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I Tried the TikTok Self-Tanner Contouring Trend — I Have Mixed Feelings

It could deliver great results if done right.
May 13, 2022

Admittedly, I usually keep scrolling when I come across most beauty trends on TikTok. I’m just not one for wacky hacks or over-the-top techniques, but when I saw people achieving contoured complexions by just strategically placing their self-tanner, I was intrigued. 

Given that the warm weather is approaching and I’ll be more inclined to go makeup-free, I figured there was no better time than now to give the trend a try. And while it’s a relatively easy hack, the experience left me with many mixed feelings. Keep reading to see what happened when I tried it out — and what I’ll do differently next time. 

The TikTok Self-Tanner Contouring Trend

If you’re unfamiliar, this trend had TikTok creators experimenting with their self-tanning products in the hopes of achieving a “tantoured” — or tanned and contoured — look. They would apply self-tanner to the areas on their face that they would normally contour with makeup, let the tanner develop, and then reveal a naturally contoured complexion on their bare faces. This way, they can wake up the next day with a contoured-looking complexion without having to take the time to do it with makeup. 

As for the products used, some people opted for the same tanner they use on their bodies, while others used face-specific options like self-tanning drops or mists. They then applied the products onto their skin using a makeup sponge, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender, or a makeup brush. 

How I Tried the Trend

After completing my morning skin care routine, I sprayed a stippling brush with the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Self-Tanning Facial Water Mist, Vitamin E. I chose a stippling brush because it’s less dense than most face brushes and I figured it would yield the most natural results. 

I sprayed three to four spritzes onto the bristles and gently swiped the brush along the hollows of my cheeks, my forehead and jawline. 

Once I felt like I had adequately blended the formula into my skin — although I couldn't tell for sure given that it’s transparent — I let the tan develop for the next five hours. I chose not to apply makeup on top because I didn’t want anything to disturb the placement of the self-tanner.

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The Results

Five hours after trying out the hack, I went to check in the mirror and see if the color had developed. It had — and it was incredibly pigmented. While I was pleased that my complexion looked bronze and my features appeared somewhat more defined without wearing makeup, I felt that tanner looked a bit stark against my fair skin tone. Because self-tanners tend to lean more warm in tone rather than cool, it created a more targeted tan than a truly contoured look. 

I also noticed that it was not as seamlessly blended as I would have liked it to be. Because the formula is clear, there was no color guard to show where I was placing the tan — it was all done by feel. 

My Final Thoughts 

While I didn’t achieve a flawless, contoured look, I do think this trend can work with some trial and error. When I try it again, I’ll spray my brush just once or twice rather than drenching it in the formula in the hopes that it will look more natural. I’ll also be sure to be more cognizant about blending the edges of where I place the product — perhaps I’ll even use a makeup sponge after the brush to really diffuse the color. 

If you’re looking to achieve the appearance of sculpted and ultra-defined features, this probably isn’t the hack for you. But, if you’re hoping to bronze up your complexion and add subtle definition that won’t wash off with your makeup remover at the end of the night, I say give this trend a try. 

Next: 7 Viral TikTok Hair Trends To Inspire Your Next Hair Transformation

Written and photographed by: Alyssa Kaplan

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