Can You Tan With Makeup On?

tanning with make up

Makeup has managed to become an essential part of daily lives. Whether it is a gala event or merely a grocery run, most people don’t go to either without their makeup on. But it’s natural to ask the question – can you tan with makeup on?

Since makeup doesn’t work as a complete barrier to the UV rays, it allows UV rays to pass through. So, yes, you can tan while having makeup on, although it may not turn out even and smooth and is not a good idea for an even tan. This is one of the many reasons why a face doesn’t tan.

Are you wondering if you can get a tan while you have makeup on? Keep reading to learn more about the effects of tanning with makeup. 

What Happens When You Tan With Makeup On?

Plenty of people have noticed that makeup can act as a barrier between skin and the UV rays of the sun. Every makeup product from the base such as foundation or powder to other products like blush, lipstick, or even eyeshadow can restrict radiation from reaching your skin. Due to this, it is advised not to go on a tanning bed with makeup on.

But just because makeup can work as a barrier, doesn’t imply that it gives protection against the harmful effects of radiation. If you don’t have proper protection, such as that of sunscreen, your skin will be prone to damage. It can lead to sunburns, photoaging, and even increase the risk of skin cancer.

Makeup can work as a barrier due to the presence of chemicals in it. These chemicals are difficult to break down and prevent the sun rays from reaching your skin. It thus hinders the production of melatonin, which is responsible for tan.

Your skin will be prone to damage and you might even get an uneven and patchy tan if you’re tanning with makeup on.    

How Can Makeup Affect Tan?

If you ever find yourself wondering why doesn’t my face tan, it might be because of the makeup you use on your face before stepping out. Whether it is minimal or drastic, tanning with makeup will have some effect on your skin. While some areas might develop a tan, others might not, leading to uneven tan.

Here is how makeup can affect your tan:

SPF Protection:

There is a wide range of makeup products available today that come with SPF protection built-in to protect your skin. Since it is not usually strong protection, it can only give slight protection against UV rays.

For maximum protection, you must find a sunscreen with SPF 30. BB creams also come with SPF protection to help you keep the harmful UV radiation away. 

Skin Type:

The type of skin you have can also have a significant impact on how you tan with makeup on. In case you have sensitive skin or are on some medication, you might be prone to skin damage from, sun and even sunburn.

You can consult your doctor to help you identify your skin type and also know if your skin type makes you sensitive to UV radiation. Keep in mind some people especially with pale skin or red hair for example may not be able to tan easily.


If your skin is prone to acne and your face breakouts often, it can make your skin sensitive to both makeup and sunlight. 


When you are out in the sun, it is likely that you will break out in a sweat. If you are wearing makeup in sunlight, it can clog the pores of your skin. The excess oil produced by your skin in the sun will also accumulate in the pores, leading to skin troubles like acne or infection. 

Time of the Day:

The UV radiation from the sun is not strong all the time. If you step out before 10 am or after 4 pm, the sun will not be as strong. But, when you get exposed to the sun between that period, the sun rays are intense and you are more prone to skin damage.

You will be more likely to get a tan between 10 am and 4 pm and this is arguably the best time to tan outside, though you are more exposed to UV rays during this time which can also makes your skin more likely to get damaged.

How Can You Tan With Makeup?

If you are someone who cannot step out without a base or maybe a dash of mascara, you can still get a tan while having makeup on. You must keep a few things in mind to help you tan safely with makeup:

Opt for a Tinted Moisturizer:

You can find a wide range of tinted moisturizers that also come with SPF. They can ensure your skin stays hydrated and nourished, while also protecting against sun damage. With the SPF protection and the slight tint, you will be able to confidently step out in the sun. 

Get a Foundation With SPF:

Ditch the heavy concealer and opt for a light foundation with SPF to keep your skin protected from UV radiation. An oil-free and non-comedogenic foundation will not clog up your pores and will be light on your skin. Besides that, the SPF will ensure the sun damage is minimized.

Make sure you apply a layer of sunscreen as a base before you apply the foundation.   

Use a Tinted Sunscreen:

If you don’t want to use a moisturizer or foundation, a tinted sunscreen can work great for you. Apply this sunscreen all over your body to create an even tone and get complete protection from sun radiation. 

How to Remove Makeup for Tanning?

Why doesn’t my face tan? Well, since makeup becomes a barrier between the UV radiation from the sun and your skin, it can lead to an uneven tan. If you want to get a smooth and even tan, you must first take off your makeup.

Follow these tips to remove makeup properly:

Use Soap and Water:

The most simple way to cleanse your face is using mild soap and water. Use soap to get the makeup off and wash it with warm water. It will remove the residue makeup and prepare your skin. 

Go Slow:

While it is natural to think that rubbing hard will get the makeup off, it can actually do more harm than good. Rubbing can make your skin sensitive, lead to irritation, and increase the risk of burning in the sun. It is wise to go slow, and not rub your face too hard or too fast.

Use a Makeup Cleanser:

In case you don’t want to use soap, you can opt for a makeup cleanser to take off the makeup. It can gently remove all the makeup from the pores and also hydrate your skin. 

Be Thorough:

Make sure you are thorough and remove all the makeup from eyelids, edges of your eyes, and even neck to get a smooth tan. 

Clean the Hairline:

Another area that people often forget to clean is the hairline. Move your hair back and clean the hairline area properly to ensure you can get tanned on the entire face. 

Apply Moisturizer:

Once you are done cleansing your face, apply a moisturizer with SPF to complete the process. The moisturizer will nourish your skin and ensure it stays hydrated even when you are exposed to the harsh rays of the sun. SPF will give you protection from radiation and minimize skin damage. 

Related Questions:

Can You Still Get Tan With Makeup On?

Yes, you can get tanned even if you have makeup on your skin. Makeup is not a complete barrier against the UV radiation of the sun and allows the rays to pass through and reach your skin.  

However, the tan might turn out to be patchy, uneven, and blotchy since the areas with makeup might not receive proper UV radiation. 

Does Makeup Block the Sun?

Any makeup product that you use on your skin works as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Although it is not a solid barrier and hence cannot block all the rays. Some UV radiation will reach your face by passing through the makeup and might give you a tanned look. 

Does Wearing Foundation Prevent Tanning?

Any makeup product such as a foundation contains pigments and other light-reflecting ingredients. They can work much like physical blockers and restrict the UV radiation from reaching your skin.

While a foundation can offer a certain degree of coverage, it cannot completely block sun rays. So, you can get tanned even if you are wearing foundation.

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