How To Apply Self Tanner Like A Pro

woman in swimsuit using bronze sun cream
Coach Coach

Self tanners: One of the most feared at-home applications known to women and men alike (second only to waxing). Getting an at-home self-tan is tricky and can be a complete disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a skill and process that takes some mastering, but with these tips you can be on your way to getting golden skin without the sun damage or Oompa Loompa look.

What You’ll Need

Important: We recommend applying self-tanner at night at least 48 hours prior to any big event or outing to allow time for error. Avoid doing a self-tan the night before a big event -this can be a disaster if you don’t have time to  correct errors.

Step 1: Buy a High Quality Spray-On Self Tanner

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Spray, $35

This is super important. Not all self-tanners are created equal! Worse, they can stink to high heaven. The only two brands we can recommend with absolute confidence is St. Tropez and Fake Bake. Both of these brands go on evenly and do not smell. It’s worth spending extra to get a high quality self-tanner that will go on smoothly and not turn you orange. Furthermore, a spray self-tan goes on more evenly and easier to use on hard to reach areas like your back.

Step 2: Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate

Get in the shower and use a loofah or wash cloth to thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate every inch of your body. Especially your knees, elbows and feet, where self-tanners tend to stick and look patchy.

Step 3: Use an In-Shower Moisturizer or Oil

Apply a deep moisturizer thoroughly all over your body while still in the shower. Pat skin dry. Now that  you’re properly exfoliated and moisturized, you’re ready to start the application process.

Step 4: Application

Tip: If possible, enlist a trusted friend to help get hard to reach areas like your back.

1. Apply “barrier cream” on your hands, knees, toes, and elbows. You can just use Vaseline if you don’t want to buy a barrier cream. We recommend using a separate gradual face self-tanner for your neck and face, but if you’re doing your face, also apply a barrier cream to eye brows as well.

2. Spray each section separately, starting from your legs upward. Using a tanning mitt, spread the self-tanner evenly across each section, being careful not to over apply on patch-prone areas such as your knees, elbows, feet, and toes. If you’re applying solo, spray your back sparingly, paying special attention to blend your shoulder blade and rib cage area where spray-tanner can get streaky.

3. Next you’ll need to stand around naked for at least 2o minutes while the tanner is setting. This is a good time for naked cooking or catching up on those emails (standing of course). During this time be sure not to sit or touch your body without the mitt on, otherwise you can end up with streaks and tanner all over you hands and under your finger nails. (Not a cute look!)

By morning, your tan should be fully developed. You shouldn’t have any streaks or patches, but if you do, have your self-tanner remover on hand to correct any mistakes.

That’s it! Feel free to comment below and let us know how this guide worked for you.





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