How to Self-Tan Your Face Like a Pro


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Pro Tips

self-tan your face

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

While self-tanning your body may seem like a walk in the park, your face is a whole different story. We all tend to be extra nervous when it comes to our complexion to prevent a Ross Geller-like orange situation. Fear not! We’re here with easy expert tips, courtesy of Alyson Hogg, CEO and founder of VITA LIBERATA to get the perfect faux glow on your face, without streaks, smells or sun damage.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Prep like a pro. Treat your face as you would your body  before a spray tan. Gently exfoliate your face to get rid of any dead skin that may affect the application of the tan. Always apply tanning products on clean, dry skin.

Use your fingers..but rinse immediately! With many facial self tanners, like a serum, cream or lotion, it’s okay to use your hands to apply—just be sure to wash right after to prevent staining, says. If you are using a mousse for body and face, use a tanning mitt to spread properly. And with a powder formula, always use a brush, as you would with any powder makeup. 

RELATED: How to Choose the Right Makeup for Your Skin Tone

Think circles. The best way to apply any formula is in a circular motion to ensure even coverage. For the face, the movements should go all the way up to the hair line, down the neck and décolleté to allow for an even and smooth tan.

Be patient. Just like body tanners, products for the face still need six to eight hours to develop before showering or going to the gym. You can apply morning or night—it’s a personal preference—as long as you allow for the right amount of time before getting wet.

Start small.  If you're nervous about self tanning your face for the first time, you can start with a small amount and build your glow gradually. Let it develop and add a second coat if you are looking for a deeper tan.

Keep your beauty routine, but modify as needed. You can continue with your daily makeup and cleansing routines after the tan has developed. Avoid oil-based products and exfoliators as they can break down the tan a little quicker. 

Make it last. Hydration is key when trying to prolong a tan. Drink lots of water and apply moisturizer daily to prevent fading.

Scroll down to see our top products picks for a glowing complexion.


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Vita Liberata Trystal Pressed Minerals

Vita Liberata Trystal Pressed Minerals

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora


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COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

Photo courtesy of COOLA Suncare

Photo courtesy of COOLA Suncare


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Jergens Natural Glow Face Daily Moisturizer SPF 20

Jergens Natural Glow Face Daily Moisturizer SPF 20

Photo courtesy of Walmart

Photo courtesy of Walmart


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Clarins Golden Glow Booster for Face

Clarins Golden Glow Booster for Face

Photo courtesy of Clarins

Photo courtesy of Clarins


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St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora


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James Read Express Glow Mask Face

James Read Express Glow Mask Face

Photo courtesy of Blue Mercury

Photo courtesy of Blue Mercury


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Tan-Luxe Sleep Oil

Tan-Luxe Sleep Oil

Photo courtesy of Ulta

Photo courtesy of Ulta

$49, ulta.com