Everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about self-tanner and how to use it.

I’ve definitely tried more self-tanners than the average person. I’ve been obsessed with getting that glow-in-a-bottle since high school. By this point, I have pretty much perfected the art of self-tanner application and maintenance and now here I am sharing it with you.

“Why don’t you just go tan in the sun?”  Um – skin cancer, sun spots, wrinkles?! No thanks!

Before we start let’s debunk a quick myth: self-tanner will not make you look like a pumpkin. And if you apply and take care of it properly I promise you won’t look blotchy. Read and learn future bronze goddesses…

Step 1:
Take a hot shower, exfoliate all over, and shave/wax your unwanted hair.

Step 2:
Dry yourself completely.

Step 3:
Protect your hand from turning brown! Wear a mitt or glove to apply your tanner of choice. If you’re using a mousse tanner (my personal favorite type of tanner) you should use a mitt. If you’re using a lotion you should be using a plastic glove (you can buy them in bulk at the grocery store – nothing fancy required). Also, don’t forget to tie up your hair in a tight bun and clip any stray hairs that might be touching your neck.

Step 4:
Squeeze a generous amount of self-tanner in your mitt/glove and apply starting with your legs, moving on to your torso, then chest and neck, then your back, and finally your arms. Take off your application glove and place it on your other hand to apply a thin layer on the back of your covered hand.

Try to apply it evenly but don’t worry if it seems like you have more self-tanner on one area than another – the most important thing is that you take care not to miss any spots (if you don’t think you can reach your whole back consider asking someone – sometimes I get my boyfriend to do mine!)

Tip: whether you’re using a circular motion or a linear motion to apply your tanner will often depend on the tanner you’re using – the only important thing to remember is there’s no reason to rub, just glide your hand across your skin as you would with regular body lotion or sunscreen.

Step 5:
Stand around naked for at least 5 minutes to let your self-tanner dry.

Step 6 (optional):
If you’re nervous about your tanner looking blotchy you can apply regular body lotion on top of it after it has dried for 5 minutes, this can really help even the tone out especially in spots like your hands, feet, knees, and elbows. Don’t forget to wash your hands again after.

Step 7:
Put on some loose clothes and don’t shower for at least 7 hours.

Step 8:
Enjoy your glow!

Self-tanner Tips & Tricks:

  • If you don’t want to buy a special self-tanner for your face, simply mix in some of your body tanner with regular face moisturizer – you can use your hand to mix and apply, just don’t forget to wash them with soap after.
  • If you feel like your self-tanner is not quite even, a second application can often help even out anything you miss.
  • Don’t start off with a dark self-tanner – use a medium tone and gradually build your color up with regular usage. Once reaching your desired color – use self-tanner twice a week to maintain it.

Have a favorite self-tanner or application technique? Let us know below!