Good To Glow: How To Fake Tan Your Face In Winter

An instant pick-me-up, sans sun damage.

Is it just us or does 2020 feel like a blur? In March, we were happily cruising along, business as usual, then lockdown happened, we baked a loaf of banana bread, shut our eyes for a few moments and when we opened them again it was July. 


Winter is here and we’re just as shell shocked as you are. 

The onset of the cooler months means our standard Thursday night tan routine is out the window – instead, we’re focusing on fake tanning our face instead. Sure, an all-over faux glow is nice but if we’re spending our days covered head to toe in layers, no one is going to see it anyway. Meaning, those 10 minutes standing in a freezing cold, tanning mitt in hand, could easily be spent rugged up in bed instead. 

Fortunately, fake tanning your face is pretty bloody easy. Here, Natalie Papadopoulos, founder of The Parlour Room in Sydney’s Randwick, explains how. 

Step 1: Skin Prep

 “Preparation is key,” Papadopoulos says. “I would always say to wash your face with a light exfoliation beforehand, just to smooth out the skin and remove any dead skin cells.”

Step 2: Choose Your Formula

“If you’re starting with bare skin and want an instantly darker result, I would suggest using a mousse twice a week.” Think: your standard formula. This option works if you had a professional tan and have noticed your face fading faster than your body. “You’ll find a lot of your usual skincare products will take the tan from your face first because we’re washing and cleansing daily. Our skin cell turnover is also much higher in this area, causing the tan to fade.”

“Whereas if you’re only after a top up, I would recommend either a gradual face moisturiser on alternating days.”

Step 3: Apply

Papadopoulos’ #1 tip for a flawless finish? “A makeup brush is always easiest for application on the face, it gives a much nicer, even finish and allows you to blend and buff out the edges.”


“If you’re blonde, make sure you wear a headband to protect the hairline. I always like to wash my hair the day after to make sure there is no tan residue left.”

Do you tint your brows? Take note of your last appointment and wait 48 hours before applying fake tan. “Sometimes the tan can react with the tint, causing your skin to stain and turning it either an orange or green colour. If you’re desperate, make sure you apply a thick layer of vaseline on the hair to prevent this from happening.”

Face tan has come a long way. There are a myriad of concoctions to choose from, depending on your preferred texture and method of application. 

Glow Drops 

Add a few drops of these glow-inducing drops to your moisturiser day or night. 

GP Loves: Mecca Cosmetica Self Tan Drops ($32 at Mecca), Tan-Luxe The Face ($68 at Adore Beauty) and Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops ($42 at Mecca).


Apply straight to skin and follow with your standard skincare routine. 

GP Loves: Eco Tan Face Tan Water ($34.95 at Eco Tan) and Tan Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum ($70 at ASOS).


Infused with ultra-hydrating ingredients, these products will give your skin a boost of moisture and colour. 

GP Loves: James Read Gradual Tan Sleep Mask ($52 at Mecca) and St Tropez Self Tan Express Sheet Mask ($7 at Chemist Warehouse).

We now have a podcast! Introducing, Gritty Pretty Radio – a new beauty podcast where we chat to some of the industry’s leading beauty entrepreneurs, brand founders and celebrities. Hosted by Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Eleanor Pendleton and Beauty Director, Erin Cook, this platform is your one-stop beauty shop. Click here to listen. 


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