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Self Tanning Made Easy

With summer just around the corner, the perfect accessory to go with that cute bikini and over sized sunglasses is a natural tan. However, UV light from indoor tanning beds are harmful and wreck your skin, while laying out in the sunlight can cause a nasty sunburn. Many salons offer a self tanning service but these can be pricey. The best option for a healthy and natural tan is to apply self-tanner at home.

30 Days of Beauty, Day 11: Get Your Fake Tan On!


There are hundreds of self tanning products to choose from. Lotions are easier to apply but spray cans with a specially built nozzle allow you to rotate the can and apply color to those hard to reach spots. Some products show an immediate kiss of color while others take hours to set in, so decide while shopping if you’d like to see the results as you go. If you are fair-skinned or unsure of how dark you’d like the tan to be, many companies market a gradual tanning lotion that lightly darkens with each use.

To maximize the staying power of a self-tan, take a shower beforehand, shave and exfoliate your skin head to toe.  Exfoliation is key to a good self tan, because it removes dead skin and leave a smooth fresh surface for the product. Becky Sturm from StormSister Spatique provides this exfoliation tip on exfoliating for a healthy glow or as a precursor to self-tanning products:

“Exfoliate with an exfoliating bath or shower wash or scrub 3-4 times a
week and use an exfoliating mitt every other shower or bath. Apply body
moisturizer to skin immediately after each shower or bath.

Do this for a week before using self-tanning products for the softest,
smoothest skin for an even application.  After the self-tanning process has started, exfoliate body every other day and continue to apply body lotion and tanning gel after each exfoliation.”

To start your color, change into an old bikini or underwear that you don’t mind staining. Self tanning can be messy and turn your hands an unsightly dark brown, so make sure to wear gloves or wash your hands with soap immediately afterwards.

Simply start by applying the product to the tops of your feet and work your way upwards. Use a thin layer of the product and lightly rub in, making sure to evenly cover all surface area. When applying tanner to your face, elbows, and knees, mix the product to your favorite lotion as these spots tend to come out darker than the rest. Let the color air-dry for up to a half an hour to ensure that it doesn’t smudge. Try to refrain from bathing or shaving for at least 24 hours as your tan will fade with each wash.

Thinking of getting a professional spray tan? Read our article on Getting the Most From Your Spray Tan

Self Tanning Tips and Tricks

  • From Lisa Acton at Beauty Info Zone: “To keep your self-tanner from staining your clothes or your bedding, just take a big brush and sweep on some body powder. This sets the self-tanner and prevents any laundry ‘oops’.”
  • Emphasize your new tan with the perfect makeup and accessories, Wear a shimmery bronzer and bright eye shadow for a tropical look. Gold and silver jewelry will shine even more brilliantly on tanned skin.
  • White and brightly colored clothing provide a gorgeous contrast and help your tan stand out.
  • Don’t forget a sunscreen when at the beach or pool; you don’t want to ruin that new tan with skin damage or a peeling sunburn.
  • Self-tanning is also a fun activity for a girl’s spa day! Make homemade exfoliants and face masks, then help each other apply self tanner.
  • Your tan should last anywhere from three days to a week. Do a skin test next time you reapply the product as the color will darken with each use. Simply put on a dab of tanner to a discrete area of skin, wait for the product to develop then assess the results. You may need to wait for your original tan to completely fade if you’re not satisfied with the next color.

Favorite Self Tan Products

For an affordable self tan, Laura Yoder: 24-7 Style loves Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Mist, stating: “I was low on cash and couldn’t buy my normal “low-end” self tanner.  I’m not a huge fan of the scent, but it’s not the worst, especially when I’m left with BROWN color.  Goes on super easy, no rubbing or streaking at all!”

At the higher end, the following items are popular and recommended:

The entire Xen-Tan line gets rave reviews from customers.

St Tropez Self Tanning Mousse: This light tanning mousse is often listed by many as the best self tanning product.

Clinique Sun Self: This tinted lotion is easy to apply and provides a natural look.

Tomorrow, Day 12, Whiten and Brighten Your Teeth.

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