Okey dokey you guys, today we’re going to shift gears a bit and talk about self tanning. If you’re like me, you’ve probably read countless blog posts and articles that recommend using this self tanner or that self tanner, telling you to exfoliate, and reminding you to use a mitt. All of this is true, so those articles and blog posts definitely helped me get started on my journey with self tanning (this is deep stuff here you guys, ha!) BUT… those are just the basics.
Sooo, I thought that I would share some self tanning tips in a bit more detail and give you some tips to a) avoid self tanning mistakes and b) fix self tanning mistakes. Because in total honesty, you’re probably going to have a mistake or two in the beginning. 🙂 I speak from experience and I’ll show some embarrassing pictures to prove it, haha! It just takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you do it’s smooth sailing as long as you’re meticulous!
So, let’s talk about 9 tips for a good tan using self tanner-start to finish!
Tip 1: Find the right self tanner for you
Everyone’s skin is different-from your skin type to your skin tone. Not all skin is equal and not all self tanner is equal! This will likely take some experimenting. I tried two different brands of self tanner before landing on Neutrogena’s Build a Tan Lotion. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the other brands I used, they just weren’t for me. Because the colors of the other self tanners didn’t match my skin tone, it was really obvious that my tan was fake. Neutrogena is the most natural looking self tan I’ve had!
Another thing to consider is if you want to use a self tanning spray or lotion. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t even try a spray or a mist because I’m unbelievable clumsy and knew I’d turn our bathroom orange… that or end up looking Ross in that episode of Friends. Hahaha!
The last thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing your self tanner is that (as much as I truly appreciate brand loyalty)… you don’t have to use the same brand for everything. So for me, I use Neutrogena for my body but I use the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Face Cream for my face. St. Tropez was the first self tanner that I used and, even though I didn’t stick with it for my body, I really liked their face cream! I have really sensitive skin and it didn’t break me out and the color on my face was very minimal and natural looking. So I didn’t want to mess with a good thing there.
Tip 2: Exfoliate
Like I mentioned before, everyone will tell you to exfoliate before self tanning. Listen to them! I didn’t do that at first because I was lazy. So I learned the hard way that it makes a biiiig difference in the evenness of your tan! I prefer to exfoliate by body brushing (dry brushing) because of all of the added benefits of body brushing (I use this one). That’s another talk for another day, but you should look into if you’re interested! 🙂
Tip 4: Use a mitt
Again, listen when people tell you to use a mitt! I actually never self tanned without using a mitt… besides the one time I tried self tanner in high school… but that doesn’t count because I thought you could just slap the stuff on like regular lotion and voila! You may be surprised to find out that it doesn’t work that way, haha! BUT, based on my high school experience, I can tell you that your hands absorb self tanner like crazy so you’re going to want to protect them from it as much as you can!
Besides protecting your hands, using a mitt actually helps you achieve a more even tan. But the key here is that you have to take your time. I usually put the lotion directly on my body and then massage it in slowly with the mitt. This helps you to not get too much lotion in one area. The only exception to this is for my back. For my back, I put the lotion onto the mitt first and then massage the lotion onto my back. Make sure you apply in a circular motion rather than long up and down swipes.
Tip 4: Avoid darker wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles
I read a lot of blogs that told me to simply “gently apply” to those areas. That may work for some people but it did not work for me! So here’s what I do to avoid those areas getting dark and splotchy.
- Don’t apply the self tanner to those areas until you’re finished. For example, if I’m putting the tanner on my leg, I apply it to my entire leg but not to my knee or ankle. When I’m finished with my leg, the mitt will have a bit of leftover tanner on it so I gently wipe over my knee and ankle (all the way onto the foot).
- Apply your regular moisturizer to those areas before the self tanner dries. I do this when I’m completely finished with my entire body so that the self tanning lotion can sink in a little bit. But you don’t want the self tanner to completely dry because the regular moisturizer helps blend the tanner from these tricky spots to the rest of your body. If the self tanner is dry when you do this it can’t be blended and won’t be effective.
Tip 5: Avoid splotchiness
To avoid splotchiness while you’re building your tan, moisturize on your off days. Self tanning lotion doesn’t moisturize your skin the way a normal moisturizer does so you have to keep your skin hydrated. What worked for me was to use self tanner two nights in a row and then use moisturizer for one night.
Don’t use too much self tanning lotion. If you use too much, it’s really difficult to massage into your skin evenly. When you can’t evenly apply the tanning lotion, you are more prone to splotches.
Tip 6: Maintain your tan
Once you get your tan to your desired darkness, all you have to do is to keep your skin hydrated and keep an eye on your color. Put yourself tanner to the side and moisturize each day like normal. When you notice some fading in your color (I usually notice really subtle splotches), pull your tanner back out and use that in lieu of your regular moisturizer. I usually only have to apply once to even back out and then go back to my regular moisturizer. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now that the color of my tan is where I want it to be, I generally moisturize 2-3 days in a row, apply self tanner one day, and repeat the cycle. So, for the most part, I’m only using self tanner twice a week. If you stay on top of it, you should only need to reapply to keep your tan even-not to build your color. Maintaining the evenness of your tan naturally maintains the color of it!
Tip 7: Let the self tanner dry before getting dressed
There are a couple of reasons to let the self tanner dry before you get dressed! First, it can effect the evenness of your tan. If you put a t-shirt on before the tanner has completely soaked into your skin, the self tanner could rub off of your skin and onto your shirt. Not only could that cause your tan to be uneven, but it could (and most likely will) stain your clothes. The purpose of self tanner is to change the color of your skin, so it only makes sense that it would stain your clothes as well.
The best way to avoid ruining any clothing besides letting the tanner dry prior to getting dressed is to wear dark or old clothes. I prefer to apply my self tanner at night so I can wear old pajamas and not risk staining any of my good clothes! Plus, if you hop in bed after applying your self tanner instead of moving around all day, there’s less abrasion on your skin which will help your color last longer and stay more even!
Tip 8: Fix dark spots
Fixing dark spots is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is exfoliate the dark spots while they’re wet. Be sure not to rub too hard and irritate your skin or end up causing the reverse issue and making the spot lighter than the rest of your body.
Fixing dark spots got so much easier when I discovered the St. Tropez Build Up Remover Mitt. It makes it so easy to remove excess build up without irritating your skin! You don’t have to apply hardly any pressure! It also makes it much easier to tackle really small spots.
Tip 9: Fix splotches
The easiest way to fix splotches is to take a small amount of self tanner and apply it to the splotch or the area that’s lighter than the rest of your skin. Then, just like in tip 4, take your regular moisturizer and put it over where you applied the self tanner to blend it in.
I hope this helped some of you guys out! I know I wish I had been able to find this information all in one place before I ran into some of the issues I did! Thanks for stopping by today and happy self tanning! And if you’re sun tanning… don’t forget that SPF! 😀