My (Almost) Foolproof Self-Tanning Routine

Self-tanning. It’s a bit of a controversial topic, honestly. Some think it’s repulsive while others love it for a faux glow to avoid sun damage you get from real tanning. If done properly, I truly think a self-tan is one of the best things ever. It makes you feel incredible about yourself and gives you a boost of confidence so many of us need!

But self-tanner isn’t anything new. Like many other women my age, I grew up using Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. Let me tell you, that stuff stinks. It also stains EVERYTHING! I recently tried the in shower version they launched this year and didn’t hate it but also wasn’t in love. Since then, I decided I wouldn’t give up on my bronzey, golden dreams and I’m happy to say I’ve (almost) mastered self-tanning. So, why not share my newly founded wisdom? Keep reading, babes!

STEP 1: Shower, exfoliate and shave

Before you self-tan, you should be completely clean, exfoliated, and shaved! This step is super important as self-tanner sticks much better and absorbs well into clean, exfoliated skin. If you’re not exfoliated, your self-tanner will appear patchy afterward. Start by showering as you normally would. Then, exfoliate your whole body with either a scrub or exfoliating body wash. After this, shave your legs with a brand new razor in order to get as close of a shave as possible. I love to use Harry’s Razors (more on this soon)!

STEP 2: Apply lotion to ankles, knees, elbows, and hands

I sound like a broken record, but this step is crucial too! Before applying any self-tanner, rub lotion onto your toes, feet, ankles, wrists, hands, elbows, and knees. These places tend to be dry and therefore suck up a lot of self-tanner if you don’t use lotion beforehand. I use Laline’s body cream in the scent coconut verbena because it smells like a tropical vacation and is super, super moisturizing.

STEP 3: Apply self-tanner with a mitt and buffer brush

So, by now I am sure you’re wondering, what kind of self-tanner do I use? Loving Tan’s 2 Hour Express Tanning Mousse in Dark. I have light to medium skin depending on the season and like the natural looking yet deep tan it gives me. I also use an applicator mitt from them and suggest getting it. It makes application practically foolproof!

I like to first start by applying the mousse to my face. I use this RealTechniques one but any makeup brush that works for buffing makeup (or self-tanner in this case) into the skin will work great. Afterward, I do my neck and make my way down my whole body. Beware, you’ll probably need a friend/roommate/significant other to help you with your back! Afterward, I do a second layer if I want to be very dark. For your feet and hands, feel free to use that same makeup brush to get every crease in between.

STEP 4: Wait for tan to dry and develop

This is the worst step, but now it’s time to sit around for two hours and wait for the tan to develop. I usually sit on a towel I don’t care about (even though Loving Tan hasn’t stained anything I own) on the couch and watch TV. Sitting in front of a fan or your air conditioning for the first few minutes helps to dry the self-tanner too. Be sure to set a timer for two hours so you know when to complete the next step!

STEP 5: Rinse off in the shower

Yay! Finally, a golden glow. Rinse off all of the self-tanner you applied in the shower. Gently use your hands to guide the color off your skin when the water hits you. Afterward, pat yourself dry with a towel and apply moisturizer to make your tan last longer. Don’t be alarmed if you wake up with a darker tan. Even though you washed it off, the color develops further 4-10 hours (depending on the product you’re using) after initial application. You may also find the color on your face fades after a few days if you wash it 1-2 times a day. To maintain the color, I love these super concentrated self-tanner drops from Clarins that you add to your facial moisturizer.

What do you think of self-tanning? Can it be foolproof or look natural? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Have a great week, everyone! P.S. If you want to learn more about self-tanning and other great ones, I suggest reading this great article on Into The Gloss here.

Filed In: Beauty

3 thoughts on “My (Almost) Foolproof Self-Tanning Routine

  1. Dannie

    I absolutely love self tanning but I started pretty late in the tanning game. So I legit didn’t know the lotion step! That is possibly the most helpful tip ever! So for real, thank you!

  2. Lex

    I’ve always been one for self tanning! St tropez is my fav! Your tips are such good reminders of how to appropriately self tan cause sometimes I forget the important steps! Xoxo

  3. Grace

    I worked so hard on my tan this summer that I would hate to loose it over the winter, so I’ve been searching for some self tanning products to try. I’ll definitely be looking into these products because I trust whatever you suggest! Thanks girl!


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