Tanning is a beautiful way to bring out the natural bronze in your skin. But, before you head outside for some time in the sun, why not try a little self tanner?
This article will give you everything you need to know about self-tanner application and how to make it last longer.
A lot of people are afraid to use self-tanner because they think it’s impossible to apply evenly. This is not true!
Let’s talk about the best ways to apply self-tanner, as well as tips for preventing streaks and splotches.
What are Self Tanners?
Self-tanners can give skin a sun kissed glow without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays or risking burns.
With so many colors and formulas available, you’re bound to find one that suits your skin tone perfectly!
Self-tanners aren’t just for your face either, they’re great on the whole body. They have a lot of benefits over natural sun tanning including being healthier and safer.
Self-tanners are available in both cream and spray formulations that can be applied with or without mitts to ensure even coverage.
You want to make sure you exfoliate before applying your self-tanner, so you don’t have any icky dry patches.
If this happens to you often when applying lotion or cream products, try using a body scrub beforehand.
It’ll buff away all of the dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling silky smooth!
Self-Tanner Application & Tips
If it’s your first time trying out self tanner, you might be nervous about how it will look.
Don’t worry! Let’s discuss how the application should be done.
1. Prepare Your Skin
Make sure you’re exfoliating before applying self-tanner to your skin.
This will help to ensure an even application without any dry patches or streaks, which can happen if you don’t remove all of the dead skin cells from previous tanning sessions .
You should also apply a body lotion after showering and shaving.
In case you have dry skin, you can use an unscented moisturizing lotion to hydrate your body.
Self-tanner works best on smooth and hairless skin, so it’s recommended that you shave prior to applying the product.
This will ensure a streak-free application . Be sure not to apply self tanner immediately after shaving because it can irritate your skin.
Make sure to use a mitt or glove when applying self-tanner so you don’t have any orange palms!
If this happens, just try using a small amount of baby powder on the area and it should fade away in no time .
2. Be Careful When Moisturizing
Don’t moisturize your skin right before applying self-tanner. It’s best to hydrate after you’re finished tanning because the products can cause pilling if applied together.
If ever you do, make sure you don’t use oil-based products.
Self-tanner can get patchy if you moisturize too much, so go easy with the lotion! If your skin is dry or flaking , try using a body scrub to hydrate it before applying self tanner.
Depending on what type of formula you’re using, be careful about certain ingredients that may affect its application.
For example, if you’re using a tanning mousse or lotion , avoid scrubs and other products that contain large grains.
Be sure not to use too much lotion, or it will rub off on your clothes and sheets!
If this happens, don’t fret; you should be able to remove most of the color by washing with a bit of laundry detergent .
3. Waxing and Shaving
It’s recommended that you don’t apply self tanner immediately after shaving or waxing because it can irritate your skin.
If this is happening, try applying lotion to hydrate any dry spots before using self-tanner again.
Self-tanners work best on smooth and hairless skin, so it’s recommended that you shave prior to applying.
If you’re not a fan of shaving regularly , then be sure to use an epilator before tanning! It’ll remove all the hairs from your body for a long lasting glow .
If waxing is more your thing, then try waxing at least 24 hours before applying self-tanner to help prevent any redness or irritation.
4. Apply Self-tanner Properly
- Shake It Up – Shake your self-tanner before using it to ensure even distribution of color.
- Then, once you’re finished applying the product from head to toe , let it dry for a couple hours or overnight.
- Face First – Apply self-tanner to your face first by putting it on the back of one hand and then using a makeup brush, like this, or cotton swab to apply.
- Start with light strokes in an outward motion towards your hairline before gradually moving toward the cheeks, forehead, nose, chin and ears .
- Use and Self Tanner Mitt – Put on a self-tanning mitt , like this one, to make sure your hands and body are protected from stains.
- When applying the product, start at the ankles before moving up each leg . Then you can go back down to apply more color if needed .
- Apply It in Circular Motions – Use circular motions when applying self tanner to ensure an even application.
- Starting from the top of your thighs , move up toward your hips and then to the belly, chest, shoulders and arms .
- Front/Back – Be sure to apply self-tanner evenly on both sides of your body!
- If you’re following a certain pattern like I mentioned above, be mindful not to miss any spots.
5. Let it Dry
Shower Time – After you’ve applied self-tanner to your entire body, wait at least two hours before hopping in the shower.
When you do finally get in though, make sure it’s not super hot or else it’ll take off some of the color! If this does happen, don’t fret; there are plenty of ways to fix it .
Afterwards, wash your hands before getting out of the shower to avoid applying too much soap.
If you do notice some color fading after taking a shower, try using a body scrub or lotion like this one to help hydrate and replenish moisture in dry areas.
While self-tanner is usually super effective at keeping you looking bronze and glowing, it won’t last forever.
If you get too much sun exposure or sweat a ton, then expect to have some color fade.
After at least three days of applying self-tanner daily though, your skin will be significantly tanner than if you were using other products that only require one application!
6. Avoid Moisture
Okay, now that you know how to apply self-tanner properly and effectively, I want to share a few tips about the best way to maintain your tan!
Since self-tanners work by staining dry skin cells, try not to go swimming or get sweaty right after applying.
Instead of jumping in the pool, go for a run , take your dog for an extra long walk, or head to the gym .
If you do accidentally get sweaty when wearing self-tanner though and notice some color fading, then try washing with cool water and keeping moisturized.
Avoid scrubbing at any dry areas in order to prevent streaks!
Different Self-tanner Types
The best thing about self-tanners is that there are so many different types to choose from!
So, whether you’re looking for a gradual tanner or one that’s meant to be used all over your body, there are plenty of options.
Here is a list of some different types:
Self-tanning Mousse – This type of sunless self-tanner is typically easy to apply and dries quickly, making it a great choice for tanning on the go.
Self-Tanning Lotion – This product usually leaves behind a guide color so that you can see where you applied it as well as avoid missing any spots.
It’s also one of the more popular and well-known types of self-tanners.
Self Tanner Spray – This type works by using a special formula to spray color onto your skin, making it perfect for even application on large areas like legs or the entire body .
Self tanning sprays are also super fast to dry , so you can get dressed as soon as possible after application!
Self-Tanning Serum – This type of self-tanner typically goes on clear and is designed to be used on small areas like the face or upper body .
Self Tanner Oil – This type of self-tanner is a great option for those who want to avoid stickiness and streaks .
The color usually disappears as soon as you wash it off , but the good news is that it’s super easy to apply!
Self Tanner Mist – This type is designed for quick application on large areas like the body, making it super convenient .
How Often Should You Apply a Self-tanner?
It may be hard to determine the right amount of time that you should wait between applying self-tanner.
In general though, if your tan appears too light or patchy then try reapplying as soon as possible.
If it’s been a couple days and you’re still happy with how deep your color is, then I would suggest waiting at least a week to apply another coat.
On the other hand, if you notice your tan is looking too dark or orange, then I would suggest waiting at least three days before reapplying.
You can also try using less product in order to lighten it up.
Now that you know how to properly apply self-tanner and maintain your color, you can feel confident sporting a gorgeous bronze glow!