Tan Lines Make a Stylish Comeback: No Sunburn Required

Achieve the Perfect Sun-Kissed Look Without the Sun Damage

Courtesy of Instagram, @isabellrrose

In a surprising turn, tan lines have made a fashionable comeback—but not in the traditional sunburned sense. Today, getting actual sunburns is widely discouraged due to the known harmful effects of UV exposure. With a heightened awareness of skin health, wearing SPF daily is now a must. Yet, there’s a nostalgic aesthetic appeal to the sun-kissed look and defined tan lines, sparking a new beauty trend that brings this look to life without the damage.


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The trend can be traced back to Kim Kardashian’s Holiday 2023 campaign for her shapewear brand, Skims. Photographed by Nadia Lee Cohen, the campaign channeled the glamour and style of the 1960s, blending winter chic with vintage aesthetics. Kardashian, with striking blonde hair and frosty makeup, was the centerpiece of this playful homage. Particularly noteworthy was her makeup, which featured bright undereyes contrasting with the rest of her complexion, giving the illusion of a ski tan. This clever use of makeup highlighted a nostalgic nod to sun-kissed skin, setting the stage for the trend.


@cocodevile i said what i said #paninipressed #gypsyrose ♬ Panini pressed – Lux

As the seasons changed and summer approached, the trend evolved to fit the warmer months. Makeup artist @isabellrrose took the look to new heights, creating tan lines in the shape of a cross necklace. The creativity demonstrated here has inspired many to experiment with their own versions of faux tan lines.

Courtesy of GQ China

Men have embraced the look as well, as seen in GQ China’s June editorial titled “Heat Stroke.” Model Ye Hao sported a glossy, radiant finish makeup that suggested the sweltering heat of midsummer, complete with t-shirt tan lines reminiscent of a construction worker’s tan. This editorial demonstrated how the trend can be adapted for a rugged, masculine aesthetic, further broadening its appeal.

For those looking to join the trend, achieving the look is relatively simple. Start with a foundation a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. Use precise brushes to create the defined lines and shapes, then apply a lighter shade of concealer to highlight the areas that would naturally remain untanned. Finish with a touch of blush to simulate the extra sunburnt look, and you’ve got a stylish faux tan line effect that’s perfect for summer.


@makeup Tanlines makeup tutorial!😮 @Isa #makeup #fypシ゚viral ♬ 80s summertime sadness – barretoedits

The faux tan line allows individuals to enjoy the aesthetic of sun-kissed skin without the health risks associated with actual sun exposure. As the trend continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how it further integrates into mainstream fashion and beauty, offering a playful homage to the carefree days of summer.

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