How to Self-tan at Home

Hello Beautiful! Welcome back 🙂 Today let’s get ready for those warm weather days when you want a little healthy glow. This post will help you get it flawless on the first try.

First, let’s talk about the prep work that needs to be done prior to a self tan for the most successful, flawless looking tan. It feels a little fussy at first, but trust me once you find a rhythm that works for you and you get the application down it will go so quickly. Here’s a timeline of things I like to do before I apply a self tanner:

  1. Shave the day before; this will help with exfoliating but I like to do this the day before so that your pores will close a bit and the color will not pool. If shaving causes inflammation for you it gives it a day to calm down.
  2. Take a shower and exfoliate your skin, focusing on areas that are more dry like your collar bone, backs of your arms and legs, elbows, hip bones, knees, and ankles. I like to use a scrub with like this one, it smells so good and is gentle but effective. These exfoliating sponges work really well on those elbows, knees, and ankles. Give yourself an extra 5 minutes in the shower for this step.
  3. Apply lotion to those same dry areas, paying extra attention to your feet.
  4. Gather up what you’ll need: tanner, mitt or gloves, stippling brush, some baby powder, and I like having a fan to help it dry.

Now we’re ready to apply! I tend to start with my legs and work my way up. I find it works really well to start in the middle and work may way out for the most natural look, then blend blend blend. I recently starting using a mitt like this and it works really well for blending.

Once I’m done with my body I will apply some tanner to my face focusing on the outer edges and blend around my ears and neck. I use an inexpensive stippling brush like this to put a bit of tanner on the backs of my hands.

From here I let the tanner dry into my skin before I get dressed. In the areas on my body where skin touches skin, like under my arms, I’ll put a very small dash of baby powder to keep the color from transferring. Usually I’ll hang out under the fan for 5-10 minutes and watch Tik Toks :). Now the color will “develop” on your skin over the next 4-6 hours so it’s important to avoid water splashes and tears. Most of the time I’ll apply right before bed and wear black pajamas so that I know the color will set.

The tanner I am loving the most right now is St. Moriz in dark, I get it at Ulta and it’s affordable. For me, this one works just as well as some of the more expensive brands and it really matches my natural undertones. If you’re naturally fair, I would recommend starting with a medium tone. I love a foam formula like this with a “guide” color that tints your skin. It’s easier to blend and you can see where it’s applying to avoid streaks.

Self tanners work by chemically bonding to your deeper skin levels and unfortunately there is a bit of a smell associated with that process. Keep in mind that it’s temporary while the product sets and some tanners have noticeably less of the smell. I normally notice that fake tan smell while the product is developing, then when you shower off the guide color it drastically reduces the smell. I usually don’t notice it after that first day/night.

When taking showers after tanning be sure to avoid exfoliating sponges and scrubs that will remove that outer layer of skin that the tanner is bonded too. I normally wash with a gentle soap and a soft wash cloth while tanning to preserve the color as long as possible. Applying lotion after showering really helps to preserve the color longer too.
This summer I am loving this lotion, it smells amazing! To extend the life of my color (after shaving, for example) I will use these Isle of Paradise tanning drops mixed in with my lotion, just be sure to wash your hands after applying and remember there’s no guide color so start with a few drops first to build the color gradually and of course, blend blend blend.

When you’re ready to remove your tan or if you start to notice it looking “patchy”, exfoliate really well in the shower with the scrub and sponge again.

Let me know what you think! Next up, let’s chat about bronzer!

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