A Fool-proof Guide to Self-tanner

sun lounge lady

Even for fair-skinned women, you can look like the bronzed goddess you know you are without risking skin cancer from baking in the sun’s rays all summer.

This season, sport a faux glow that looks totally natural with this helpful guide to applying self-tanner. Never self-tanned before? Never fear; even novices can look bronzed and beautiful with this guide.


Before you apply self-tanner you need to prep your skin so the product goes on smoothly and evenly without leaving those nasty orange streaks.

1. Get Clean –Take a shower or bath to help prep your skin. Use a gentle body wash or soap, and avoid products that dry out the skin.

2. Shave — Self-tanner adheres better to skin that has been freshly washed and shaved, so shave your legs before applying self-tanner.

3. Exfoliate — Many people skip exfoliating, but it is arguably the most important step in the self-tanning process. Use an exfoliating brush or scrub to get rid of dead, dry skin and concentrate your efforts on elbows, knees, and other areas where self-tanner has a hard time penetrating.

4. Rinse and Dry — Make sure you rinse and dry off completely before applying the product. I recommend waiting at least 15 minutes after a shower before using self-tanner.


Once you’ve prepped your skin, it’s time to obtain your faux glow! To avoid tanning the palms of your hands, I recommend buying a pair of plastic gloves to use when applying self-tanner. It’s not necessary, but it’s definitely easier than washing your hands every 5 minutes to make sure you aren’t sporting tanned palms!

When you start, start with the tops of your feet and work your way up your body from there. Apply a small amount of the product and rub the self-tanner into your body until it’s no longer visible. Don’t allow the tanner to sit on top of the skin; make sure you rub it in completely so there’s no visible product left.

Only work on small sections at a time rather than one large section. This will take longer, but the extra time is well worth it because you are less likely to miss a spot.

Continue working on small areas at a time. Apply less self-tanner to ankles, knees, elbows, or anywhere your skin creases, and make sure you rub it in completely to avoid any coming off and ruining your tan.

After you’ve finished applying your tanner, you need to avoid putting on any clothes or sitting on anything that can stain before the product has completely dried. Wait about 45 minutes before dressing.

Most self-tanners take about 1 to 3 hours to develop color, so wait at least three hours before judging the effectiveness of your tan. If the color is too light after three hours, repeat the steps above until you get the desired color.

Applying self-tanner doesn’t have to be a difficult process, especially if you take the time to properly prepare and apply it correctly with the steps above. With a little effort and time, you have have a gorgeous faux glow without basking in the summer sun!

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