If our fairy godmother could grant us one beauty wish, we would ask for self-tanners to last forever. We live in a day and age where thankfully, we’ve come a long way from fake orange tans – now we just need to work on extending our glow time.
Until that fateful day comes, here are some of our hacks for keeping your glow on longer:
Never skip your prep work
As tempting as it is to go straight to the glow part, a great self-tan can never be achieved without laying the proper foundations. Wax or shave at least 12-24 hours before to provide an even canvas for an even tan without skin irritation. This will also allow time for your pores to close to avoid little tan dots where the product may have pooled. Experiment between waxing and shaving to see which one works with your self-tanning product best.
If there’s anything self-tanners love to cling to, it’s dry skin. Make sure you exfoliate thoroughly before tanning, focusing on typically dry areas such as your elbows, knees, and heels. Do this at least six hours before applying a self-tanner.
Start with clean skin
If your day doesn’t feel complete without your usual skincare routine, you may need to hold out a bit for this. Self-tanners work best on clean, product-free skin, so you’ll have to hold off on your usual deodorant, moisturiser, perfume, etc. Make sure your skin is also free from natural body oils – in other words, don’t skip out on showering. If you’re tanning right after a shower, give your skin a blast of cold water to shrink your pores before stepping out.
If there are areas in your body that are extremely dry, go ahead and apply moisturiser. Just make sure not to go too crazy on the amount.
Invest in good tools
Investing in a quality tanning mitt will make all the difference in achieving an even, streak-free self-tan – that means your tan will fade more naturally versus having white patches show up quicker from a patchy rush job.
Use your tanning mitt to create sweeping motions on your body. For harder to reach areas, go ahead and use a kabuki brush to make sure all areas are well covered.
Cut down on shower time and bring out your fluffiest towels
Your first shower matters more than you think. Get your shower down to a nice tepid temperature (since hot water will stop the tanning agent from developing) and try to keep it short and sweet. Avoid hot showers to keep your skin from drying out and removing some of the color. Finish off by patting dry with a soft towel. Don’t rub!
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
After holding back on moisturising pre-tan, now is the time to let loose. Make sure you give your skin a lot of hydrated love by slathering on some moisturiser at least once a day. We recommend moisturising right after showering, preferably when your skin is still a little damp. Whip out your favourite body oils and go to town. To have a bit of both worlds, we recommend the Afterglow drops mixed in with your favourite lotion.
Don’t skip out on exfoliating
When prolonging a self-tan, the most counterintuitive hack is probably exfoliating. More than preserving your tan, think of this step as helping your tan exit more gracefully – meaning your glow will fade away naturally and evenly, instead of an obvious splotchy fade, which makes the fade more bearable and easier to get away with. Exfoliate a few days after tanning, then follow up with another sesh every three days.
Strategize your shaving
Just as we don’t encourage exfoliating right after tanning, getting a shave in will also scrape off some of those faux pigments. For non-waxers, having those strands poke out just a day or two after isn’t uncommon – and believe us when we say we feel you. It all boils down to choosing the lesser evil: would you rather risk a quicker fade or live with a bit of body stubble for a few days? The choice is yours.
If you do decide to go through with it, try to wait at least 24 hours post-tan. Use a fresh razor, apply a thin layer of moisturizer, and defuzz by applying light pressure against the skin.
Avoid chlorine at all costs
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – you will have to skip out on pool day. Showering is one thing, but having chlorine break down your tan is another. If you absolutely must, slather moisturiser on your skin to create a layer between the water and your skin.