You’ll already be glowing on your wedding day, but applying self-tanner beforehand can add a little extra oomph—and, according to TikTok’s beauty influencers, it can also give you a perfectly contoured face. The latest viral beauty trend features self-tanner that’s used on the face to create a natural-looking contour—with or without makeup. Since it’s the kind of thing that could be great for a wedding (or any of the events leading up to a wedding), the Brides team had to try it for ourselves. We proposed the question: does this beauty hack actually work?
I apply self-tanner regularly (almost every other week), but I never thought about doing this contour technique until now—and I was definitely intrigued. Typically, I use my tanning mit or mix tanning drops into my daily moisturizer to apply the formula evenly all over my face.
If you’re equally as curious about using this contour hack for your big day, engagement party, or bachelorette party, read on my full experience. I’ve also included my tips for the best self-tanner and brush to use.
My Skin Type
I have semi-fair skin that tends to be on the drier and more sensitive side, so I always make sure to moisturize the day after applying self-tanner. I also have some facial freckles and moles, as well as flushed, rosy cheeks. My skin typically retains tanning formula well, so I usually see a noticeable difference within a few hours of applying it. As someone who both self-tans and contours my makeup regularly, I was excited to see how well this trend would actually turn out.
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
Buy it: $44; ulta.com
St. Tropez has been my go-to self-tanning solution for years. I know I can trust it to deliver a noticeable glow without leaving streaks or patches. I also love this express version of the brand’s classic bronzing mousse because it only takes one to three hours to work—depending on the depth of tan you want to achieve. This is great for brides-to-be in a time crunch. The long-lasting formula is also 100% clean and vegan-friendly, so I know it won’t irritate my skin.
Morphe M405 Angled Contour Brush
Buy it: $14; ulta.com
The brush you use definitely matters! I love this angled brush option by cult-favorite beauty brand, Morphe. It features natural bristles that help makeup—or in this case, self-tanner—glide on smoothly. The angled design helps to apply products with precision, which is especially useful when trying out a new beauty technique or trend.
How It Works
Contouring with self-tanner only requires a few easy steps. First, squeeze a small amount of tanning formula (be careful not to go overboard!) to a clean makeup brush. Then, just as you would with your everyday bronzer, apply it to your cheekbones, forehead, nose, and jawline with gentle sweeping motions. Let the formula dry and set into your skin for several hours, then rinse with cool water and moisturize.
When you first apply the self-tanner, it may look stark and overly contrasted compared to your natural skin tone. But don’t panic! This is just the tinted bronzing formula, which helps you see where you’ve already applied it. The formula will seep into the skin, and the harshness will wash away when you rinse.
If you’ve never contoured your facial features before, it’s a good idea to first practice with makeup that can easily wash off. Follow the same steps using a powder bronzer or liquid contour kit to get used to the placement and blending needed to achieve the look.
The Final Results
I’ll be honest, I had doubts about this viral beauty hack, but it proved me wrong! I love the finished look—it offers a very subtle glow and contour without having to put on any face makeup. While this contour trick won’t deliver ultra-noticeable results, it’s great for minimalist brides who want a sun-kissed effect on their wedding day. I’d also recommend using this technique for any events in which you want to look well put together without the hassle of doing full glam—think wedding dress shopping, a bridal brunch, or a pool day at your bachelorette party.
This hack is also perfect for wedding guests, especially for those attending spring and summer ceremonies. I already have four weddings on my calendar this year (wish me luck), and after trying this for myself, I’ll be packing my self-tanner for every one.
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Chloe Caldwell is a Commerce Writer for Brides. She has more than five years of journalism experience writing about beauty, fashion, accessories, and weddings.