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Article: The Ultimate Guide to Face Tanning

The Ultimate Guide to Face Tanning

The Ultimate Guide to Face Tanning

This blog dives into the art of face tanning, blending our deep industry knowledge with simple, actionable tips. Here's to achieving your perfect glow, the Xpert way.

Why listen to us?

For over two decades, Sienna X has led the spray tan revolution, not just as experts but as true pioneers, inventing the spray tan tent and setting the gold standard in training.

Why the extra precautions when it comes to your face?

When applying self-tan or any beauty product to your face, extra caution is key due to the face's unique sensitivities:

Delicate Skin: Facial skin is thinner and more prone to irritation.

High Visibility: Imperfections and reactions are more noticeable.

Frequent Exposure: Faces are exposed more often to environmental stressors.

Choosing products specifically formulated for the face ensures both safety and effectiveness, highlighting the importance of gentle, nourishing ingredients for your most visible canvas.

DHA Uncovered: How does Tan work?

Facts About DHA:

What is DHA? Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient in self-tanners, a sugar compound that reacts with the skin's surface layer to create a tan through a process called the Maillard Reaction.

Safety First: Considered safe for topical use, DHA offers a sunless way to achieve a bronzed look, avoiding the harmful UV exposure.

Naturally Derived: DHA can be sourced from natural ingredients like sugar beets and sugarcane.

Colour Depth: The depth of the tan depends on the DHA concentration; higher concentrations result in a deeper tan.

Temporary Effect: As DHA only affects the outermost skin layer, the tan fades evenly with natural skin exfoliation, typically lasting about 5-7 day. Although when it comes to face tanning, this can be expected to be shorter due to exposure of your face and frequent washing. 

The Maillard Reaction Simplified

Imagine the Maillard reaction as an apple's browning. When an apple is sliced, its sugars react with oxygen, leading to that familiar browning. Similarly, when DHA in self-tanner meets the oxygen and amino acids on your skin's outer layer, it triggers a browning effect. This tan, like the apple's browning, only affects the surface — the dead skin cells. As these cells naturally shed, the tan fades, mirroring how the browning on the apple's surface is temporary and doesn't penetrate deeper.

Sun Vs. Self-Tan: Why We’re Team Self-Tan

The Sun's Harsh Truth:

Skin Damage: Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and skin texture changes.

Health Risks: Increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, due to harmful UV rays.

Uneven Tan: Sunbathing often results in tan lines and sunburns.

Self-Tan’s Winning Points:

Controlled, Even Tan: Achieve a flawless, even tan without tan lines or the risk of burns.

Skin Health: Bypass the harmful effects of UV rays, protecting skin health and preventing premature aging.

Convenience: Tan anytime, anywhere, without depending on weather conditions or exposing your face to the sun's risks.

But surely self-tan isn’t all good!?

Not all Self Tans are created equal

While self-tanning offers a safer alternative to sun exposure, it's important to acknowledge that not all self-tan formulas are created equal.

Ingredients to avoid when picking a self-tan product for your face (or any part of your body)...

Sulphates: Often used as cleansing agents, they can strip the skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.

Parabens: Linked to potential hormonal disruptions and cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.

Mineral Oil: Clogs pores and can lead to acne, especially in those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Phthalates: Linked to hormonal disruptions and potential health risks.

Alcohol Denat (Denatured Alcohol): Dries out the skin, leading to irritation or exacerbating existing dryness.

The Sienna Difference

At Sienna X, we take pride in formulating our self-tanning products without these potentially harmful ingredients and made from 100% natural DHA, focusing instead on incorporating skin-loving ingredients into our range.

These skin-loving ingredients include...

Aloe Vera, known for its hydrating and soothing properties

Q10, an antioxidant that helps to fight the signs of aging

Hyaluronic Acid, which draws moisture into the skin

Green Tea provides powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial benefits

Lemon Peel Extract is celebrated for its skin-lightening and smoothing effects

Just to name just a few of our favourites.


Guarding the Glow: SPF and Self-Tan Maintenance

Sunscreen + Self-Tan = BFFs:

Combining SPF with your self-tan routine is essential for protecting your faces skin and maintaining your tan. Think of sunscreen as your tan’s best friend, safeguarding your glow from the sun's harmful rays.

Keep the Glow Going:

Hydration is Key: Moisturised skin retains tan longer. Consider our Self Tan Concentrated Serum Drops; they can be added to your favourite moisturiser for an instant glow.

Daily Protection: Partner the serum drops with our SPF 30 Day Cream to protect your tan and your skin from UV damage.

Regular Reapplication: Maintain your tan by integrating these products into your daily skincare routine, adjusting the amount of serum drops for your desired tan level.

Gentle Exfoliation: Prep your skin weekly to ensure an even fade and a fresh canvas for reapplication.

By focusing on protection and maintenance, you can enjoy a lasting, healthy tan with the added benefits of skincare.

Sienna Xpert's Recommendation:

All our products. even those that seem predominately body tans, are perfect for use on face, however, they aren't necessarily the easiest to apply.

For a bespoke facial glow, our Self Tan Concentrated Serum Drops are the go-to. They blend seamlessly with any moisturiser for a tailor-made tan. Here’s how:

Versatility for Your Face: Though all our tans suit the face, our serum drops offer the simplest application.

Customisable Glow: Add 1-3 drops to your moisturiser for a light tan or 4-6 for something deeper. Our Sienna X Day Cream SPF 30 is an ideal pairing.

Flexibility in Application: Whether you prefer a daily touch-up or a weekly refresh, adjust the drop count to suit your tan goals.

This method ensures a flawless, natural tan that’s just as unique as you are, without the need for a full-body application.

Drops aren't your thing? We got you covered:

Rose Water Tanning Mist:

  • Purpose: Daily glow enhancement.
  • Key Benefits: Hydrates, soothes, protects.
  • Ingredients: Organic rose extract, rose geranium oil, allantoin, prebiulin fos, Aquaderm SP.
  • Usage: Spritz daily for gradual tan buildup.

Q10 Tanning Mist:

  • Purpose: Face & body application.
  • Key Benefits: Firms, hydrates, ensures smooth finish.
  • Special: Suitable size for body use, with 360-degree spray for easy application.
  • Ingredients: Q10, aloe vera, vitamin E, pomegranate.


Delving into the nuances of face tanning with Sienna X, we've shared insights from the science of DHA to selecting the best products for your skin. Each Sienna X tanner is meticulously crafted for safety and efficacy on your face, enriching your skin with beneficial ingredients. Our top pick for customisation and simplicity? The Self Tan Concentrated Serum Drops. They highlight Sienna X's commitment to innovative, user-friendly tanning solutions, ensuring a radiant, tailored glow that celebrates your individual beauty. Embrace the Sienna X way for a healthier, luminous complexion.

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