A good fake tan is only 25% from the quality of the self tanner you use, and the other 75% is all about the prep work! Before applying self tanner, check out these tips & tricks to help you get a streak-free, sunkissed glow. It's easier than you think!
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I've been a fan of fake tanning for years! I don't want to get wrinkles any sooner than I have to, so I take really good care of my skin to avoid sun damage. (I also don't want to develop skin cancer like my mom!) Because I've been applying self tanners for so long, I think I've gotten pretty good at it. My friends are always asking if I've been hanging out by the pool without them. 🙂
I actually DO spend a lot of my days out by the pool, but I wear SPF 30+ and am careful about not getting too much sun. My real secret to my sunkissed glow is self tanning. Here's my tanning routine, a helpful video, and my best suggestions.
Press the arrow to play or click here to watch on my YouTube channel.
How to Apply Self Tanner
10 Tips & Tricks For a Streak-Free Tan
♡ Take a shower to wash off any lotion or products you already have on, and use a pair of exfoliating gloves to gently scrub away dead skin or rough patches. Tanning lotion absorbs more where you have dry patches, so it's important to get rid of them! Concentrate on areas like your knees, ankles, elbows, and heels. This is also the ideal time to shave any of the areas you typically shave.
♡ Once you're out of the shower, you'll need to dry off thoroughly. I prefer to wait at least 30 minutes before applying tanner, because wet skin may absorb the tanning lotion unevenly.
♡ Moisturize skin LIGHTLY with a mild lotion to ensure the tanner goes on evenly. Concentrate on the areas that tend to get dry and rough the fastest — the knees, ankles, elbows and heels. I like to use EOS Body Lotion (it's got a really great, light formula) or Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair (it's unscented).
♡ Put your hair up before you begin!
♡ Gather your supplies. Obviously you'll need self tanner. I prefer options that come in a tinted mousse formula so you can see where you're applying it and can tell if you've missed any spots. You'll also need a tanning mitt, an old hand towel, and a baggy t-shirt to wear afterwards. (I like to keep an old tee of my dad's as my “tanning shirt”.) It helps if you have a full-length mirror to stand in front of and a friend who can help put lotion on your back.
♡ Work from the bottom up! Start at your feet and be sure to blend well around the ankles and heels. Use the tanning mitt when applying self tanner to prevent staining the palms of your hands. Blend well around the knees and elbows, too.
♡ When applying self tanner to the face, I like to use a buffing brush (or foundation brush). It helps to blend the tanning product into the hairline, ears, and jawline so you won't develop a visible line in that area. Start at the 10:20 minute mark in my video to see exactly how I tan my face.
♡ Hands are usually the most difficult area to tan realistically. They often look fake because the palms are discolored or because they're unevenly colored or have too many untanned areas between the fingers or on the knuckles. I suggest using a buffing brush to add tanner to hands, too. Start at the 9:25 minute mark in my video to see my hand tanning routine.
♡ Once you're finished with the application, you'll want to wear an old loose t-shirt or robe while the product dries. Read the instructions to see how long your particular self tanner requires to “set”. I often leave mine on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
♡ Make sure to wash your makeup brushes afterwards! I like the Real Techniques cleaning kit because has a bumpy tray that really gets up into the brush well and cleans it good.
How Often to Apply Self Tanner?
I apply it once every 4 – 6 days during the summer months when I want to look really tan. To stretch a tan and make it last longer, make sure you moisturize daily. You can also add bronzing powders or lotions to touch it up as the glow starts to fade. You may notice in the video that I use Jergens Natural Glow to moisturize my face, because it builds a slow glow over a 3-day period.
Are Self Tanning Lotions Safe?
Yes. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, self tanners are safe. However, most do not contain sunscreen, so you still need to maintain a daily routine that includes sunscreen application.
Shop the Self Tanner Recommended Products:
Links to Shop
St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse | Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse in Ultra Dark | St. Tropez Tanning Applicator Mitt | Neosporin Ointment | EOS Body Lotion | Jergens Natural Glow | Buffing Foundation Brush | RT Brush Cleaning Palette | EltaMD SPF 30+
I hope you learned how to apply self tanner and found my tips helpful! Always remember to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+. Even though your skin may appear to be tan after applying self tanner…it actually isn't, and you can still burn very easily.