October 17, 2022

How To Fake A Face Tan

These are the faux face-tan formulas that offer the perfect beachside vacation glow.  

There’s just something about having a tan—your skin appears more luminous and somehow your eyes seemingly shine brighter. While, historically, self-tanning is not considered the chicest of beauty categories (conjuring images of streaky, uneven, orange-toned skin), it’s important to note that self-tanners are no longer synonymous with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In fact, customisable and buildable face-tanners are in.

Incorporating hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, alongside plenty of antioxidants, face tanners lend a hint of believable golden sans sun. And yes, we get that self-tanning one’s face can be a little intimidating. Luckily, here at Gritty Pretty we’re all about treating our complexion with care. So, under all the layers of sunscreen, we opt to achieve our undetectable faux glow from these easy-to-use, natural-finish facial tanners with a few handy tips.

Because when it comes to face-tanning, whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer, there’s always plenty to learn…

Slow start

For any beginner, we leave with you a phrase of wisdom: Less is more. Make sure to start out slow. Remember, you can always build depth but it’s very tricky to take away once you’ve gone too far.

“Preparation is key,” says Natalie Papadopoulos, founder of The Parlour Room and SELF. “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.”

Blend out and down

Tanning your whole face means blending down the neck, on the ears and behind them. Using a dense buffing brush to diffuse these areas makes for a natural finish that seamlessly blends into the decolletage and the perimeter of the face.

Papadopoulos’s number one 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.”

Places to avoid

“If you’re blonde, make sure you wear a headband to protect the hairline,” recommends Papadopoulos. “I always like to wash my hair the day after to make sure there is no tan residue left.” Akin to your hairline, try and stay clear of the brows. And, if you do need to diffuse any self-tan residue, just run a spoolie through.

Do you tint your brows? Take note of your last appointment and wait at least 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.

Our Favourite Face Tans…

Tan Luxe The Face Anti-Age Rejuvenating Self-Tan Drops

Tan Luxe’s The Face Anti-Age Self Tan Drops offer a cocktail of skin boosting and hydrating properties that improve the appearance of fine lines and skin texture. Available in two shades, the formulation includes raspberry seed oil, vitamin E and aloe vera which leave your complexion looking youthful and luminous. The brand is also Hailey Bieber approved. Need we say more?

SHOP NOW: Tan Luxe The Face Anti-Age Rejuvenating Self-Tan Drops, $68 from Sephora


Tanologist Self Tan Drops

Lightweight, clear and customisable, the Tanologist’s Self Tan Drops will build up your tan without clogging pores or triggering breakouts. And who doesn’t want a vacation glow with less stress? The non-comedogenic formula uses a trio of pink grapefruit, goji berry and juniper to brighten. Combined with a low pH the ‘tanner’ scent is almost non-existent.

SHOP NOW: Tanologist Face & Body Drops, $13.79 from Priceline



Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist

If you’re after effortlessly easy and convenient, the Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist might be for you. A simple spitz of this ultra-fine water over a bare face is all you need, et voila! The Mineral rich formula develops in less than three hours and can be applied up to three times in one week. 

SHOP NOW: Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist, $32.95 from Nourished Life



L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops

We can’t go past a TikTok approved self-tanner! L’Oréal’s Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops deliver a streak-free, long-lasting tan that doesn’t have a discernible scent (it’s fragrance free). Simply mix it into your skincare regimen and smooth it out and you’ll find yourself skirt-season-ready in no time.

SHOP NOW: L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self Tan Drops For Face, $21.50 from Amazon

St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

St Tropez’s Water Face Mist is a weightless, tropically scented and colourless mist that leaves you with an even toned, natural-looking hue. Contrary to what one might think, the formula doesn’t leave the face feeling overly wet as the mist is super fine. Add in glycerin and hyaluronic acid for some seriously deep hydration and you have an easy-to-use, mess-free tanner that can be applied every day.

SHOP NOW: St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist, $20.99 from Chemist Warehouse



Face Tan

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops

The Isle of Paradise drops will always remain an OG! And it’s simply because they live up to the hype. Packed with coconut oil, avocado oil and chia seeds, the formula soothes and nourishes the skin as it bronzes. Made for face and body you can opt between light, medium or dark while customising the depth. It’s also hypoallergenic and ideal for sensitive skin.

SHOP NOW: Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops, $43 from MECCA

Orro Amalfi Glow Drops

An ‘Italian getaway in a bottle’—say no more. The Orro & Co Amalfi glow drops mimic a sun-kissed glow that easily fits into your regular skincare routine. Utilising antioxidants such as jojoba, vitamins E and vitamin C this formula leaves the skin feeling plump and aids in evening out pigment.

SHOP NOW: Orro Amalfi Glow Drops, $45 from Orro & Co

Bali Body Face Tan Serum

Bali Body has long been a cult-favourite since it first found its way onto our IG feeds. And for good reason—they just get us. Their new kid on the block is no exception to this. An easy-to-use skincare hybrid, The Face Tan Serum is a gradual tanner containing a trio of luminosity-giving and hydration-boosting ingredients (including hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and jojoba oil). Opt to use it as a serum after you’ve cleansed or you can mix it into your moisturiser for a more subtle faux sunkissed glow.

SHOP NOW: Bali Body Face Tan Serum, $29.95 from Bali Body


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