A TED Talk on face fake tan: What to use, how to do it and the 13 best products.


Hello and welcome to my TED Talk on face fake tan.

Today, I’ll be answering all your questions about fake tanning your face. And there are many questions.

They include, but aren’t limited to: Can I use my body fake tan on my face or will it make me break out? Should I use fake tanning drops, or a mist, or a water? How do I fake tan my face and not look… orange?

Side note – there’s no such thing as a safe sun tan. Here’s how to keep your skin safe out in the sun this summer. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

Honestly, it’s OK to think putting fake tan on your face is scary because, it is. It’s a high-risk operation on highly-visible real estate and, unlike crusty knees or a patchy elbow, you can’t cover up a bad face fake tan with clothes.

But don’t worry, because these face fake tanning tips and 13 excellent product recommendations are fool-proof.

Body fake tan on face – good or bad?

Short answer: neither! You can definitely use your body fake tanning product on your face, but really, it comes down to personal preference and your skin type.

If you’ve got ‘robust’ or normal skin – as in, it never goes red or throws a tantrum when you put products on it – there’s a good chance your skin could tolerate a few swipes of your body fake tan. Sensitive or dry skin types may find body fake tanning products, especially foams, stripping or irritating on the face, which is where face-specific tanning products come in.


Over the last decade or so, fake tanning formulas have come a long way. Now, fake tans for your face either feel and act more like skincare, are gentler on the skin, or are easier to use for a better result. Or, all of the above.

For more info on whether you can use body fake tan on your face, listen to beauty expert Leigh Campbell’s advice on the episode of the You Beauty podcast below. Post continues after audio.

Types of fake tan for face.

1. Fake tan drops.

Fake tanning drops are one of the simplest ways to fake tan your face to match your body tan for an occasion, or maintain an everyday, natural-looking glow.

These drops can be used on your face and body, but they’re especially handy for tanning your face because you can add them into your night time skincare routine. To apply, mix the drops into your usual amount of evening serum or moisturiser in the palms of your hands and rub in as normal. The more drops you add, the darker the tan you’ll get. Tan drops also come in different strengths (light, medium and dark).

Be warned – tanning drops can go wrong pretty quickly. Start with less drops than you reckon you’ll need, a rough guide is one to four drops for a light tan. If you’re fair or don’t tan often, stick to light tanning drops to avoid getting a fright when you look in the mirror the next morning.


Has happened, true story.


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2. Fake tan mists and fake tan waters.

Fake tan mists and waters are essentially the same thing – a light, clear fake tanning liquid. The difference is in the packaging.

Fake tan mists look and feel like a skincare face mist and are quick and easy to apply. The main things to remember when using a face tan mist are: spray all over your face, neck and ears evenly (around five to six full pumps), spray all parts of the face from an equal distance to keep the colour consistent, and let it dry before touching your face – there’s no need to rub these ones in.


Other waters can be applied by soaking a cotton pad in the product and swiping it all over your face, neck and ears, or tipping the liquid into your hands and patting it onto the face.


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3. Fake tan masks.

There are a few face tan masks on the market that are formulated to be applied like a skincare mask.


Just like regular face masks, tanning face masks come in single use sheet masks you leave on for between five to 15 minutes depending on what colour you’re after, and multi-use pot masks you apply like a moisturiser. Some masks are designed to be worn overnight and others are express formulas, so always read the instructions thoroughly before use.


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4. Fake tan serums.

Fake tan serums are face fake tanning products with added skincare benefits. They look and feel like a serum, gel or light moisturiser, and can be applied once or twice daily as a part of your regular skincare routine.



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How how to fake tan face tips.

Like tanning your body, it’s OK to feel sh*t scared about tanning your face and turning out looking orange. Here’s some application tips to hold your hand through it.

  • Start slowly: If you’re a beginner, less is more. You can always add another coat the next day, but it’s harder to take it back once you’ve gone too far.
  • Tan your whole face: This means applying the product down your neck, ears and behind the ears for a natural-looking finish. (Not doing so results in what happens when you don’t blend your foundation along your jawline, but you’re stuck with it.)
  • Watch your eyebrows and hairline: If you’re blonde, fake tan can turn your eyebrows and hairline a dirty orangey hue. Either be careful to avoid your eyebrows when applying, or cover them in Vaseline if you’re using a spray formula.
  • Blend and buff: You can use a denser makeup brush to blend and buff your face fake tan formula into the skin. This is also handy when blending around the hairline.
  • Tanning and active skincare: Skincare products with retinols or AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) like Glycolic or Lactic acids in them will eat your tan, so alternate the days you use your face fake tan and active skincare.

Best fake tan for face in Australia.

Here are our favourite face fake tanning products you can buy in Australia from the supermarket, chemists and beauty retailers like Mecca, Sephora, Adore Beauty and Nourished Life.


1. Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops, $39.

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
Image: Isle of Paradise.

2. Tanologist Face & Body Drops, $19.99.

Tanologist drops
Image: Supplied.

3. Mecca Cosmetica Self-Tan Drops, $32.

Mecca Cosmetica Self-Tan Drops
Image: Mecca.

4. BRONZE By La Mav Anti-Ageing Face Tan Serum, $29.95.

BRONZE By La Mav Anti-Ageing Face Tan Serum
Image: La Mav.

5. Le Tan Uber Glow Face Tan Serum, $19.99.

Le Tan Uber Glow Face Tan Serum
Image: Priceline.

6. Tan-Luxe The Face Drops, $68.

tan luxe
Image: Tan-Luxe.

7. Eco Tan Face Water, $34.95.

Eco Tan Face Water
Image: Supplied.

8. Bali Body Face Tan Water, $29.95.

Bali Body Face Tan Water
Image: Bali Body.

9. La Beach Tanning Water Mist, $39.

St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

10. St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist, $34.99.

St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
Image: St Tropez.

11. Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow Self Tanner For Face, $58.

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow Self Tanner For Face
Image: Mecca.

12. St Tropez Self Tan Express Sheet Mask, $6 each.

St Tropez Self Tan Express Sheet Mask
Image: Supplied.

13. James Read Tan Sleep Mask Tan Face, $49.

james read tan
Image: Mecca.

Do you have any winning face fake tan tips or product recommendations? Tell us in the comments below!