Can You Tan Through Concealer? 5 Affecting Factors

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Ready for a glow-up but confused about makeup’s impact on your tanning process? You’re not alone; many of us wonder if our beloved concealer can interfere with getting that sun-kissed look.

This blog will serve as your guide to understanding how makeup, specifically concealer, affects tanning and offer tips on achieving evenly bronzed skin while wearing it. So let’s dive into the world where sunscreen meets mascara.

  • Concealer can potentially block UV rays and hinder the tanning process, leading to uneven tan lines and less overall sun exposure.
  • Makeup products, including concealers, often contain SPF for sun protection. However, relying solely on makeup for sun protection is not sufficient for prolonged sun exposure or intense outdoor activities.
  • It is possible to achieve a tan while wearing makeup, but it may not give you the best results. Opt for lightweight makeup with lower SPF values and consider taking breaks from wearing makeup to allow direct sunlight on your skin.
  • To achieve an even tan while wearing makeup, apply it lightly in thin layers and use powder-based products instead of creams. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen underneath your makeup for proper sun protection.

The Impact of Makeup on Tanning

Makeup can potentially block UV rays and hinder the tanning process, leading to uneven tan lines and less overall sun exposure.

Can concealer block UV rays?

Most concealers contain SPF, a compound designed to block harmful UV rays. This sun protection factor limits the skin’s exposure to the sun and significantly slows down the tanning process.

That’s why when you apply concealer, it acts as an additional layer of skin defense, reducing direct interaction between your skin and sunlight. However, this doesn’t mean that tanning is entirely impossible with makeup on; its efficacy just lessens considerably.

But be wary: uneven distribution of your concealer could result in unequal tanning across different parts of your face due to varying levels of SPF coverage on each area.

How makeup affects the tanning process

Makeup can have an impact on the tanning process. When you wear makeup while tanning, it acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun’s rays. This can potentially lead to uneven tanning, as the makeup blocks some of the UV rays from reaching your skin.

The quality of your tan may not be as good when you have makeup on, and there is a chance that certain areas covered by concealer or foundation may not tan at all. While some makeup products contain SPF for sun protection, it is generally not advisable to rely solely on them for adequate sun protection during tanning sessions.

5 Potential risks and drawbacks

There are potential risks and drawbacks when it comes to tanning with concealer:

  1. Uneven tanning: Makeup can act as a barrier between your skin and the sun, resulting in uneven tanning. This means you might end up with tan lines or patches where the concealer was applied.
  2. Decreased effectiveness: Applying concealer on your skin can potentially block UV rays, which are essential for the tanning process. This can result in a less effective tan compared to if you were not wearing any makeup.
  3. Lower quality of tan: The quality of the tan you achieve while wearing concealer may not be as good as if you were tanning without any makeup. The color may appear less natural and vibrant.
  4. Potential skin damage: While some makeup products contain SPF for sun protection, they may not provide adequate coverage for prolonged sun exposure. This can increase the risk of sunburn and other forms of skin damage.
  5. Interference with spray tans: If you’re planning to get a spray tan, it is not advisable to wear concealer or any other makeup. Makeup can interfere with the tanning solution and hinder its proper adherence to your skin.

Can You Still Tan Through Concealer?

Yes, you can still tan through concealer, but there are factors to consider and techniques to achieve an even tan with makeup on.

Factors to consider

Consider these factors when tanning with concealer on:

  1. Makeup Barrier: Concealer can act as a barrier between your skin and the sun, potentially hindering the tanning process.
  2. UV Protection: Many concealers contain SPF for sun protection, which can prevent you from getting an even tan.
  3. Skin Sensitivity: Some people’s skin may be more sensitive to the sun when wearing makeup, leading to a higher risk of sunburn or skin damage.
  4. Quality of Tan: Tanning with makeup on may result in a lower quality tan compared to tanning without any products on your skin.
  5. Spray Tans: Avoid wearing makeup, including concealer, during a spray tan session as it can interfere with proper application and adherence of the tanning solution.

How to achieve a tan with makeup on

Achieving a tan while wearing makeup is possible, but it may not give you the best results. Here are some tips to help you achieve an even tan while wearing makeup:

  1. Choose a lightweight foundation or BB cream with a lower SPF: Opt for a foundation or BB cream that provides minimal sun protection (SPF 15 or below) so that it doesn’t hinder the tanning process.
  2. Use powder products instead of creams: Cream-based products like concealers and blushes can create a barrier on your skin, making it harder for UV rays to penetrate and give you an even tan. Instead, opt for powder-based products.
  3. Apply your makeup lightly: When applying makeup, use a light hand and avoid thick layers that can block UV rays from reaching your skin.
  4. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen: Even if your makeup contains SPF, it’s important to still apply sunscreen underneath to ensure proper sun protection and prevent sunburn.
  5. Take breaks from wearing makeup: To get the best tan possible, consider taking regular breaks from wearing makeup and allowing your skin to be exposed to the sun directly.

The Importance of SPF Protection

Understanding the SPF in makeup products and how it plays a crucial role in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

Understanding the SPF in makeup products

Makeup products, including concealers, often come with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) for sun protection. The SPF indicates the level of protection against harmful UV rays from the sun.

Higher SPF numbers provide more protection. When choosing makeup with SPF, it’s important to consider your skin type and the amount of time you’ll be exposed to the sun. However, it’s worth noting that while makeup can offer some level of sun protection, relying solely on it is not sufficient for long periods of sun exposure or intense outdoor activities.

It is still recommended to use a separate sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and reapply as directed for optimal sun safety.

The role of sunscreen in tanning

Sunscreen plays a crucial role in protecting your skin while tanning. Many makeup products, including foundations and BB creams, contain SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

SPF helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. However, when it comes to achieving an even tan, wearing sunscreen can create challenges.

The protective barrier created by sunscreen may hinder the tanning process and result in uneven coloration or patchiness on the skin.

Tanning Tips with Makeup

Achieve an even tan by applying makeup in thin layers, using a beauty blender or brush for a seamless blend.

Proper application techniques

Achieve an even tan while wearing makeup by following these proper application techniques:

  1. Start with a clean and moisturized face.
  2. Apply a light layer of foundation or BB cream with SPF to protect your skin from UV rays.
  3. Use a powder bronzer or self-tanning lotion on areas you want to enhance the tan, like cheekbones and collarbones.
  4. Blend the bronzer or self-tanner well for a natural-looking tan.
  5. Avoid heavy concealers that may block UV rays and hinder the tanning process.
  6. Opt for waterproof mascara and smudge-resistant eye makeup to prevent streaks caused by sweat or water.
  7. Choose sheer or lightweight lip products to add color without creating a barrier between your lips and the sun.

Choosing makeup products for tanning

To achieve a smooth and even tan while wearing makeup, it is important to choose the right products. Here are some tips to help you select makeup that is suitable for tanning:

  1. Look for lightweight formulas: Opt for lightweight foundations, BB creams, or tinted moisturizers that allow your skin to breathe and won’t feel heavy or clog pores.
  2. Consider coverage: Choose a product with sheer to medium coverage, as heavy coverage may hinder the tanning process. You want your skin to be able to absorb the sun’s rays.
  3. Check the SPF content: While SPF in makeup can offer protection against UV rays, higher SPF levels can create a barrier and reduce the effectiveness of tanning. Aim for products with lower SPF values or consider using a separate sunscreen underneath your makeup.
  4. Go for matte finishes: Matte finishes help prevent excess oiliness and shine that can make your tan appear uneven. Look for powders or setting sprays that offer a matte finish to keep your makeup in place while you tan.
  5. Avoid waterproof formulas: Waterproof mascara and long-lasting products may be great for water activities, but they can also create a barrier on your skin that hinders the tanning process. Opt for regular formulas instead.


While it is possible to tan through concealer, it is not recommended. Makeup can act as a barrier between the skin and the sun, potentially leading to uneven tanning and a lower-quality tan.

It’s best to prioritize sun protection and consider using sunscreen or makeup products with SPF when spending time in the sun.


1. Can you tan through concealer?

Yes, even with the application of makeup such as concealer or foundation, UV rays can still penetrate and stimulate melanin production causing your skin to tan.

2. How does wearing makeup affect my tanning process?

Wearing makeup, including concealer and foundation may lead to uneven tanning due to their barrier properties which could block some of the UV rays from reaching certain parts of your face.

3. Does sunscreen in my makeup work as a sunblock while tanning?

While some makeups have SPF protection factors included, this should not be relied on solely for sun protection during intentional tanning because it may not be sufficient enough to protect against harmful UV rays.

4. What happens when I use a tanning bed with concealers on?

When using a tanning bed with concealer or any other type of makeup applied can result in an uneven tan because these products might act as barriers that limit exposure to the UV radiation produced by the bed.

Can You Tan Through Concealer? 5 Affecting Factors
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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