Want a gorgeously glowing face, but too nervous to apply fake tan in case you end up muddy, patchy, or Oompa Loompa orange? We get it, babe. Self-tanning your face can be daunting – but if you choose the right product and follow our tried-and-tested steps, it really can be goof-proof.
To help you achieve a natural, sun-kissed, just-back-from-Bali glow, we’ve created this essential glow-to guide. Here’s how to self-tan your face the right way – without sacrificing hydration, your pillowcase, or your pride. Read on!
1. Start with good quality tanning drops
Your tan is only as good as the product you use, so start with the best when bronzing your face. While there are a bunch of different facial tanning products and formulas, tanning drops are our pick as they’re totally foolproof. Super-hydrating and user-friendly, they’re also ideal as they put YOU in control of how dark you want to go.
Look for tan drops that are alcohol-free (read: non-drying), packed with hydrators, and powered by a natural source of tanning active, DHA – like our Sunny Honey Bronzing Face Drops! Made to mix into your moisturiser, our tanning drops are bursting with clean, cruelty-free botanical goodness and 100% natural DHA. In medium and dark shades for a custom glow, they’re made with 5 types of hydrating, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, smoothing, firming coconut water, radiance-boosting dragonfruit, and free-radical-fighting fig.
In other words? They deliver a gorgeous tan, while showing your complexion some serious TLC.
2. Get your prep on
Just like your bod, your face needs to be prepped before fake tanning. Self-tanner loves to cling to dry spots, so make sure you exfoliate to ensure an even application and prevent patchy results. Around 24 hours before your glow-up, slough away those dead skin cells with a gentle facial scrub or chemical exfoliant (like AHA wipes or a serum).
When you’re ready to tan, cleanse your face thoroughly and remove your makeup. A double cleanse might be necessary here. Tanning drops love a smooth, dry canvas, so make sure yours is free of product residue as oils interfere with DHA development.
3. Apply self-tanner to your face
Now for the fun bit – getting busy with your tanning drops! Start by squeezing your regular amount of moisturiser into your palm. Add some tanning drops (if using Sunny Honey, pressing gently on the bottom of the tube will release drops) and mix well.
While you could go gung-ho with 5 or more drops straight away, we recommend starting with 1-3 drops and applying daily until you achieve the ideal depth of colour for your skin tone.
Once the drops have disappeared into your moisturiser, apply your cream to the face and neck. Rub in the product and blend at your hairline for a natural look. Super blonde? Steer clear of your brows or try adding a little petroleum jelly or moisturiser as a barrier.
Wash your hands thoroughly and avoid applying makeup or other products to your skin for 8 hours if possible. This is important because, while you’ll see your glow start to appear in 2 hours, it takes around 8-12 hours for your tan to fully develop.
Our tip? Apply tanning drops at night, so they can work their magic uninterrupted as you sleep. Just remember they’re not transfer-proof, though, so you’ll want to swap your favourite silk pillowcase out for something less precious.
4. Top up as needed for a custom glow
The best thing about face tanning drops is that they allow you to create a totally custom-fit, buildable glow. They’re the ideal way to give your complexion a little (or big) boost and can be used daily until you achieve the level of bronze that’s right FOR YOU*.
They’re also great for ensuring your body and face colour match. Thanks to regular washing and skincare ingredients like retinol and hydroxy acids, fake tan on our faces naturally fades faster than on our bodies. Adding a few tanning drops to your face moisturiser each evening will make sure your face isn’t ghostly while you’re still rocking a bronzed bod.
5. Commit to some simple aftercare
All tans need aftercare, and a faux facial glow is no different. To keep your skin looking dewy and radiant – and to prevent uneven fading – hydration is key. It’s therefore essential you moisturise once or twice daily.
Remember also that a faux-glow offers ZERO UV protection. This means a broad-spectrum high-SPF sunscreen is a non-negotiable. Apply yours after moisturising each morning and don’t forget to apply as needed throughout the day.
To ensure a natural, even fade, stick with your regular skincare and exfoliation routine. And if it takes your colour down a shade or two? Simply add a few tan drops to your night cream and you’ll be glowing again by morning.
*Note: our tan drops come in two shades. The Medium drops are ideal for lighter skin tones wanting a subtle, golden glow. Our Dark drops, on the other hand, work best for medium to dark skins seeking a back-from-a-beach-holiday kinda bronze.
Need more tips for self-tanning your face? Our Bronzing Face Drop guide is packed with all the info you could need!
Written By: Pip Jarvis
Edited by: Vidhya