I can’t tell you how long I have been self-tanning for. From special occasions and photo shoots to everyday wear, I almost always have some kind of self-tanner on. I have never been able to get my legs to tan naturally. For some reason, they are the only part on my body that just don’t like the sun. I suppose this isn’t a bad thing because now I have just become accustomed to using self-tanning products all over my body which means less sun exposure!
Self tanning can seem daunting for a newbie. There are quite a few steps you should take to ensure a streak-free and bronze tan. Read below for my tips on how to apply self-tanner.
Step 1: Purchase Self-Tanner
I have tried many self-tanning products. I have a few favourites that I want to share with you girls! My number one at the moment is the Loving Tan 2 Hour Express Dark. I can’t even begin to tell you how many compliments I have had since I started using it a couple of months ago. The main reason I tried it was because I hate the smell of self-tanning products and the reviews were really good. Unfortunately, the main ingredient to help you tan is the culprit of the strong smell. I will say that this one is the least strong I have tried thus far! My absolute favourite for an instant glow is Vita Liberata Body Blur in Latte. It’s like makeup for your legs. I promise you will love it! For the face, you HAVE to get the Face Tan-Luxe illuminating drops. All you do is put three-five drops mixed in with your light moisturizer at night and you will wake up looking like you were just in Hawaii!
Step 2: Prep the night before
Shower, shave, and exfoliate. When you take a warm/hot shower your pores open up, so make sure you do this the night before you apply your self-tanner. You don’t want to have brown spots all over your legs because self-tanner gets stuck in there, that isn’t a cute look. Exfoliate with a mitt or loofa and a sugar scrub [anything without oil in it because oil will cause the tan not to absorb.]
Step 3: Moisturize
Right before application, apply a thick layer of lotion from your wrist down to your finger tips on the inside of your palm. Put a little on your knees, knuckles, toes, elbows, and ankles as well. These areas tend to be dry and can cause an uneven tan. My favourite is Hempz as it does not contain oils and it will ensure your tan lasts!
Step 4: Use a Tanning Mitt
This is SO important. My hubby decided to put self tanner on himself while we were in Vegas… little did he know he would wake up with brown hands. It was actually hilarious but obviously we are trying to avoid this. My favourite mitt is the Loving Tan one because its a lot softer than most and it blends the tan in well.
Step 5: Apply in Sections
I like to start from the bottom and work my way up. I start with my legs , then move to my upper body, arms, and then I get my hubby to do my back. Gently massage the tan in circular motions so you don’t miss a spot. This is how I do it, but you can do whatever you find works best for you!
Tip: When putting the tan on your hands, make sure you bend your fingers back and forth. The creases on your knuckles will be white if you miss them and that’s the first giveaway of your fake tan.
Step 6: Wash Your Hands
This is the most crucial part of the whole process [I think my husband would agree!] Even if you use a mitt there can sometimes be excess tan on your hands and you don’t want orangey-brown hands once the tan has processed. You can use any kind of soap but if you have something that is a non-oil based exfoliant, that is best to help scrub the tan away. Be careful not to wash the top of your hands or the tan will wash off and you’ll have a surprise the next day!
Step 7: Drying
By the time I am done putting the self-tanner on and washing my hands, I am usually dry. If not, it really only takes about five minutes and you’re good to go!
Tip: If you want to dry quicker, use a blow dryer on medium heat!
Step 8: Clothing and Bed Sheets
If you are using a self-tanner that has a bronzer in it [which I like because you can see where you are putting it so you don’t miss a spot] make sure you are wearing dark clothes after application. The bronzer will stain any light clothing you are wearing as well as bed sheets or duvet covers. The majority of this will come out in the wash but it’s something to be aware of. I haven’t noticed the Loving Tan staining anything yet and I have been using it for over a year now.
Step 9: Waiting Game
Depending on the self-tanner you use, you will have to wait anywhere from 2-12 hours to see the results. I always put my tan on before bed so it processes over night.
Step 10: Shower & Moisturize
Yay, you’ve finally made it to the end and you are glowing! For your first shower don’t use soap -this is really just a rinse cycle. Do not exfoliate, use a loofa, or scrub on your body as this will remove the self-tanner from your skin. Simply rinse off the excess bronzer and pat dry off and moisturize.
Tip: Be careful when choosing your moisturizer –you don’t want one with oil in it because this will break down your tan. My go-to moisturizer is Hempz and it smells amazing, too!
That Sun-kissed Glow
If you want a fresh, just back from a beach vacay glow, follow these steps and you will have a beautiful tan without those harmful UV rays that lasts!