In my July 2022 bridal beauty blog, I wrote all about my spray tan, which thankfully did not colour the inside of my wedding dress. Emma's July 2021 post talked about how to bronze your legs for summer (after using your Tria 4X of course). Is it a July theme I wonder? And our May 2022 post talked about our spray tan faves and how to prep your skin for self-tanning. But we have yet to talk about facial tanning. Most people know how to bronze their bodies but may have reservations about using self-tanning products on their face, especially if they have any existing skin concerns like breakouts or patches of dry skin. Here's the complete guide to facial tanning at home and some recommended products.

Why use facial self-tanners

As we all know, excess sun exposure and UV radiation can damage the skin, leading to premature ageing, sunburn, and increased risk of skin cancer. Of course, Tria Beauty UK's Age-Defying Laser as a non-ablative fractional laser that's safe for home use can reverse some of the effects of ageing. Self-tanners offer the sun-kissed glow of tanning without the harmful UV light risks. For safe, subtle facial tanning, here's what you need to know.

How to prep your face

  1. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells using a gentle facial scrub or exfoliating cleanser. You may want to remove dead skin cells for up to one week before facial tanning.
  2. Before you get started, just as when you get your eyebrows tinted or your hair dyed, skincare experts recommend you test a patch of skin, so that the chances of an adverse reaction to the ingredients are limited. If your skin doesn't react within twenty-four hours, it should be safe to use on your face.
  3. Use a product specially formulated for the face. You can get products in the form of creams, lotions, gels, sprays, and serums. Some products provide immediate colour and others have buildable, gradual colour.
  4. Read the specific instructions carefully to ensure proper, streak-free application. If the colour shows up immediately, you may want to wear gloves or use a clean beauty blender/foundation brush and use gentle, circular motions to distribute the product evenly. Remember to take extra care around your eyebrows, hairline, lips, and eyes (some products can be used on your lips and eyes). Achieving an even application is the key to success here – don't be tempted to add additional product to any area just because there's a surplus left on your mitt, or applicator.
  5. Be sure to blend the product into your neck and jawline to achieve a natural-looking result without any harsh lines. This isn't the 2000s where the orange-foundation-line streaked jaw was the look – albeit an unintentional one! For added help, you can use your clean makeup brush or blending sponge for smooth application.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly especially if you didn't use gloves or an applicator. I speak from experience when I tell you that orange fingers won't compliment your freshly manicured nails. 
  7. To maintain your colour, moisturise daily with a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser (like our Age-Defying Serum). Don't over-exfoliate once you've applied a facial tanner as it'll cause it to fade more quickly.
  8. Graduate self-tanners, on the other hand, are serums or moisturisers that contain a self-tanning ingredient that allow you to build up colour over time, which offers a little more control and a more even finish.
  9. Alternatives to self-tanners include a sweep of bronzer and tinted moisturisers.

When using any products on your face, make sure you prioritise skin health and sun protection. It’s also a good idea to check that your facial tanner matches the colour of any product you use on your body.

Recommended facial tanning products

  • Tan Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum (£25.20): hydration, gradual tanning, and anti-ageing in one
  • Tan Luxe The Face Anti-Age Rejuvenating Self-Tan Drops (£28): skin boosting and moisturising, you can use a different number of drops depending on the level of tan you want
  • Awesome Bronze Gradual Self-Tanning Drops (£40): DHA and hyaluronic acid skincare that gives you a just-gone-on-holiday glow
  • Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Face (£23): Designed to be mixed into your moisturiser (not safe to use alone), pop this tanner in your day or night cream and bask in the radiance
  • Bali Body Face Tan Water (£25.95): An easy spray-on product that provides a gradual tan when mixed with your moisturiser or a more instant glow when applied directly to the face.

The takeaways

Our marketing manager, Emma, loves the Tan Luxe super glow product and rarely applies a foundation nowadays. I'm more partial to a dab of bronzer but have used self-tanning products on my face before and love that I can go foundation-free when I have some colour. Let us know on Tria Beauty UK's Facebook or Instagram if you've used a facial tanner before and which is your fave.

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