Get Your Glow On: Steps & Tips for the Perfect Self Tan!

Spring is here, and summer is approaching. We all know what that means. It’s time for shorts, flip flops, and swimsuits. If you’re like me, with fair skin that burns at the thought of stepping into the sunlight, this blog is for you.

Self-tanners really aren’t the enemy! Most of us have had a bad experience with one before.

You rub it on as soon as you buy it and hope for a gorgeous glowing tan, only to realize a few hours later that you look like a streaky Oompa Loompa. From now on, follow these steps before self-tanning.

1.  Don’t try it immediately – Plan on a day about a week away to actually apply your tanner.

2.  Exfoliate – Exfoliating removes all those nasty dead skin cells, creating a smooth, even canvas for your tanner. You should exfoliate once a day for at least a week leading up to the day you plan to tan yourself. Don’t forget your knees, Achilles, and the rough areas on the tops of your toes, as well as elbows and other rough areas you may be planning to tan. If you have sensitive skin, only use an abrasive exfoliant every other day. Use a washcloth or loofah on the days in-between.

3.  Moisturize – Just as important as exfoliating, you want your skin to be hydrated before you lay your tanner down. If your skin is dry, it can create that uneven, patchy look because certain dry areas “suck up” the tanner more than other areas. Again, be sure to really hydrate those knees, ankles, toes, and any other rough areas every day for the week leading up to tanning. Basically, you shouldn’t have a rough patch on you by the end of the week. You can use lotion, body oil, or aloe vera gel!

4.  Shaving – The day before you plan to tan, you can go ahead and shave. You can shave earlier in the week if you want, but you don’t want to shave the day of or the day after tanning. Shaving just before or after you self-tan will remove the top layer of skin, which is where those pigments adhere. Note: Don’t shave anything you wouldn’t normally shave! Just wanted to be clear. 

5.  Tanning – D-Day! It’s tanner time. Exfoliate and moisturize. Slather up your moisturizer on those normally rough areas. I recommend aloe vera gel for all over moisture, with lotion just on the rough areas. Use unscented, basic lotion. Apply Vaseline to your cuticles and nails to protect them from staining.

Now you can apply! I recommend using a mini foam roller or foam mitt to get an even finish. Always apply the tanner on the large areas, like your shins and calves, and use the excess to sweep over your feet and knees.

If you messed up and find streaks later, just exfoliate those areas ASAP. You can always reapply later.

Now paint your toes a hot coral and go rock your (not so sunkissed) tan!

Self-Tanner Recommendations:

I always recommend a gradual tanner. I like the Jergen’s Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer.

If you really want immediate color, go with a foam, spray, or gel. These are all good choices.

  •       Neutrogena Sun Fresh Sunless Foam
  •       Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Mist
  •       Ulta Self-Tanning Gel

Happy glowing & pinning 


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