Since fake-baking is a big no-no (you don’t want skin cancer or wrinkles, do you?) and we don’t all have the time/weather to get a nice natural tan, sunless tanners are the way to go. I’ve experimented with quite a few different formulas and brands and have had plenty of practice applying them. It’s important to make sure you prep beforehand, choose the right formula, apply carefully and moisturize afterwords. Here’s my step-by-step routine of how to apply self tanner.
Step 1: Prep. Before applying the tanner, you want to exfoliate your entire body. Use a body scrub (like Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish) and a loofah to do this. This prevents self tanner from looking splotchy and staining certain areas of dry skin. Pay extra attention to your knees, feet, hands and chest.
Step 2: Choose your formula. Self-tanners are available in lotions, moisturizers, wipes, sprays and more. Moisturizers with self-tanner in them are great for those who want just a hint of color. Lotions and wipes are good for beginners and experts- they are easy to apply. The sprays require a bit more talent- and maybe a partner to help out. For a lotion, try L’oreal Sublime Bronze Pearl Tinted Lotion. For wipes, try these Tanning Towelettes. For a spray, try Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Spray Micro Mist. For a mousse, try St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse.
Step 3. Apply. The best time to apply self-tanner, in my opinion, is at night before bed in a well-light room. Make sure your body is clean of fragrance, lotions and makeup. If you’re using a lotion, invest in some plastic gloves (the cheap kind you can buy anywhere for like $3.00) to prevent staining your hands. Apply the self-tanner is small sections. I always start at my legs and work my way up. Do one leg, then the other, then your stomach, chest, face, arms, etc. Rub the lotion in until you can’t see it anymore and make sure you cover all areas (don’t forget about armpits, feet, fingers and ears- it will show!) Check yourself out in a mirror to make sure you don’t see any splotches or missed areas.
Step 4. Relax and wash. Let yourself air dry for a good 15-30 minutes before doing anything. I usually wait about 20 minutes and then put old pajamas on just in case any tanner rubs off on my clothes. Then I go to sleep and let the tanner absorb for those hours. In the morning, I shower with a scented body wash (like this Olay Body Wash with Shea Butter) to wash off the scent of the tanner. Showering does not make your color fade since a good amount of it already is absorbed into your skin.
Step 5. Moisturize. To keep any type of tan, real or fake, make sure you keep your skin moisturized. Lotion after each shower with a rich formula (like my favorite, Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lotion). There are even special lotions made to extend your tan. Repeat the self-tanning process until you have achieved the color you want.
What are your secret tricks and tips for self tanning?