

How to tan your face naturally?

To tan your face naturally, spend time outdoors during safe sun hours. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin while gradually building color. Eat foods rich in beta-carotene, like carrots and sweet potatoes, to enhance your natural glow.

How does coconut milk help remove tan?

While it’s not a miracle solution, coconut milk can help remove tan. Its natural enzymes gently exfoliate, while vitamins C and E brighten skin. Apply it directly, leave for 20 minutes, then rinse. You’ll notice gradual improvement with regular use.

How do I choose the right self tan for my skin tone?

Choose a self-tanner that matches your skin’s undertone. Test shades on your jawline, wait for them to develop, and pick the most natural-looking one. Consider facial-specific formulas for lighter coverage and skincare benefits.

How do you get a self tan?

You’re pale as snow, but tanned and glowing’s the goal. Start by exfoliating, then apply self-tanner evenly with a mitt. Blend well, focusing on your face, neck, and hands. Don’t forget to moisturize daily for a lasting, natural-looking tan.

Can I use self-tanner if I have rosacea?

You can use self-tanner with rosacea, but choose a gentle, fragrance-free formula. Patch test first and apply sparingly. Opt for gradual tanners to minimize irritation. If you experience flare-ups, consult your dermatologist for personalized advice.

How do I self-tan around facial piercings?

Tanning with facial piercings is about as much fun as walking through a minefield. Take out the jewelry, clean it strictly, and then go carefully with a cotton swab to the tanner. Let it dry before inserting the jewelry. Try to avoid touching your face directly to prevent irritation and discoloration.

Will self-tanner affect my facial hair growth?

Self-tanner won’t affect your facial hair growth. It only colors the skin’s surface, not the hair follicles. You’ll still need to shave or groom as usual. Just be careful to blend the tanner around your beard area.

Can I apply self-tanner over permanent makeup?

You can apply self-tanner over permanent makeup, but be cautious. It might alter the color slightly or create uneven results. To be safe, avoid direct application on tattooed areas and blend carefully around them for a natural look.

Does facial self-tanner interfere with skincare actives?

Facial self-tanners can interact with skincare actives. You’ll want to apply your tanner after serums but before moisturizer. It’s best to use your actives at night and self-tanner in the morning to avoid potential conflicts.


Although it may sound complicated, self-tanning of the face is something you can master over time. So, follow these ten steps with attention, and you’ll learn how to perfectly self-tan your face for that flawless, sun-kissed look.

Master these techniques, and you’ll be on your way to customizing your tans, highlighting those best features, and looking perfect all year.

Embrace the confidence that comes with having a sun-kissed look—safely and efficiently.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.