Makeup for Tanned Skin: The Ultimate Guide

make up

Who doesn’t want to let their natural glow shine, after some time in the sun?

Taking care of your skin is essential to looking and feeling good – especially after a day under the rays. The right makeup products are a priority for bringing out the best in your skin, protection from sun damage and for showing off your summer glow.

Whether you’re off on vacation, just back from a break in the sun or lucky enough to live somewhere warm, choosing the right makeup and application methods can help show off your skin at its best.

Before considering the products, you will need, your makeup application routine will need to change too. The application of your makeup is just as important as the products you use when you have tanned skin.

How Do You Apply Make Up to Tan Skin?

Firstly, it’s important to understand the order in which to apply your make up before understanding our advice on how to apply makeup with tanned skin.

Before applying makeup, first choose a primer. For dry skin opt for a moisturizing primer. For oily skin choose matte. Follow these application makeup steps for tanned skin to keep your skin looking and feeling refreshed.

  • Apply primer using a brush or makeup sponge.
  • Wait at least five minutes before applying foundation or BB cream.
  • Lightly apply foundation and remove excess with clean sponge.
  • Use a bronzer and large brush to bronze your nose and cheek bones.
  • Appy highlighter to your nose and cheek bones.
  • Apply mascara and eyeliner.
  • Apply finishing powder or spray.
  • Finish with a light lip gloss or nude lipstick.

Choosing the Best Makeup for Tanned Skin

One of the best ways to ensure your skin looks its best after time in the sun, is investing in the right makeup for your new skin tone and skin type.

As well as changing your application routine, many people change all the products in their makeup bag when they’re tanned – from foundation to eye products. Now I want to cover foundation and eye makeup because they are particularly important when it comes to getting your makeup right:


For most people, their entire makeup style changes when the sun is out. Firstly, and perhaps the biggest change, is the type of foundation.

Your usual makeup routine might not be sufficient to counteract the effects, to counteract the breakouts and dry skin that UV exposure can cause.

Sun-kissed skin doesn’t need a high-coverage foundation or concealer.

In warmer weather a full-coverage foundation will become sticky and highlight any dry skin or sun damage. Matte foundations should also be avoided.

So, what is the best Foundation for Tan Skin? Well, it’s essential to choose a liquid foundation or BB cream – that won’t cover up your natural glow – and a powder to hide any shine.


Concealers should always be a shade or 2 lighter than the foundation used in order to cover up discoloration, bags, acne, scarring, etc., and to brighten the face overall.

Concealer can also be used as a highlighter if applied in the right areas: in the middle of your chin, under the eyes and the inner eye corners, below the outer corners of your eyebrows, and at the center of your forehead.

Similar to foundation, go for warm undertones and avoid pinks or cool tones.  


When it comes to blusher, true pink should always be avoided when it comes to tan skin makeup.

Rose shades that have some red or orange tint are ideal, as well as warm pink shades like strawberry, rose, punch, or cranberry, and peach shades like apricot, salmon, coral, or true peach.

Shades of orange such as melon, sherbet, tangerine, or papaya, and red-brown shades like claret, currant, mahogany, or raisin also work very well for darker skin.

Essentially, the deeper your tan is, the deeper the shade you need for a natural makeup look for tanned skin.  


Like most makeup for bronzed skin, anything with warm undertones is the way to go.

A nude lip always works, no matter the depth of your tan. The darker your complexion is though, the deeper a shade you can choose. Browns, caramel, or amber make for a really striking makeup look.

If you’re a red lip lover, a shade that has some yellow or orange undertones works best with tanned skin, or for special occasions try out coral, tangerine, and other bright shades of orange if you’re feeling daring.

You can’t go wrong with any shade that has a warm undertone. If you’d like, try out this experiment to really find the perfect shade:

Apply some to your wrist, and also switch another shade or two slightly off from your chosen color. Examine how they appear on your skin. After a few moments, one of the shades will start to appear duller, and one of them should hopefully appear better – that is the shade you want to try.

This experiment can be done with warm and cool undertones in order to test which appear better. When choosing between shades slightly off from each other, it’s a fun way to select the one that looks best for you. For more information check our article – choosing the best lipstick for tanned skin.

Eye Makeup

Tanned skin is often oilier or drier than your normal skin type and this should be taken into consideration when choosing eye makeup.

In a warmer climate, makeup tends to migrate. Any heavy eye makeup look will be quickly ruined if applied too heavily or incorrectly.

If you want to show off your summer glow, simply highlight your eyes with mascara and a stroke of eyeliner.

If you want a more dramatic look, use a matte primer to prepare your eyelids. Allow the primer to dry completely before applying any eyeshadow.

If you want your eyeshadow to pop against your tan, apply a white basecoat to your eyelids. When applying eye makeup avoid cream eyeshadows – they will clump in the crease in hotter temperatures.

Stay away from reds and oranges, they will highlight any sunburn in your tan. Instead choose neutral tones such as blacks, browns, and creams.

For more in-depth information about each eye color type with regards to eye shadow for tanned skin, check out our article – best eyeshadow colors for tan skin

Essential Warm Weather Make Up Advice

Your makeup might change in warmer climates. Lipsticks and foundation can melt. Powders and bronzers can swell and crack.

Keeping your makeup in a cool dry environment will keep it in top condition through your vacation. Store your makeup in your hotel room fridge. The cooler temperature and lack of humidity will protect your beauty products. If you live somewhere hot, think about investing in a beauty fridge.

If you plan on wearing makeup in the daytime in the sun, invest in makeup with sun protection. BB creams and foundations with UV protection can be found in your local drug store. Loose foundation, bronzers and finishing powders can also be found with UV protection.

For your lips a UV lipstick or lip balm will protect them from cracking in the sun. You should always apply sun protection before makeup for maximum protection.

If your skin reacts badly to the sun – don’t panic! Apply some moisturizer or after-sun and avoid any cream-based makeup (no foundation or BB cream). Use a powder or bronzer to blend the sunburn or dry skin once the moisturizer has dried. Don’t be tempted to apply lots of make up to cover it – it will just draw attention to the area.

Related Question/s

How Can I Look Pretty with Tan Skin?

To make the most of your tanned look, highlight it – don’t cover it up. Try to keep your tanned skin makeup natural and minimalistic – allowing your tan to shine through.

Choose natural tones, highlighters, and bronzers to help your pretty summer glow last as long as possible.

Can You Tan With Makeup On?

So, can you tan with makeup on? Well yes you can though sometimes it can causes the tan to become patchy so really it’s a good idea to not tan with makeup up for the most part. This is sometimes why people ask the question why doesn’t my face tan– well often it’s due to make up blocking the UV rays from reaching their skin at least partially.

Should I Wear Foundation with a Tan?

Only very light coverage is typically required on tanned skin. For an uneven skin tone, it would be more helpful to find the right concealer instead.

What Lip Color Suits Tan Skin?

Lip color with any shades that have warm undertones suit a tan, such as reds with yellow or orange mixed into it, or shades of brown such as caramel.

How Do I Match My Skin Tone to My Makeup?

It’s always best to start by identifying your undertone before actually determining your skin tone because the label used for your skin tone varies depending on which brands particular product of makeup you want.

To find your undertone, it is all about examining your veins, typically the ones in your wrist. Find more information about that here.

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