How to Self-Tan in 3 Easy Steps

Tans are gorgeous, aren’t they?

There’s something about a glowing tan that just projects perfect health and vitality. Unfortunately, to get that beautiful bronze shade, you have to subject yourself to the potentially damaging rays of the sun. Now that isn’t a laughing matter. Add to that the fact that getting an even tan the natural way is almost always an exercise in futility and you wonder why you even bother.

Thankfully though, there is a way to get that golden glow without all the hassle. It’s called a self-tanner and it might just be one of the best beauty aids ever invented.

Of course, there are a lot of terrible stories concerning self-tanning jobs: streaks, dark creases, and the dreaded more-orange-than-tan look. But there’s really an easy way to do it. Here’s how:

Step 1 – Prepare

Being prepared is always half the battle.

1. Choose the right self tanner.

  • Gradual Self-tanning Formula – usually contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and/or Erythrulose that react with amino acids on the skin surface to create a darker shade.
  • Instant Tanning Formula – typically a spray. Results are seen immediately and can last from one day to up to a week depending on the brand.
  • Face Tanning Formula – designed specifically for use on the face.

After picking the formula to use, you need to settle on the actual color. Tip: for fairer skins, stick to light or medium shades. Olive skinned people do better with darker formulas.

2. Shave

Hair can get in the way of applying the self-tanner evenly. So shave or wax before applying the formula, especially if your hair is thick.

3. Exfoliate and Moisturize.

Exfoliating allows the self-tanner to be applied evenly and smoothly. It also ensures your tan will last longer.

After exfoliating, apply some moisturizer to trap the moisture in. Let it absorb before self-tanning.

4. Dry off.

Apply the self-tanning formula only when your skin is completely dry. You also need to pick a place where the temperature is cool enough to keep you from sweating. The sweat will be bad for the application process.

5. Schedule it.

The tanning process could take several hours. Plan your day well.

Step 2 – Apply

After the preparation is done, it’s time to get to work.

  • Put on some latex gloves to protect your hands.
  • Squeeze a small amount of tanning formula on your palm.
  • Apply in broad circular motions.
  • Apply the self-tanner from the ankles going up to the torso. This gives a more natural look.
  • Apply the tanner sparingly on the face and neck as these darken easily.

Additional tips:

  • Wash your hands in soapy water every 5 minutes throughout the process so they won’t get stained.
  • Apply the self-tanner while standing on a plastic tarp or old cover.
  • Avoid missing spots by applying the tanner one body part at a time.
  • Always follow package instructions.
  • Toes, heels and feet sides do not tan naturally, so don’t apply any formula there.
  • Petroleum jelly on eyebrows will ensure the area doesn’t darken too much.

After application, avoid contact at least 15 minutes. DO NOT:

  • get dressed for 30 minutes
  • sweat for the next 3 hours
  • Take a bath or showers for the next 8 hours
  • exfoliate for a few days

Step 3 –Finish

This part is just to ensure you’ve done the job right.

  • Check for any missed spots. Apply extra tanning lotion as needed.
  • Too dark spots? Take a bit of the tanner off by scrubbing in the shower until it fades.

Make the tan last longer by keeping skin moisturized.

That’s it! You have a tan in just 3 easy steps. Have fun!