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5 Self-Tan Fails and How to Avoid Them

If you’re new to the self-tanning game or are still navigating your way to getting that perfect glow, we’re here to say that many tanning martyrs have gone before you and sacrificed themselves to know what works. Fortunately for you, you can stand on the shoulders of these self-tanning heroes, and learn from their mistakes without going through them yourself.

Here are five common self-tan fails and how to avoid them.

1. You’re a streak freak.

We can’t stress this enough: behind every successful self-tan is a well executed prep. Do NOT – and we repeat – do NOT skip your pre-tan routine because (1) your tan will go to waste, and (2) you’ll be noticing the questionable parts of your tan throughout the week. Make sure to exfoliate and wax/shave at least 6-24 hours before your glow sesh to give your skin ample time to calm down and for your pores to close. Pile on the moisturiser days before tanning to get your skin fully prepped and ready to absorb that glowing goodness. Slough away at drier-than-most areas to avoid having the tan cling to it, which might make for uneven colouring.

When applying, always start with clean, dry skin that is free from any products such as moisturiser, deodorant, or fragrances. Use a quality tanning mitt to apply the product and do so in long sweeping motions. For trickier areas, use a kabuki brush to make sure those hard to reach areas are covered.

2. Hello, Patch Adams.

A quality tan fade is as much a part of the game as the application process. Patchiness takes place when your glow fades unevenly over the next few days following the application. While the number one priority in avoiding this is still your prep game, we would also be mindful of the aftercare process. Avoid strong soaps and opt for a gentle body wash instead – preferably one that doesn’t contain mineral oil, sulfates (ALS, SLS), and petrolatum.

If you can, avoid removing body hair for a few days. Exfoliate only when your glow starts to fade. Keep your showers short and sweet, and pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Moisturise lavishly, but make sure your moisturiser does not contain the ingredients mentioned above.

Avoid chlorine if you can, but if absolutely necessary, lather on moisturiser to create a barrier between your skin and the water.

3. Orange you glad we can save you from an orange tan?

Have you ever come out of a tanning session looking like a housewife from a catty reality show? An orange tone is one of the most relatable self-tanner fails, and it is caused by (1) too much DHA that your skin tone can handle, (2) just poor DHA quality, (3) leaving a self-tanner on too long.

To get the perfect glow, look for self-tanners that have quality DHA. Our tanning range boasts of 100% natural DHA that not only gives you a non-tangerine tan, but also concerns itself with your skin health. 

4. You have muddy hands.

You can tell someone is a tanning rookie with this common mistake: orange or muddy palms. Not only does it scream “tan in a can”, but it’s also pretty creepy to look at, to be honest. The skin on your palms especially love absorbing self-tanners so make sure that you pick out a quality applicator mitt to go with your glow.

What’s a quality applicator mitt, you say? Make sure that it enables smooth and even application, and is made of a material that does not absorb the product right through to your hands.

5. Hue don’t know your skin tone.

It’s easy to get excited and reaching for the bottle that holds the deepest and most decadent shade, but you’ve got to be real about your skin tone. Choosing a hue that’s way too dark too fast for your skin tone may end up looking unnatural and muddy. Pick out a shade that is closer to your natural complexion and go from there. Believe us when we say that the best tans are the most natural-looking ones, not necessarily the darkest ones.

If you like to err on the safer side, opt for buildable gradual tanning products like Skinsation and the Afterglow Drops. You can also use them as a color guide as to how dark you want to and can go, so that you can pick out a mousse that is closest to that.

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