How To: Self Tanner

April 29, 2010
Being a redhead, I’ve learned that my skin is more sensitive to sunshine than others. Don’t get me wrong, I can tan without transforming into part lobster, but sitting in the sun sans sunscreen is not the brightest idea for a girl like me. But it’s amazing how much better I feel wearing a dress or skirt when I have a good tan—my skin tone looks more even and I swear it has a slimming affect. As I get older, I’m starting to take the adult path when it comes to protecting my skin, which means no more greasing up with Maui Babe, which by the way totally attracts bees, and yes I learned that the hard way. Since I’ve wised up, I’ve learned a few tips on affectively applying self tanner without looking like an umpa lumpa. Some important steps to achieving a natural looking tan at home.

1. Always shower and exfoliate before applying any kind of self tanner. This will help prevent streaking and odd brown spots.

2. Moisturize with a good, thick lotion after exfoliating. I like Jergens Shea Butter lotion best. Make sure to rub in well and let dry. Tip: On a lot of the self tanner bottles it instructs not to use a lotion before, but I find I get less streaks and a more even application when my skin is moisturized.


3. Apply self tanner. Picking a good brand is crucial. Ask for samples if your local store offers them, but find what works best for you. Some options below that are favorites among my girlfriends. My personal top pick is Ultra Dark Self Tan Lotion by Sun. I like to mix a little of my Jergens lotion with it before rubbing it in.
Bare Essentials Faux Tan, St. Tropez Bronzing Mist, Sisley Tanning Spray, Clinic Airbrush Spray, Bobbi Brown Sunless Tanning Gel, Comodynes Self Tanning Towelettes and Sun Dark Tanning Lotion

4. Make sure that you rub in the self tanner—whether it’s a lotion or spray—all over and really well. Don’t let it soak in one area more than the other. Once most of the product is rubbed in brush areas like your ankles, tops of feet and palms, and neck. Tip: start with a small amount and rub in well. You can always go back and make it darker if you want. Streaks form because of too much product soaking in without getting blended in well.

5. Always wash your hands well after applying—nothing looks worse than orange palms. A trick I use is washing with loose, powder detergent. I also have a cuticle brush to clean under and around my finger nails.

6. Make sure to wear black while putting on self tanner and afterwards while it’s soaking in. A light shower and more lotion the next day will even out any suspicious areas.

7. Finally, to maintain a little color thereafter, mix in a dime size amount of self tanner with your daily body lotion. It will leave you with a little sun kissed glow before heading out the door.

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