Should I Put Tanning Lotion On My Face? Why?

Should I put tanning lotion on my face? How can I self tan my face? Get all your queries answered in this article here.

Self tanning is a popular method to get a sun-kissed glow. You can do it by yourself with the right tanning lotion and procedure.

One question that people ask when familiarizing themselves with tanning lotion options and self-tanning steps is “Should I put tanning lotion on my face?” If you are asking yourself this right now, you are in the right place.

We will give you the answer in this article. Read on!

Before and after putting on facial tanning lotion
Before and after putting on facial tanning lotion

Should I Put Tanning Lotion On My Face?

Yes, you should.

If you are getting a fake tan, then you should certainly put tanning lotion on your face as well. It will look unnatural if your entire body is tanned but not your face.

However, you should keep in mind that not all self-tanners are designed for the face. You need to get a tanning lotion specially made for the face.

Get the summer look with a facial fake tan
Get the summer look with a facial fake tan

Why Should I Not Use Body Tanning Lotion For My Face?

Facial skin is more sensitive

Usually, your facial skin is more sensitive than the skin on other areas of your body. This is because the skin on your face is thinner and does not have an added epidermis layer like other body parts, such as the hands and soles of the feet.

Instead, its top layer is the stratum corneum, which is a lot more delicate than the rest of the skin on your body. As such, a body tanning lotion may be too harsh for your facial skin. It may more likely lead to inflammation, irritation, clogged pores, and breakouts.

You must get a tanning lotion made specifically for the face. They consist of ingredients that are different from body self-tanners to ensure your pores are clear and you will not encounter negative skin reactions.

Typically, facial tanning lotion is more hydrating and non-comedogenic.

Facial skin has a higher pH level

The pH level of facial skin is higher than body skin, and self-tanner makers take this into account. Those that are for the face are formulated lighter.

So, if you use a body tanning lotion for the body on both your face and body, the results will be darker on your face.

How to Self Tan Your Face?

You can attain a head-to-toe glow by yourself in the comforts of your own home. Here is how you do it:

Step 1: Choose a quality self tanner for your face

This is the first and arguably, most important step. You need to decide on a self tanner for your face. It should be compatible with your skin type and offer the desired depth of tan.

Find the right self tanner based on your skin type

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you will need a tanning lotion that is lightweight and does not include pore-clogging ingredients. You should also avoid oil-based formulas.

It is best if you can get products that are non-comedogenic and contain natural soothers, like aloe vera and vitamin E. We recommend spray tans and self-tan mousses as they are able to provide lighter consistencies.

Note: You should apply moisturizer after tanning around your elbows and knees if your skin is oily.

If you have normal to dry skin, your tanning lotion should include hydrating ingredients. It is not a bad idea to try water-based formulas like gels or serums. Also, keep an eye out for self tanners with hyaluronic acid; it is particularly good for soothing and hydrating.

If you have sensitive skin, you should pick tanners rich in skin-enriching ingredients like coconut water and argan oil.

Find the right self tanner based on your skin’s base color

In this part, you need to consider your skin’s base color.

If you have pale or pink-based skin, you should select a green-based tanning lotion so it can counteract the redness.

If you have an olive skin tone, a red-based or violet-based formula would be ideal. These would also work for fair skin, but fading is more likely to happen quickly.

Caramel-based tanning lotions are suitable for all types of skin base colors, from light to dark.

Similarly, you can use dark-ash formulas for light, medium, and dark skin bases.

Find the right self tanner based on your desired depth of tan

There are different levels of tans that you can choose from — light, medium, and dark. It depends on what you want the final results to be.

The only tip we can give in this regard is that if you have fair (light or pale) skin and are a first-time tanner, you may want to go with a gradual tanner first to get a natural-looking tan.

We also recommend not going so dark because the results can appear unnatural. Rather, you should go up to 2 to 3 shades darker than your normal skin tone.

Note: A gradual tanning lotion does not tan the skin instantly, but builds it up over time.

Step 2: Prepare your skin

Before you tan your face, you need to prepare your facial skin. You should:

  • Cleanse your skin with an oil-free facial cleanser: Make sure you reach the area around the nose and cheeks. All makeup, dirt, and impurities should be removed.
  • Exfoliate your skin with a gentle, oil-free face scrub one day prior: The rough and dry patches should be sloughed snd smoothed away. Like the cleansing step, you must pay attention to the area around your nose and cheeks.

These two steps are extremely important because if there are impurities left on the skin then the tanning results will be patchy and uneven.

It is essential that you use oil-free products (cleanser and scrub) because oil can prevent your tanner from working and being absorbed properly to deliver results.

  • Let your face dry completely.
  • Do an ice facial to close your pores and tighten the skin. This way, you can create a smoother surface for the tan application. Simply fill a bowl with ice and add water so the ice cubes submerge, then scoop the water and splash it onto your face for 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can use a washcloth or roller for the application.
  • Moisturize your skin with an oil-free moisturizer. Be sure to not forget your skin on the chin, around the nose, behind the ears, and on the back of the neck.
  • Apply moisturizer onto your brows. This prevents your brows from being tanned along with your facial skin.
Prepare your skin before you apply tanning lotion for the best results 
Prepare your skin before you apply tanning lotion for the best results

Step 3: Apply your self tanner

Mist tanning solution

If you are using a mist tanning solution, start by giving the bottle a couple of shakes and spritz it several times at a distance of about four inches from the face while moving the bottle clockwise around your face. The coverage has to be even.

Make sure you get your ears and do not stop at the hairline. Usually, you can expect results in 4 to 8 hours.

Gel or serum tanning solution

If you are using a gel or serum solution, dispense the tanner into your hands. Then, put it on and over your face, neck, and decolletage.

Do not forget the ears and do not leave a thick line framing your face! Make sure you smooth it out evenly. To finish, wash your hands and wait for 4 to 8 hours.

Cream tanning solution

If you are using a cream solution, pick some of it up with your fingers. Next, slather an even layer across the face, reaching the ears and not leaving a gap at the hairline.

Gradual tanning solution

If you are using a gradual tanning solution, dispense it into your hands and apply it like it is a moisturizer. Smooth it out across the face, neck, and decolletage with upward and circular motions every evening.

Do not forget your ears and do not stop at the hairline! They are too rather common giveaways.

Pigmented tanning solution

Do the same if you are using a pigmented self-tanner, but also consider this added step: contouring. With a makeup brush or just your fingers, add extra color on areas that you normally would for contouring. such as across the cheekbones, under the jawlines, and on the brow bones’ arches.

Tip: The best time to apply your tanner is in the evening, as it can develop overnight. It is a good idea to do it in a well-lit area and apply the tanner on the areas of the skin that the sun hits naturally before blending it out with your fingers.

Step 4: Set The Tan in Place

Before going to bed, apply a layer of translucent power on top of the tanner. In this way, you can avoid smudging the tanner while you sleep.

It is also a good idea to sleep on a black blanket, bedding, or towel so you will not leave stains on your sheets.

Note: There are special blankets, beddings, and towels sold in the mark for self-tanning.

Step 5: Repeat

Self-tan usually lasts from 7 to 10 days. After that, if you feel like you (and your skin) are ready, repeat the process for a new tan.


Now that you have finished reading this article, you no longer need to ponder, “Should I put tanning lotion on my face?” Hopefully, this has been helpful. Feel free to bookmark it for future reference. And if you think this can benefit a friend, share it with them!


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