I Tried TikTok’s Fake Tan Lip Liner Hack & It Blew My Mind

On TikTok, self-tanner is the gift that keeps on giving. Faux tan freckles recently took the app by storm, giving the appearance of a youthful, sun-kissed complexion, while applying the product in place of bronzer is used to create a contoured effect that lasts much longer than makeup (and is a much safer alternative to "sunscreen contouring"). Now there's another use for the popular tanning product: temporary lip liner.

What is TikTok's fake tan lip liner hack and why has it gone viral?

TikTok's obsession with plump lips knows no bounds. We've spotted TikTokers filling their lip gloss with chili flakes (definitely not recommended for fear of potential skin reactions) and using cupping tools to boost blood circulation (also not advised, as the skin here is very thin and sensitive). The self-tan lip liner hack, on the other hand, seems a lot safer, cuts a step from your makeup routine, and looks like it really does work.
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The trick consists of taking a thin lip brush, dipping it into a self-tanner of your choice, and carefully painting the formula around the lip line, just as you would trace a lip pencil before applying lipstick. When wiped away after a couple of hours, the tan temporarily changes the color of the outline of the lips, making them seem fuller and more defined for longer. Following with nude lipstick appears to gives lips a pillowy boost. The videos have gone viral, with TikTokers like Tina Prokas and Alexa Almraz leading the trend.
@alexa.almraz

I did this a couple days ago and it still looks really good 10/10 recommend ##faketan ##faketanliner ##lipliner ##fyp

♬ talking to the moon sickmix - Sickickmusic

How do you do TikTok's fake tan lip liner hack and does it work?

I'm a big fan of self-tanner as it transforms my confidence in the summer, so I was intrigued by TikTok's viral lip defining hack. If I have just a couple of minutes to do my makeup, I always reach for lip pencil, which makes me feel a bit more put-together. As a beauty editor, it's my job to try lots of self-tan products, but I always come back to Bondi Sands Aero Aerated Tanning Foam Ultra Dark. It dries quickly and lends skin a truly believable glow without streaks or marks, so I hoped it would work for this.
Immediately after applying self-tanner.
Before removing self-tanner.
After removing self-tanner.
The final result, with lipstick.
I sprayed a tiny amount into the lid and waited for the bubbles to pop before dipping in a very thin, angled makeup brush, tapping off any excess in a bid to keep mess and drips to a minimum. I thought applying the product outside my lip line (as I usually do with pencil) could give me an unwanted clown effect, so I traced ever so slightly inside my lips and let the product dry.
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I have a very unsteady hand and even balancing my elbow on a surface made it tricky to achieve a thin line, so it ended up being a lot thicker than I'd imagined. Still, I continued. The tan ran ever so slightly towards the center of my lips and collected in my creases but, because the product is fast drying, it didn't go absolutely everywhere. I'd suggest leaving your lips free from lip balm or gloss so that the pigment can grasp onto your skin.
In regard to the body, the bottle suggests leaving the tan on for six hours to develop properly, but I got thirsty and hungry so I used a damp cotton pad to wipe away the tan after four hours. The result was subtle, but I can't deny it worked! The outline made it so easy to apply my nude lipstick and the next day, I rolled out of bed looking more glamorous than washed out. So is it the next best thing to semi-permanent lip liner? Yes, I'm calling it.

What are the best lip liner pencils?

If you're into trying self-tan lips, I'd suggest choosing a product suitable for sensitive skin and face, like Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops or St. Tropez Gradual Tan Mousse. Many self-tanner formulas are colorless, but I'd suggest opting for something with a tint so you can see exactly where you're applying the product.
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While the hack is definitely smart, lip liner is a lot easier to apply. In my honest opinion, MAC Cosmetics' best-selling nude lip liners like Spice, Whirl, Cork, Soar, and Stripdown are the creamiest and most pigmented of all, but I also love Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip Definer, which is just as precise; NYX Professional Makeup Lip Liner Pencil, which defines without snagging (and will set you back just $4); and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, which doubles up as a matte lipstick. Not only does lip pencil maximize the shape of lips, but it gives lipstick a base to cling on to for longer — something tan doesn't do — and helps make lipstick application a lot more precise and flawless.
Update 4/28: While sunless tanners containing DHA are FDA-approved for external use on the skin, the chemical should not be applied to areas covered by mucous membranes, including the lips. Exercise caution by only using self-tanner outside of the lip line. If at any point you experience irritation or discomfort, stop use immediately and consult a physician.
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