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In high school and a bit into college, I was working as a manager at a local tanning salon. I was tanning daily and it was bliss as far as I was concerned. Until I got a bit older and realized how dumb I was being. Not only was I risking skin cancer but I was also going to age myself quicker than I should have and nobody wants to look like that wrinkly, creepy & leather-ed face tan mom, right? Right. That’s when I decided that I needed self tanning tips that weren’t going to one day kill me or my looks. I went from a tanning bed junkie to a self-tan junkie. I traded one for the other because I’ve never been one to embrace my paleness. I like color. I like to have a bit of a bronze, especially in the summer.
Let’s just say this was NOT an easy task! I’ve been orange, streak, dirty looking and stuck with a tan that made me look like an oompa loompa. That’s fun for no one. I wanted to share some of my best self tanning tips with y’all so that you could get that pretty, sun-kissed, touch of color look that you want for summer without turning crazy looking!
Self tanning sprays, lotions and mousse products are among the most popular products to use, thing is you can’t just slap them on and go. It doesn’t work that way and if you do you can bet that you’re going to look like Snooki quicker than you can say Jersey Shore.
BE IN THE KNOW: Read the instructions on whatever product you’re planning to use. Carefully apply a small amount of the product to your body and make sure you’re not going to have an allergic reaction!! I had a reaction to one once that definitely ‘tanned’ me but it came with red bumps everywhere! Test it! Self-Tanners include DHA (a sugar derivative) and some people can and will have a reaction.
EXFOLIATE: Ladies, want a streak free tan? DO THIS. You want to remove all the dead skin cells so that the self tanning product you’re using is actually effective and not going to make you like an orange zebra! Tanning products stick to the outer layer of your skin and if there is an abundance of dry and dead skin that’s going to suck up all of the product and you’re going to be super blotchy! Not cute. Promise. I love this exfoliating mitt and I do this in combination with a scrub and my body wash before I plan to self tan!
MOISTURIZE: Apply a moisturizer a few hours before you’re going to apply your tanner or the night before you are going to get a spray-tan or airbrushed. This softens your skin and it becomes more receptive, therefore making your tan last longer and absorbing it better. PRO TIP: Immediately before tanning apply the moisturizer to parts of your body that tend to be more dry than others as a little barrier to keep the self tanner from getting too crazy there. (knuckles, knees, elbows, toes and ankles)
- If you’re going to get airbrushed or get a spray tan in a booth, wear dark clothing! Same goes for if you’re self tanning at home because with most products you’re usually applying them and wearing it for a full 8 hours to set before rinsing. (If you’ve never self tanned before, when you get to hour 6ish, do NOT be alarmed you will NOT look this cray. It WILL rinse off in the shower, I promise!) Most self tanners are gradual in that they take a few hours to get to the right color and then they get even darker so waiting those 8 hours to rinse is important. I usually self tan or get airbrushed before going to bed so I can just sleep in it. Also, dark sheets are key here too!
- Self tanning tip for at home application, get yourself a mitt like this one or grab some rubber gloves like these so you don’t have crazy hands when you’re finished applying. A lot of people prefer to use their bare hands to evenly apply, I have never had luck with this I prefer a mitt. If you choose that route just make sure to wash your hands really well afterwards! Lemon juice is amazing in removing self tanner so you may need some for your hands!
- Apply evenly, this is a pretty DUH one, right? You’d be surprised at how many people forget to apply tanner behind their ears and back of their neck in places that are usually covered and just un-thought of.
- Just because you’re tan doesn’t mean you don’t need a sunscreen, don’t forget it’s fake and you still need it!
- Streaky mess, grab some lemon juice and a cotton ball and use it to remove darker areas. If you have a bad experience and just want it gone. Don’t be afraid to hop in the shower and grab a loofa and lemon juice and scrub that ish off! This is the same for if you’re wanting to start fresh after you’ve been self-tanning for a few weeks, exfoliate!
- If you’re going to shave or wax before tanning, do this 12-24 hours before applying! This goes for airbrush, spray tan booth and at home applications!
- I did a post last year on my favorite self tanners, be sure to check that out! You can also check out this post on 8 Ways To Fake A Summer Glow!
- You’re probably going to want a separate face tanner and not to just apply whatever you’re using for your body lotion wise. I LOVE this one!
- Avoid wearing deodorant and perfume when applying! And when you are moisturizing later use a lotion without alcohol to prolong the life of your self tan!
- Speed up dry-time with your blow dryer!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SELF TANNING TIPS?