I’ve been applying self tanner just about every week for years and years. I feel like I’ve got a pretty fool-proof system down now for achieving an even, long lasting tan! Today I’m sharing all of my tips for getting the perfect tan that will fade evenly and look natural!
I usually use my favorite gradual tanning lotion all over my body every morning after I shower. This gives me a nice consistent glow. About once a week I apply a dark self tanner to my arms, chest, and legs (or all over if it’s swim season). I wrote all about my favorite self tanners in this blog post. Here are all of my secrets for applying the perfect dark (faux) glow…
After a full week of self tanner, my original self tanner starts to fade. Rather than just re-apply more tanner on top of this, I always exfoliate in the shower to have a nice clean base to start with. If I re-apply without removing the old tanner on my skin, the new tanner will be splotchy and rinse off easier. I use these exfoliating gloves in the shower with body wash. I like the gloves because I can really scrub my knees, ankles, or other spots where tanner is a little harder to get off.
DRY YOUR BODY COMPLETELY
I use the towel to exfoliate a bit more and make sure my body is 100% dry everywhere so the tanner will stay on my skin.
APPLY A TAN BOOSTER OR BARRIER CREAM (OPTIONAL)
I usually use this tan booster cream that gives me an even darker tan (no matter what formula tanner I’m using), and it also helps prolong the life of my tan. It feels like a lotion, but is made to go under the tanner, so it doesn’t block any of the tanner from working on my skin. Barrier oils are also helpful. I use this barrier oil spray that smells incredible. I apply it lightly to my knees, ankles, and elbows where my tanner tends to settle if I’m not careful.
USE A QUALITY TANNING MITT
I have gone through a few mitts and may of them weren’t the best quality, so my tan came out uneven or the tanner soaked through the mitt and stained my hands! I highly recommend this tanning mitt. I use it all the time. Make sure to rinse it out with hot water after you are done applying so the tanner doesn’t build up on the mitt!
APPLY IN CIRCLES, NOT STROKES
I’ve seen both directions recommended, but large even circles give me the most evenly distributed tan!
WAIT UNTIL THE END TO DO YOUR KNEES, FEET, ELBOWS, AND TOP OF YOUR HANDS
I always apply my self tanner on my shins/calves, then my thighs, and with what is left remaining on my mitt then I go over my knees, ankles, and feet. I’ve found that it’s very easy to get too much tanner in those spots and having a mitt that isn’t quite so full of tanning solution helps!
LIFT YOUR ARM STRAIGHT UP WHEN DOING AROUND YOUR ARMPIT
The under arm/side-boob area can be a little tricky, but I’ve found it’s easiest to raise my arm straight up and apply the tanner under my arms that way, so it doesn’t settle in random spots and look splotchy.
STOP RIGHT AT THE TOP OF YOUR NECK UNDER YOUR CHIN
I apply my self- tanner all the way up my neck (I do upward strokes on my neck, not circles here). I stop right under my chin and then either match my makeup to my neck with my favorite bronzer, or I apply my favorite face tanning drops to my face moisturiser or my sunscreen to ensure I won’t have any breakouts!
WASH JUST THE PALMS OF YOUR HANDS AND IN BETWEEN FINGERS WITH SOAP
I’m careful not to wash both sides of my hands because I want the tanner to remain on the back of my hands. I always wash my palms and in between my fingers because the tanner can tend to settle there and that’s a dead self-tanning giveaway!
QUICKLY RUB LOTION INTO FEET, ANKLES, WRISTS, AND BACKS OF HANDS
I’ve found that this step is so helpful to get an even tan! My tanner gets darker on my knees and ankles, so I just squirt a small drop of lotion on the top of my foot and rub it around with my other foot. Then I squirt a drop of lotion on my wrist and rub my wrist and backs of my hands together (not palms!). This makes those tricky areas nice and even.
SPEED UP THE DRYING TIME WITH A HOT BLOW DRYER
Speed it up! My favorite tanning mousse dries fast, but a blow dryer is so helpful before putting clothing back on!
WEAR LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING FOR THE NEXT 5-7 HOURS
If I apply self tanner at night, I wear loose jammies (long pants, long sleeves) and socks once everything is dry. This helps keep the tanner transferring to my sheets to a minimum. If it’s during the day I usually apply it on a day where I am home working most of the day and can be in a robe or sweats. I actually prefer to apply my self tanner in the mornings. I’ve found that it doesn’t get rubbed off like it sometimes does on my sheets, and I can make sure it gets nice and dark!
MAINTAINING THE TAN
To help my self tan last as long as possible, I apply my favorite gradual tanner every morning after I shower. This gradual tanner gives me an additional hint of color in addition to hydrating my skin (the drier the skin the faster the tanner fades).
MAINTAINING A TAN ON YOUR FACE AND BACK OF HANDS
These two areas are the fastest fading spots because they get washed multiple times a day. For my hands, I just add a small drop of my gradual tanner to the back of my hands and rub the backs together in the morning as I am applying the gradual tanning lotion to my body.
For my face, I add my favorite face tannings drops in the morning to my moisturizer once or twice a week to make sure my face matches my body. (bronzer is also a quick fix for a tan face. Read more about my favorite bronzers in this tried and true makeup favorites post).
IF YOU ARE SELF TANNING OBSESSED LIKE ME, MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT:
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