How to Apply Self Tanner

By Aniela / May 6, 2010

Self-tanner can be a little tricky to use, but it sure beats the risks of tanning beds. So instead of frying your skin or take the risk of getting melanoma, it's best to just use self-tanner and get a beautiful, healthy glow. Unfortunately, self-tanner isn't so easy to apply since it can leave streaks, look too orange, or just flake after a few days. So how to apply self tanner? Follow these tips step-by-step and I'll guarantee you'll have a beautiful glowing tan in less than a week!

self tanning

How to Apply Self Tanner

Step 1: Choose the Right Self-Tanner

top 10 best self tanners for your face and body

There are many self-tanners on the market today, so you need to choose which one is right for you. If you have fair skin, you might want to start with a subtle self-tanner and one that is specifically designed for fair skin. If you're already tanned, it's much easier because you can just use a darker self-tanner and there are less chances that you'll get orange or streaky. Also, if you're strapped for time, go for a self-tanner is spray form…it's much easier and faster to apply.

Step 2: Shave and Exfoliate


This is extremely important as you should never ever apply self-tanner without exfoliating. Exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cells which otherwise if not removed could leave you with flaky skin, orange streaks, and eventually your fake tan will just flake away within 2-3 days. So make sure you use a gentle exfoliator or exfoliating gloves everywhere where you want to apply the self tanner. Pay special attention to rough areas such as knees, elbows, and ankles. After exfoliating, you should also shave if you haven't already waxed. It's much easier for the self-tanner to go on without a hitch if your skin is smooth and free of any hair.

Step 3: Pat Dry and Apply

self tanner

It's best to apply your self-tanner right after getting out of the shower…your skin will absorb it much faster. First, pat your skin dry with a clean towel. If you have very fair skin, I suggest mixing in a little bit of moisturizer with your self-tanner, at least just for the first few days so you avoid going orange. If you're using a cream self-tanner, make sure to rub it into your skin just like you would with a moisturizer until it is well absorbed. Make sure you cover every inch and that you apply it evenly so you can avoid streaks. If you're using a spray self-tanner it's much easier, because you can do your back all by yourself. Just mist a few times and step backwards. Do this 2-3 times to ensure good coverage. Most importantly, make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap after applying it.

Step 4: Wait to Dry

makeup face

After you've applied your self-tanner, make sure you have at least 10 minutes for it to dry. Do not put on any clothes, robes, towel, or whatever you have. Make sure you air dry thoroughly before dressing because it can stain fabrics. Most self-tanners suggest less than 5 minutes but I like to be sure and wait out the full 10 minutes. And there you have it! Repeat this step every day (I like to do this before going to bed…there's more time available) and you should have a beautiful glow in less than a week!

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