Self-tanning lotions and sprays are a safer alternative to baking your skin in the sun in the quest for a deep tan. The sun’s vitamin D is amazing for your skin but can also be dangerous if not taken seriously, causing melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Using self-tanning lotions can be tricky for all from the first-timer to the seasoned tanner but when applied correctly fake tan can give your skin a gorgeous, natural-looking glow without the unnecessary risk UV rays provide.
Check out a step by step guide of how to apply self-tanning lotion from prep to aftercare below and happy tanning!
Materials Self Tanning Lotion
Tanning Gloves or Mitts (optional)
1. Choose the right tanning option for you
Choosing a self-tanning lotion can be daunting if the process is new to your beauty regime and knowing your skin will help you to make the best choice.
Think about how your skin usually reacts to products and choose accordingly. There are a number of organic tanning brands like Eco Tan on the market made from natural ingredients that are kind to skin and still give you a great tan. If you’re new to tanning, doing a small patch test with a cotton bud is highly recommended, especially for sensitive skin types.
It is also important to get the right shade of tan for you. Even if you want a really deep tan, work up to it gradually to give yourself a natural glow rather than a tanning disaster.
Exfoliating gets rid of layers of dead skin cells that build up on your skin everyday and has been known to increase your health. Simply take an exfoliating scrub and rub it in with a loofah or exfoliating gloves in the shower, then wash it away.
The best time to exfoliate is in the morning as your skin repairs throughout the day and rebuilds while you sleep. Doing this a day or two before you start your tanning process will stop the product building up on your skin therefore making your tan last longer and your skin softer.
3. Prep your skin
Before you start applying your tanning lotion make sure you pay attention to your skin to get the best out of the product you are using. Shave off any unwanted hair as shaving over fake tan can cause a flakiness in the colour. If you usually wax, remember that tanning 24 hours before or after a wax is not recommended.
Moisturising is key to getting a beautiful tan. Some people like to moisturise a few hours earlier and some right before, it is a personal thing and very much down to your skin type. An aloe vera based moisturiser works well with tanning agents. When moisturising it is also important to pay attention to dry areas such as elbows, knees and ankles.
Once you’re totally smooth and ready to go, take some coconut oil or petroleum based product like Vaseline and swipe it across your eyebrows, hairline and nail cuticles to prevent odd splotches of the tan taking in the wrong spots.
4. Get an even cover
Firstly, put on some gloves or tanning mitts and make sure that your skin is dry before you start applying your tanning lotion. There is a variety of ways to apply your tan and again it’s mainly personal choice. Start with your face and head, paying attention to your neck and ears then start working on your legs and feet keeping an eye on dry areas. Once this is done, apply the lotion to your stomach, chest, shoulders and arms before you tackle your back with a strap or band if there is no-one to help you out.
5. Wait it out
Once your tanning lotion has been applied wait at least an hour before you get dressed and don’t mess it up by putting on tight clothes! Wearing something light and flowing is fine, or just get into bed after a few hours. Tanning lotions usually take 8-12 hours before the full effects of the tan are apparent, so waiting it out is the better option for a natural looking tan.
6. Wipe away the excess
After a couple of hours you should start to see results as the product starts to take effect on your skin. Check for any missed spots, blotches or streaks and rub a small amount of lotion to any bare areas. Be sure to take it easy on the lotion the second time around and remember to blend it in well so it makes your tan look natural.
It’s also important to remember that although you can see results, it will take a long time before the full extent of the product will show on your skin, so don’t add another coat of lotion until at least 12 hours have passed. If there are blotches or mistakes and you’re not happy with the results there are ways to remove some of the tan, such as scrubbing the marks in the shower or dabbing a tissue in lemon juice and applying to the darkened area.
7. Wash your hands!
Tanning lotion changes the colour of your skin and nobody wants bright orange hands, the ultimate tell-tale fake tan sign. Be sure to wash your hands after applying self-tanning lotion or spray and if you choose to apply it without gloves or a tanning mitt make time to wash your hands every five minutes throughout the process.
8. Speed up the drying process
It can be a pain to have to stand John Wayne style to avoid contact with anything while your tanning lotion dries, but the best results will come from an undisturbed tan. You can speed up the process by using a trusty hairdryer. Just apply heat to your skin from a reasonable distance and see the results, but be aware the longer the tan takes to dry the deeper the colour will turn out.