When it comes to self-tanning the face, we’ll admit that it can feel intimidating to slather a bronzing agent on your face. And the best practices for how to apply self tanner to your face, can be hard to lurk. But we think that we have. Below, we break down everything you need to know on how to apply self tanners to your face – and to get a natural-looking facial tan.

Have you’ve weighed the pros and cons, about how you self tan your face – and decided to self-tan? Then the next steps are for you! We’ll introduce you to how to apply self tanner to your face so that it looks natural, non-streaky, and doesn’t break out your skin. Follow these steps on how to self tan your face to a gloriously artificial glowing skin.

Choose your fighter

It all starts with the right self tanner. Before you add any old tanner to your cart, consider your skin type. If your skin isn’t sensitive or prone to breakouts, you can use a self-tan formulated for the body. Eventually, you can dilute it with your favourite facial moisturiser before application.

For some, their faces have a tendency to go darker than the body. If you’re one of those, you can dilute it with your favourite facial moisturiser before application. In case it’s not you, then skip it.

Facial products are often formulated to be lighter. But if you can’t get your hands on a facial tanner like the Boë Face Tan Lotion No.7, a (diluted) body tanner is an option – like the Boë Tan Drops No.1, Tan Water No. 2, Tan Lotion No.3 or Tan Mousse No.5. Just be sure to use a lotion or cream-textured moisturiser and not an oil-based moisturiser! Oil will act like a barrier on the skin and stop the self tanner from getting through and do its job.

Set the alarm clock

Does time matter to how you put self tanner on your face? The best time to tan your face is actually at night. When you are to apply self tanner to your face at night, the product can sit and develop evenly overnight, letting you wake up with a golden glow in the morning. But all Boë-products are made as quick drying formulas, to suit our fast paced lives. This is why you easily can make it part of your morning routine. Boë products are made for it. Honestly; most of us do our self tan routines in the morning – and it works perfectly.

Prepare yourself

Always start off by cleansing your face and removing any makeup or excess product residue prior to application. Use an exfoliating cleanser or scrub — either physical or chemical is fine. Just be sure to choose one that doesn’t contain oil, which can keep the self-tanner from absorbing properly. Lightly moisturize around your nostrils and other dry spots with an oil-free lotion.

No.1 Tan Drops – is compatible for both face and body. Apply at night and wake up with a beautiful glow, or apply in the morning and develop a luminous tan during the day.

Apply a base layer of tanner.

Follow the instructions on the packaging to apply your tan, whether it’s a mist, drops, or other formula. For a mist, we recommend holding the bottle about four inches away from the face and spritzing down the center and sides of the face. I.e., use one spray on each cheek and one for the forehead, and then distribute with your hands to your whole face. For a cream product, apply it the same way you would a moisturizer. Using your hands to slather an even layer around the face. It’ll be a faster process than you think. Make sure your coverage includes the entire face, including often forgotten areas such as the front and back of the neck and hairline.

Customize the look.

Now comes the fun part: Contouring. Think of this optional step the same way you would your blush and bronzer. It’s not entirely necessary, but they help create a “full-face” vibe. A self-tanner contour can save you valuable time in front of the makeup mirror, and it creates “more dimension” in the face.

Use a makeup brush or your fingers to add additional color across the cheekbones, under the jawlines, and/or onto the arches of your brow bones. When you wake up to a developed tan the next morning, a subtle contour will be in place.


Since cell turnover occurs so rapidly on the face, facial tanners will fade more quickly than a self tan on the body. When you’re ready to refresh your color, exfoliate your face and begin the cycle again.

Are self-tanners safe?

Many dermatologists actually recommend using self-tanners, instead of (overly) sunbathing. As sunbathing increases the risk of skin problems and is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Meanwhile, you can apply self-tanners right inside your home.

Self-tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is an active ingredient that reacts to dead skin cells. The result of the reaction is the darkening of the skin. DHA is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a color additive for the skin. DHA has been used by cosmetics laboratories for many years.

How long does a self-tanner last?

Self tanning happens on the outermost layer of the epidermis, or skin. Whereas sunbathing affects the innermost layer of the epidermis. This makes a tan caused by sunbathing to last longer than the tan caused by self tanners.

As the dead skin cells begin to slough off, the tan wears off too. It lasts for a few days, usually 4-6 days, depending on the product and your skin type. Boë’s high quality self tan products are made for you to have your favourite natural tan all year round – easy and without stress.

What are safe and effective self-tanners?

Not all self tanners are safe; some contain harsh chemicals that may damage your skin. Where others have a strong scent that is too strong or leaves a stain on the skin and clothes. Some cheap self-tanners give the skin an orange undertone that nobody thinks looks good.

Get a natural looking tan with the safest and most reliable self-tanning products from Boë.

Read more about our tips, products and Boë in general on our tan talk-page.