Self-tanning can be a pain in the butt, but worth avoiding the tanning bed. Back in high school and college, I would lay in a tanning bed more than I’d like to admit. Now, I opt for an at-home glow without the risk of skin complications. Here’s my favorite self-tanning routine that can be done easily at home.
1. Exfoliate, shave, and exfoliate again
The first step to applying seamless tanner is to thoroughly wash your body. I use a body wash and a harsh loofa to scrub all over my body. I especially like to give special attention to my wrists, ankles, and face. For my face, I use a special facial scrub to avoid any sort of skin reaction. I also like to shave everything off to ensure I have a smooth base.
2. Fully dry off and wait it out
Once you get out of the shower or bath, you want to dry off and wait a little bit before applying tanner. Since you have to set your tanner, you want to avoid any liquid or you may streak. If you washed your hair, I recommend fully drying it before applying tanner. You don’t want your hair to drip down your freshly tanned back.
3. Apply LOTS of lotion to your joints
To prep, apply lots of lotion to your wrists, ankles, elbows, and a little on your face. Lotion helps your tan apply smoother in places that have a lot of crevices. You don’t have to apply lotion to your face, but I do since my skin is a little dryer. If I don’t, I feel like my face is dying from dehydration.
4. Start from the bottom up (+ avoid your face, hands, and feet)
Now, I like to apply my tanner starting with my legs. I do my thighs, then shins, stomach, arms, back, and then my hands, etc. I normally apply one to two pumps of the Loving Tan Ultra Dark tanner to my thighs, one and a half pumps for my shins, two for my stomach, one for each arm, and one for my back. Use a tanning mitt to apply evenly. I’ve been using the Loving Tan one for years.
5. Go back to your face, feet, and hands
Now, I like to go back in to tan my face, hands, and feet with a fluffy makeup brush. I use this Real Techniques brush. I usually apply a fourth of a pump to a half of a pump for each area. I apply the tanner directly to the brush and start buffing it out from my my arm all the way up to my hand. Work your way into blending your tanner into your arm, leg, or neck. For my hands, I like to move around my wrist, and fingers to ensure I get tanner in all the right crevices.
6. Wait more + avoid wearing white
After you apply everything, you want to give it a few minutes to dry. I will walk around my with a big tee or a robe until I don’t feel as sticky. Once I’m good to go, I will dress in all black. I will normally wear black leggings, a black shirt of some sort, and a black jacket if I’m cold. As your tan develops, the excess may rub off on other items; bed sheets, clothes, towels, etc.
7. Shower/rinse off
Each tanners development time differs. I honestly don’t even know how long mine is ~ 8 hours? Regardless, I will normally apply my tanner in the morning, get ready for the day, and wait to shower until the late evening or the next morning. When I rinse off, I don’t do anything different. I wash off my body as per usual with shower gel and a loofa (don’t apply too rough).
8. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
The key to keeping your tan smooth is lotion. When you’re skin’s dry, it will flake off, with your tan on it. To be honest, I don’t apply lotion every time I shower, but more so every other time. My skin isn’t regularly dry, so I apply it when I feel like I need it. To each their own ~ do what works best for you!
9. The take-off
To take off your tan, you exfoliate. If your old tanner is being pesky, you can take a long bath and scrub what you can off once your skin has soaked a little while. There are also products that help the take-off process, but I have yet to try them.
I absolutely love a nice and fresh coat of tanner. And, it’s a lot better for you than laying in a tanning bed. Yet, it can be a little tricky to get the perfect tan if you’re still learning. I hope my process + tips were helpful! As an additional resource, I added my video guide below to show you a visual example.