Self-tanning can be intimidating …and disastrous. Whether you struggle with an even application or can’t seem to avoid the oompa-loompa orange, there’s hope! I want to share a few fool-proof tips that will help you achieve the perfect at-home glow.

My self-tanning journey began in the 7th grade. It was the dead of winter and I wanted nothing more than to be tan. While looking through my Mom’s beauty products, I noticed a small bottle of tanning lotion. Up until this point, I had zero idea that one could tan without the sun – I felt like I had struck gold.

I remember the small yellow bottle clear as day. Without reading the instructions, I squeezed some of the lotion into my hands and rubbed it all over my face. I didn’t look any different. So I did it again. And again. And once more for good measure. Feeling completely let down, I went to bed. The next morning I woke up, and I’m pretty sure I cried.

My blood orange face was so striking, I frightened myself. I washed and scrubbed and did everything in my power to try and return my skin to it’s normal shade, but nothing helped. I was going to have to go to school like this and I was mortified.

Since then, I knew that self-tanning products were not to be played with, and over the years I can confidently say that I’ve mastered the art and I want to share my TOP 7 tanning tips with you today…

First off, I prefer to tan before bed. The entire process is a little uncomfortable, can be stinky, and most systems require you to rinse, so I find doing this before bed, letting the color develop overnight, and then showering first thing in the morning is the easiest method.

  1. SKIN PREP. Before tanning, exfoliate your entire body in the shower. I usually do this in the morning. A bar of soap and an exfoliating mitt works great! If you don’t have a mitt, a body scrub will do just fine (you can make your own using body wash and brown sugar)! I personally do not shave. When the hair follicles are flush with the skin, they’re more likely to fill with tanning product, and you’ll end up with small dark dots – I’ll let you know when it’s OK to shave, keep reading! 😉 Rinse, and dry the skin very well.
  2. MOISTURIZE. When you are completely dry. I’m talking 100%, not a drop of water to be found (wet hair should be tied up or wrapped in a towel), you can start the tanning process. I suggest locking the door and doing this in the buff, it’s the easiest way! If you’re unable to do that, throw on a bathing suit, or old shorts/bra you don’t mind getting dirty! Apply a small amount of lotion to your knees, elbows, palms of your hands/feet, heels, in your nail beds, and between your fingers/toes. These areas tend to be very dry and will soak up more product than the rest of the body. Adding a thin barrier helps regulate the amount of product that’s soaked up.
  3. TIME TO TAN! Pump a generous amount of product onto your tanning mitt – a mitt is the best way to ensure an even application (I LOVE this one), and begin on one of your legs! Work your way up the body. In long, gentle strokes, and circular motions, rub the product into your skin. I usually start with my left leg, move onto my right, hit my stomach and lower back, right arm, left arm, upper back, chest/neck, and then face. Stop only once you feel like you’ve covered every surface!
  4. DRY. This step is crucial. Stay in a cool room, stand in front of a fan, or hit your body with a cool-setting blow dryer until your skin feel pretty dry to the touch. Avoid sitting, or bending your arms and legs. It’s hard to dry 100%, so if after a while you feel some areas are still tacky, use a fluffy brush and dust the skin with a little bit of baby powder.
  5. LOOSE CLOTHES. Find a loose pair of sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty and carefully put them on. Make sure that the band of your pants isn’t too tight, you don’t want the clothes to be too snug around any area. Your clothes are serving as a shield between you and your furniture, sheets, and anything else you may come into contact with!
  6. RINSE & SHAVE. In the morning when the color has developed, shower as normal! I avoid any scrubs or loofahs, but will shave!
  7. MOISTURIZE. The key to making any tan last is moisturizing. Apply a generous amount to your entire body to lock in the color and keep the skin hydrated! Repeat daily.

I recently filmed a video for my YouTube channel sharing one of my new favorite systems and how I tan at home, check it out!

That’s it for my self-tanning tips! I’ve had excellent luck when following these steps properly. Let me know if you have any questions or tricks of your own in the comments below.


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