Celebrity skin-finishing expert and St. Tropez pro Sophie Evans shows us a fast and easy way to enhance our bone structure with self-tanner – and we won't look like YouTube contour caricatures.
how to contour with self-tanner and get a look like Miranda Kerr's

See this subtly sculpted sunkissed look on Miranda Kerr? St. Tropez expert Sophie Evans shows us how to DIY contour with self-tanner in the video below. And it's easy!

Contouring with self-tanner -- I know you're way over contouring, that the subject is just getting old. The thing is that contouring is not a trend. It's being treated as a trend by heavy-handed YouTube makeup junkies, but contouring is merely a clever technique that lends subtle enhancement to bone structure and complexion. When we do it correctly, we should never, ever receive compliments on our application. Instead, we should hear things like, "I'm so jealous of your complexion; it just glows, all the time. I hate you." And "Wow, the bone-structure gods were really good to you. I can't be your friend."

Yesterday's post was all about self-tanning your face flawlessly with tips from celebrity skin-finishing experts Sophie Evans and James Read. It seems so super easy that I'm all about exfoliating right now so I can try one of their simple techniques this weekend. And the self-tanning moves Sophie shows in this video (below) about contouring with self-tanner are even easier. Trust:

contour with self-tanner prep

  • Exfoliate and moisturize skin thoroughly before using self tanner.
  • If you have fair hair, bleached hair or grey hair, apply a layer of moisturizer to your hairline to prevent staining.
  • If you're going to use a body spray on your face, Sophie suggests using your skincare products first so you still get those benefits. The difference between St. Tropez face and body formulas, she says, is that the body stuff is made without the face-care ingredients.
  • Ready two shades of self-tanner, one classic and one dark. Creating a base of classic colour evens out your complexion; the darker self-tanner creates the contours. (Using your base colour again to contour won't quite do it.)

In the video tutorial, Sophie used St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Bronzing Spray ($44 at thebay.com and $35 at sephora.com) and St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Dark Bronzing Spray ($54 at thebay.com and $40 at sephora.com). Naturally I'm wondering if I can skip the base self-tan and move right to the contouring bit with the classic tan shade. On the other hand, the base tan will even out my skintone overall, so I might not need foundation. Hmmm.

How to contour your face with spray self-tanner: St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Bronzing Spray and Dark Bronzing Spray

How to contour your face with spray self-tanner: St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Bronzing Spray and Dark Bronzing Spray

contour with self tanner application

  • Start with the classic shade of self-tanner. Hold the tin properly upright and keep it six inches from your face when you spray. Use steady sweeping gestures from hairline to chin – don't spray upwards or you'll get tanner in your nose. *blech*
  • Spray the front of your face in three sections: once down the left, once down the middle, once down right.
  • Then do the sides of your face, two sweeping sprays each from hairline to chin (get your ears too while you're at it). The slight increase in colour intensity here focuses light through the centre of your face where you applied just one layer of self-tanner spray.
  • Now lift your chin and spray your neck, once down one side, then the middle, then the the other side.
  • To contour with the darker self-tanner spray, start under your jawline. Lift your chin, start from one side and quickly and steadily follow the curve of your jaw to the other side with the spray (remember to hold six inches from skin). Watch the video a few times before you try.
  • To contour under cheekbones, suck your cheeks in and spray once or twice in a quick sweep from hairline toward the mouth.

contour with self tanner post-application

  • Avoid washing your face for eight hours after self-tanner application.
  • In the days afterward, moisturize regularly of course, and exfoliate every two or three days to ensure the colour stays even and to create a smooth base for your next self-tan session. Try the James Read Tan Perfecting Enzyme Peel Mask ($26 at sephora.ca and $22 at sephora.com) – it's a peel-off formula! (Remember those?)
How to contour your face with self-tanner: James Read Tan Perfecting Enzyme Peel Mask

How to contour your face with self-tanner: James Read Tan Perfecting Enzyme Peel Mask

more contour with self-tanner suggestions:

If you prefer to use a face-specific formula as your base, here's the newest stuff mentioned yesterday:

Maybe you feel better applying your self-tan contour like makeup? If you have a fair or fair-medium complexion, once your classic base colour is fully developed the next morning, try defining your contours with a makeup brush and Vita Liberata Trystal Self-Tanning Bronzing Mineral Powder ($56 at sephora.ca and $45 at sephora.com). The colour should develop over the course of the day, and more intensely with daily use.

How to contour your face with self-tanner: Vita Liberata Trystal Self-Tanning Bronzing Mineral Powder

How to contour your face with self-tanner: Vita Liberata Trystal Self-Tanning Bronzing Mineral Powder

Whatever your preferred technique, there's an easy-to-use option.

Looking for more tips on how to get your best results? Our experts to the stars share their best self-tan advice here.

Have you ever contoured with self-tanner? Or considered it? Do you think you might try these moves?

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St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self-Tan Dark Bronzing Spray ingredients: Dimethyl Ether, Water, Alcohol Denat, Dihydroxyacetone, Propylene Glycol, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Fragrance, Sodium Metabisulfite, Melanin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Extract, Coumarin, Potassium Sorbate, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ianone, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Red 40 (Cl 16035), Yellow 5 (Cl 19140), Blue 1 (Cl 42090).

James Read Tan Perfecting Enyzme Peel Mask ingredients: Water, Dihydroxyacetone, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Leaf Juice) , Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Erythrulose, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ubiquinone (CQ10), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea Extract), CI 16035, CI 19140, CI42090.