This is not the first time that we have given an expanded list of self-tanning dos and don’ts. But every now and then, we pick up a few more tips from experts that help our fake tans be the best fake tans we’ve had to date. There’s nothing like a streak-free golden glow to bring us from meh to a great mood, and even more so when we pull off a self-tan the way experts do it.
We have an updated list of things to keep in mind to create your best tan yet, as told by the tanning experts. Keep reading!
Foundations never change: shower and exfoliate.
Our tanning lotion veterans know that having a product with amazing DHA, is recommended by a tanologist, and has given countless ladies and gents their best fake tan ever is hardly ever automatic. The secret has and will always lie with setting the proper canvas.
Just like how food colouring works, self-tanners stain dead skin cells at the skin surface. This may result in uneven patches where the dry areas absorb more product. To prevent this, showering and exfoliating are a must before applying your self-tanner. Use a body scrub of your choice with a body exfoliator — and yes, you have to this even when you are using gradual tanners and tanning drops.
If you need to rid yourself of some body hair, this is also the time to do that. (We’ll talk about shaving more later.)
Moisturise the main areas ONLY.
If you were taught to slather lotion everywhere after drying off from a shower, it’s high time to change your ways.
Experts shared that the only parts you should moisturise before self-tanning are dry areas (palms, ankles, knees, feet, wrists, elbows, etc.) The rest of your skin should be dry and clean, free from any oils or products, in order to get the maximum effect of the self-tanner. Gasp. But it makes full sense.
Also, if you have light hair, make sure to apply moisturiser over your hairline and eyebrows. Instant tanners have an active ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which may give you a sudden dye job that you didn’t ask for. Be meticulous with protecting your brows and scalp for the most professional outcome.
Cover your hands no matter what.
Even if it’s tempting to apply self-tanner with your bare hands (with the expectation that everything will even out anyway), don’t. Your hands are prone to turning orange so always keep them covered. You can use latex gloves but generally, we suggest investing in a good tanning mitt. Tanning mitts are not only designed to keep your palms product-free, but they also ensure a more even application of self-tanning products.
If you really have no option (you ran out of gloves, have no tanning mitt, and need that glow stat), cover your hands with lotion. After applying the self-tanner, thoroughly wash off any product with cleansing soap and a washcloth, making sure to get in those crevices. The washcloth will help exfoliate any product remaining on your skin.
Our recommendation: Bondi Bodz Bundles with Applicator Mitt
Use long even strokes on dry skin.
Don’t go applying self-tanner right after hopping out of the shower. Wait at least 10 minutes so your skin can completely absorb the product. Keep away from steam as well.
Apply product on your tanning mitt and work on one section at a time. Apply the tanner in long, light vertical strokes until the application feels even and smooth. Don’t go crazy when applying product on your face, neck, elbows, hands, knees, ankles, and feet. Apply sparingly to achieve a natural glow.
If you picked a self-tanner with great DHA, it’s likely that you won’t turn orange no matter how much product you apply. Putting too much will stain the keratin in your skin to a certain hue, but using sparse product may create streaks. Put a sufficient amount of self-tanner on your mitt, to a point where your skin feels covered without spreading the product too thinly.
Get rid of the excess.
Keep your faux tan seamless by wiping off excess product on dry area areas around joints. You can use a slight damp paper towel to pick up any remnants around your knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, and feet. Do this thoroughly to keep your color developing evenly in all areas.
Thoroughly wash your hands.
Even if you used a tanning mitt or a latex glove to apply product, always wash your hands post-application to prevent orange hands. You may use your usual soap along with running water to get rid of any product that may have seeped to your palms. Again, nothing says rookie tanner like orange palms.
Let the colour develop.
Here’s where everyone gets confused: how long should you wait before dressing up? What about before taking another shower or applying skincare products?
The golden rule is to wait 20 minutes before putting on your clothes (try to avoid white if you are in a hurry), and at least 12 hours before showering or applying skincare.
Avoid shaving post-application because this will exfoliate dead skin. Your fresh tan will just go down the drain with your shaving cream.
Moisturise and protect your skin from the sun.
To maintain your tan, moisturise daily. The enemy of a fake tan is dry skin, so a religious application of moisturiser is a must.
You can also use a gradual tan moisturiser or tanning drops to touch up your tan every few days.
Lastly, wear sunscreen. Self-tanners don’t provide any SPF, so make sure to slather sunscreen on yourself before heading out the door.
Those are our steps to achieve a seamless glow up from the comfort of your home. Happy glowing!