How To Apply Self-Tanner To Your Face

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Ready to rock that glow you got from using a self-tanner? But what about your face?

Most self-tanners on the market are designed for the body. You might ask “Can you put self-tanner on your face?” It’s gonna look weird if you’ve got a gorgeous tan on your body, but a pale face!

Many companies make self-tanners specifically for the face. These are a much better choice than using a standard tanner, as they are designed to work with the skin on the face.

And if your favorite fake tanner doesn’t have a face option, you can blend it with moisturizer to get a more balanced look.

In this article, we’ll discuss why a facial self-tanner may be a good choice for you, and how to apply self-tanner to your face. But first, we’ll tell you why you should think twice about just using your standard self-tanner on your face.


Can You Put Self-Tanner On Your Face? Yes, But…

Beauty By Earth Face and Body Tanner Set

Self-tanner comes in many forms, including lotions, creams, foams, sprays, mists, towelettes, tanning water, tanning drops, etc.

You get the point.

The common ingredient among all of them is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). This is the self-tanning and spray tanning chemical.

DHA reacts with the outermost layer of the skin and produces a tan.

This active ingredient reacts with the skin on your body, and of course, will also react with the skin on your face.

Can You Use Body Self-Tanner On Your Face?

You can definitely get a tan if you cover your face with a self-tanner. It will work.

However, if you’d really like to tan your face, it is best to use a self-tanner specifically formulated for the face. That’s because the skin on the face can be much more sensitive than the skin on your body.

No one is stopping you from using that self-tanner you just used for your body because there are some that can be used for both the face and body.

And some are specifically designed for both! 

Beauty By Earth Face Tanner

This Beauty By Earth Set  is an ideal choice for many. As we mentioned in our review, BBE’s self-tanner is one of the most natural-looking sunless tans on the market, and it looks great.

The set provides both a face tanner and a body tanner.

You’re covered!

Tanning Lotion Self Tanner Kit - USA Made with Organic & Natural Ingredients, Self Tanning Lotion Face Tanner & Application Kit, Non Toxic Gradual Tan Lotion, Sunless Tanning Lotion for Women & Men
  • FLAWLESS, NATURAL TAN: Our self tanner...
  • ALL-IN-ONE KIT: Our kit includes...
  • HYDRATING, CLEAN FORMULA: Our non toxic...

However, most companies don’t provide these face tanner options. Many just encourage you to use the regular self-tanner on your face. 

But there are a couple of reasons you may want to use a different tanner on your face.

Apart from being more sensitive, the pH of the face is mostly higher than the body. That could mean that the tan it could develop may be darker than the rest of the body — even if you apply the self-tanner just as you would in your body!

There are self-tanners that are formulated for use for the body alone. Then there are ones like the BBE face tanner above, that are specifically formulated for the face.

These face tanners  usually contain a lesser proportion of active ingredients to prevent your face from being too dark or orange. 

How To Apply Self Tanner To Your Face

Perfect tan for your body but an orange face? That could be the result of using the same self-tanner on your body and face without properly knowing how to. 

Let’s avoid being an Oompa Loompa, shall we? Here’s the proper way to apply self-tanner on your face.

Step 1: Choose The Right Self Tanner For Your Face

As we’ve mentioned, there are self tanners specifically formulated for the face. However, you should still try to to select the right face self tanner for your skin type.

Is your skin dry, oily and acne-prone, normal, sensitive or a combination of them all?

Carefully select the right self tanner for your skin type so you don’t end up having a tan but more skin issues. Aim for one that will blend seamlessly with the tan you develop on your body. 

If you are considering using the same self tanner you used on your body for your face, then it is best to dilute it with a moisturizer.

That will help prevent you from having a face that’s too dark or orange

When diluting your self tanner, you can us a non-oil based moisturizer.

If you are using tanning drops , you should apply less product than what you would use for your body.

You could also apply some moisturizer on your face first before using your self tanner. 

Step 2: Prep The Skin

Like tanning the body, you should also prep your face for tanning. This is a very important step and will affect the results.  

To prep your face, you should make sure it is completely oil free. Cleanse your face with an oil-free cleanser to make sure it tans evenly. 

You should also exfoliate your face. But do it gently, and make sure not to do it right before using your self tanner.

Exfoliate at least a day before using the self tanner.

Make sure you wash your face with cold or room temperature water. If you use hot or warm water, your pores could dilate and make the tan look spotty. 

Apply some moisturizer on your eyebrows too. That will help prevent the tanning solution from being concentrated on those areas. 

Step 3: Apply The Self Tanner

Apply your self tanner as per instructions. Depending on the self tanner you purchase, the application can vary. Make sure to follow instructions. Different formulas have different instructions, duration times, etc. 

Make sure that the self tanner is completely dry. To help it further set and avoid smudging, you can apply some transluscent powder  on your face before you go to sleep.

Step 4: Proper Post-Tan Care

Like your body, the things you do to your face can also affect your tan. It is best to avoid exfoliating the face so that the tan doesn’t immediately fade.

That would also include chemical exfoliants and retinoids.

And remember, sunless-tans are not base tans. You will have no protection from the sun, and should use sunscreen when out in the sun!

Final Thoughts

You can use a self-tanner for your face. However, you have to carefully select the self tanner to use because not all self tanners designed for the body are suitable for the face. 

Select a self tanner specifically formulated for the face to make sure your face doesn’t get irritated or overly tanned. 

If your tanning product of choice doesn’t have a face tanner, you may want to blend some moisturizer into your tanner to make it less concentrated on your face.

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).