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Tantouring: How to Contour Your Face with a Self-Tanner the Right Way

If you haven’t heard of tantouring, stay with us because you are in for a treat. While many TikTok beauty trends have had their five minutes of fame, there are a few that stood the test of time. One such trend is something the TikTok world dubbed as contouring.

As you may have already guessed, the term “tantouring” is a combination of “tan” and “contouring”. With ladies working on their contours year round, your bottle of self-tanner definitely won’t go to waste when you hop onto this beauty trend.

This beauty trend has nothing to do with stenciling your face under the sun (thank heavens) and leaving with a horrid face tan. Rather, this little trick uses self-tanning in place of a daily makeup routine step.

I know what you’re thinking: it sounds like a recipe for disaster. But trust us when we say that with the right tips and tricks, this little hack will save you time and have you looking fabulous.

So what exactly is tantouring?

Glad you asked. As you may have inferred from our little introduction, tantouring is the use of a natural-looking self-tanner on the contouring areas of your face. When done well, this will give you a natural contour that you won’t have to touch for several days, making it okay to skip out on the contour part of your makeup routine.

Best news yet: it will only take five minutes and lasts for 3-4 days.

1. Choose the best self-tanner, and choose it wisely.

The first (and often neglected) step in self-tanning is to do your research. It’s tempting to hop over to your fave beauty store and pick out the bottle of fake tan with the best-looking packaging, but this can cost you money, time, and a few days spent in hiding. Before heading to the store, sit down and do your research on the self-tanners that will give you the best fake tan — and we recommend that you focus on one with natural Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and other naturally moisturising ingredients.

Don’t forget to do research on which type suits your skin type best (lotions, mousses, etc.). While you’re at it, do a quick search on the best gradual tan you can find in your area for touch-ups.

Our recommendations:

2. Know your contour points.

If you are relatively new to contouring and have no idea what you are doing, we suggest practicing with some bronzer first. Some simple guidelines to consider: which shadows are usually cast over your face when in direct light? What are the areas that you need to emphasize? Some of the usual spots are on your jawline, cheekbones, and around your hairline.

If you’re looking to level up your contour game, the sides of your nose, eyelids, and lip line are also some of the areas that usually call for some finer contouring. Just make sure you do your diligence by watching contour gurus online and understanding the hows and whys of contouring.

3. Prep your skin and prep it well.

If you are familiar with the usual steps for prepping your body for self-tanning, pretty much the same principles apply to your face. Shower hours before because you won’t be able to for at least 4-6 hours post-application.

After you shower, exfoliate in the areas that tend to be dryer than the rest of your face (this could be around your lips, the sides of your nose, forehead, and cheeks). Always remember that dry skin tends to absorb more product, which may lead to an uneven tan.

Lastly, moisturise. Make sure to do this with enough time to let your moisturiser settle into your skin.

4. Work on the first contour layer with care.

By now, we assume you’ve done your work on mapping out which areas of your face look most flattering with contouring. But before that, we need to lay the foundation for your masterpiece.

Having areas on your face that are bronzed while the rest of your face remains pasty is a huge no-no. In order to have a believable contour, the canvas must first be prepped to be somewhat on the same page as the contour. You’ll want to apply just a sufficient amount of tanning lotion or mousse onto your tanning mitt first. Make sure you don’t overdo the amount. If you are unsure, blot it off with some tissue. Once it feels dry enough, apply the self-tanner to your face as per usual.

5. Work on the small areas of your face next.

After the base layer has settled onto your face nicely, it’s time to whip out the contour brushes. Make sure that you get a separate one for contouring or if you are reusing your makeup brush, make sure that all the particles are cleared out.

Once you are settled, take the contour brush and apply it all over her jaw, the tops of her cheekbones, and around the hairline. Make sure to blend any harsh edges to avoid streaks. When putting product on your brush, try to pick up the ones remaining on your mitt first so you don’t end up applying too much too fast.

Trust us: the more you do it, the easier it gets.

6. Allow the colour to develop for around 4-6 hours.

The final step: the waiting. If you’ve done your research and followed our tips, then you are well on your way to having the most natural-looking contour that you won’t have to wash off or redo for at least a couple of days. Make sure to leave the product alone for 4-6 hours. This means no washing your face either til the colour develops.

If your first attempt didn’t go so well, don’t worry. You’ll get better with more practice. Just go through the steps again and figure out where you can improve, and you’ll be well on your way to having a natural contour that you’ll forget is even there.

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