Apply Self-Tanner to the Face – Brush Method

If you’ve been self-tanning for a while, you know a mitt is the way to go when we’re talking about application. If you haven’t…well, now you do. It means you don’t need to scrub your palms for five minutes post-application, and usually gives more even results. They even make micro-mitts that fit over just two fingers so that you can apply self-tanner to the face. They are adorable and wee!

Realistically, though, a micro-mitt isn’t a smart purchase. On top of being yet another thing you have to buy that only has one use, you have to replace them ever so often. I feel like you’d be paying more for the novelty than the efficacy…and who can you share your joy over the cuteness of a facial tanning mitt with? Just going to stash it in your purse, brandish it at your coworkers and go, “OMG LOOK AT MY TINY FACE MITT!”

how-to apply self-tanner to the face - brush method

This method to apply self-tanner to the face (I used to just use my fingers) has been adopted from Jaclyn Hill’s latest tanning video. She uses a mousse product, but I can confirm that this works with lotion-based ones (and will likely work with gels or liquids, too – just be careful to avoid making a mess).

Steps to apply self-tanner to the face:

  1. Grab a buffing brush, ideally, it should have synthetic bristles. I’m using the L.A.B.2 I’m Turning Pro Buffing Brush for this, Jaclyn used one from Morphe. Synthetic bristles will absorb less product, meaning more product actually makes it onto your skin, resulting in less waste.
  2. Pump a tiny amount onto the top of your brush. Alternatively, you can dot it onto your face just like you would with foundation (wash your hands afterwards if you dot with your fingers). Use however much you were using for your face before. Mix it with face moisturizer if you like (I do). I’m using Million Dollar Tan Cabana Tan because it’s what I have on hand.
  3. Start buffing the product into your skin in circular motions starting in the center and working outwards. Seriously, this is just like applying foundation! Super easy.
  4. Continue buffing the product in, blending it as needed. Blend into your hairline and don’t forget your ears. If you’re using a tanning product with a color-guide, it should be easy to see when you’re covered. If, like me currently, you are not? Well, you just have to trust your skills (that, and you should still feel the moisture from the product – many of them dry fast, but not that fast).

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t love the L.A.B.2 I’m Turning Pro due to preferences – and I hadn’t used it much since I received it until I started doing this. As it turns out, this is the perfect use for this brush for me. It buffs and blends the self-tanner into my face well with no resistance or sloppiness. The brush itself washes up very well (unlike tanning mitts) doesn’t show any product and look grungy in between uses. If you have this set and weren’t really sure about how you wanted to use this brush, consider using it to apply self-tanner to the face. Any similar brush will do, though – it can be a synthetic kabuki, you just want something with denser bristles that can buff well (no flat, “paddle,” foundation brushes, please; you will wind up streaky).