Here’s how you can fake a tan using only makeup

ADVERTORIAL: For a faux glow in a matter of minutes

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / September 04 2017

As the colder months draw to an end and our winter woolies are stashed away for another year, we’re finally able to expand our outfit options to include more than just a variety of jeans and coats. And with this rise in temperature comes the inevitable – arms and legs on show, and for some,the desire to don a faux glow to make it look like you’ve just returned from a month-long European holiday.

Now, if traditional fake tans aren’t your cup of tea, or if you simply didn’t have time to exfoliate, shave and buff your chosen formula the night before, then we have good news! Your standard everyday base makeup products (think foundations, concealers and bronzers) can do all the hard work for you, in only a matter of minutes – you just need to know how to use them to achieve that bronzed holiday glow.

To find out exactly how to perfect the technique, we called on Priceline Pharamacy Makeup Director, Rae Morris, to share her top tips.


Apply your foundation as normal

To start, Morris suggests applying your regular foundation and concealer as you normally would, and then dusting your face with a translucent powder. Not only will the translucent powder set your base makeup and help minimise unwanted midday shine, it also creates a smooth base for your powder bronzer, ensuring it won’t cling to your skin and leave a patchy finish.

Try: Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder Translucent

TOP TIP: For an extra hit of bronze, Morris says you can go a shade higher in your foundation, but stresses that you should make sure to blend it down your neck and chest so that your face matches your body.


Blend your bronzer

The colour of a natural tan doesn’t actually look even, with the nose and forehead generally tanning up to two shades darker than the rest of your face. So instead of applying bronzer to your whole face to fake a tan, Morris suggests applying your bronzer to the areas where the sun would naturally hit your skin, i.e. along the top of your forehead and horizontally across your cheekbones (over your nose), as well as on your neck, collarbones and chest.

For a natural finish, Morris recommends using a large fluffy brush and a matte bronzer that’s a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone (any darker and your complexion will look more muddy than sun-kissed) to mimic the effect a natural tan. Buffing in the bronzer in circular motions will help give you the most natural effect.

Morris also warns against using shimmery bronzers if you have excessively oily skin or fine lines, as the glittery particles can accentuate an oily complexion and settle into wrinkles, making them appear more prominent.

Try: ECOTOOLS Powder Brush with Rimmel London Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze

TOP TIP: Before you apply bronzer, add a hint of rose coloured blush to your cheeks to give a natural healthy look.


Bronze and bronze some more

To complete your look and ensure your tan looks as natural as possible, apply additional bronzer over any other parts of the body that are on show, again using your fluffy brush and matte bronzer.

If you want to take the tan on your legs and arms a bit further, Morris shares her secret weapon: Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs. Simply spray the water-resistant formula directly onto your skin and buff it in with a mitt for for a quick hit of colour. Then at the end of the day, simply wash it off with soap and water.

Want to see this makeup tutorial in action? Watch the video above to see how easily you can fake a tan with makeup. Or check out more how to videos here.

Have you tried to create a fake tan with makeup before? Share your top tips with us in the comments below.

Image credit: Getty

Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.