Glam Summer Glow

The Best Makeup to Complement a Tan


Tanned skin provides the perfect backdrop for makeup. It looks like you’ve just returned from a relaxing week on the beach, giving your cheeks a natural flush and the skin tone a boost of color. The last thing you want to do to your Summer tan is cover it up. Instead, complement it with makeup that will help you show it off. We’ve got the scoop on how you can highlight it, using complementary colors and textures for the cheeks, lips, and eyes – after perfecting your complexion.

The Complexion

When it comes to putting makeup on tanned skin, less is definitely more! Since skin is tanned, glowing, and radiant, it’s best to avoid covering it up, using a light corrector when needed. To perfect your new tanned complexion, here’s what you’ll need to do.

The last thing you want to do to your Summer tan is cover it up. Instead, complement it with makeup that will help you show it off.

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Most Importantly, Prep

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: prep is the most important step! With tanned skin, it’s even more important, as sun exposure can lead to dryness. Give your skin a layer of moisture before applying anything else, relaxing it into a flawless, dewy backdrop for all the rest of your products.

Ditch Your Foundation

Choosing to go completely foundation-free is great for tanned skin. To pull it off, use a few dots of concealer where needed, and make sure to load up on your favorite SPF product to protect skin while out and about. If opting for some coverage, it’s best to use a tinted moisturizer or a BB or CC cream. These allow the skin to breathe while further evening out the skin.

Don’t forget to go a few shades darker from your current concealer. This will help colors compliment each other and won’t leave concealed areas looking too bright and unnatural.


When setting the complexion, use a light setting spray that will protect products from sliding off under the sun. This step is a game changer.

The Eyes

A tan goes well with many colors, so it’s not just about the hue. For tanned skin, it’s the quantity that can make or break the look, so the lighter you go, the better you’ll be.

Try The Trifecta

Three colors ALWAYS look good with a tan: gold, coral, and pink. The golden undertones in these shades make a tan pop and can bring out the eyes for a glowing goddess look in just a few swipes. When choosing colors, look for rosy pinks, light corals, and matte or flecked gold shadows.

One Is All You Need

Making eyeshadows too complex with tanned skin is okay, but do you really want all that during the Summer? For the healthiest, most natural look, choose one color and sweep it across the lids for an instant lift.

Lighten Up Eyeliner

Changing up eyeliner and opting for brown, gray, or green can bring out eyes without overshadowing your tan. Add a bit to the corner of the eyes to make them look wider and brighter.

The Cheeks 

When your skin tans, cheeks automatically appear more flushed. To mimic the skin’s natural response, play up cheeks to really make them pop.

Go For Cream

Skin can become dry with sun exposure, which is why cream cheek products work best for the Summer. Most cream products can withstand humidity and actually look better when your skin starts to glisten.

Go Bold

Instead of going bold with the eyes, save it for the cheeks. A flush of color on the cheeks is a fantastic complement to tanned and glowing skin, really bringing out the color and making you look healthy and refreshed. Coral and pink are two tanned skin staples that go with virtually every Summer outfit.

Highlight Strategically

Your skin is likely already glowing from within, so don’t go overboard with highlighter. We know it’s pretty, and that shimmer works wonders for the contours of the face, but it’s best to highlight strategically. Focus on the areas where the sun would naturally hit your cheeks, lightly brushing across the highest points.

The Lips

Like cheeks, lips are fun to play up with tanned skin. From glossy to matte, and bold to neutral, just about any color works.

Consider Your Look

When choosing what to do with lips, it’s best to note your eye and cheek colors. This will help you choose a color and finish that pulls the look together. With makeup to complement your tan, contrast is key, so if you went for bold cheeks, go for a neutral lip. If you choose a lighter flush of neutral blush, then add a pop of bold color to your lips.