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Learn How To Self Tan Properly To Avoid Any Mistakes

How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

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How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

How To Self Tan Summary

  1. Exfoliate & shave, preferably 24 hours before applying self-tanner
  2. Moisture your body at least 2-3 hours before applying self-tanner
  3. Use a mitt and apply self-tanner in a circular motion
  4. Blend at your wrists and ankles
  5. Use face tanning water for your face
  6. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed
  7. Wear loose clothes for 3-4 hours to avoid a blotchy tan

Top Self Tanner Picks

A couple of years ago I discovered self-tanning products. I started with bronzing lotions for a subtle tan because I was pretty scared to actually self-tan. It can be pretty intimidating if you want to self tan for the first time. You might be scared that you mess it up and walk around as an orange or with streaks, or both… No more worries! In this blog post, I’m going to share in detail how to self tan, all the important steps, things you need to know before, during, and after you’re self tanning and the best self-tanners for pale skin. If you’re interested, then please keep on reading! 

How Do Tanning Products Work?

Let’s first start off with the basics before we move on to how to self tan, because how exactly does a tanning lotion, mousse, or spray work? It all comes down to an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. All self-tanners include DHA, which is a simple carbohydrate that reacts with amino acids in the top layer of your skin. This generates pigments called melanoidins that appear brown because they absorb particular light wavelengths.

This process, called the Maillard reaction, starts a couple of hours after application and continues for up to 72 hours. This is why you’ll sometimes notice your self tan keeps darkening over time. This super cool chemical reaction darkens your skin for anywhere from 3 to 10 days. This depends on how much you exfoliate and shower, and the rate you naturally shed dead skin cells. We’re all different. Source: Coco & Eve

Types of Formulas

Self-tanners come in several different forms so there’s an option for everyone. Here are the most common you’ll come across.

  • Lotions: Lotions are a relatively easy, everyday application, but can look streaky easily when not evenly applied.
  • Mousses & Foams: Many prefer using mousse or foam self-tanners because they’re quick-drying and less likely to streak. 
  • Mists: The benefit of a mist is that it’s easier to get even coverage, but isn’t easy to apply yourself.
  • Oils: Oils can give you a really nice glow, but they do take longer to have an effect. 
  • Serums: Similar to oils, serums can give you a deep, bronzy look, but the impact is more subtle. Source: Coco & Eve

Choose The Right Self Tan For You

This is one of the best self tan tips I can give you: choose the self-tanner that best suits you and your desired finish.

  • A classic self-tanning mousse: This is the perfect option for anyone who is nervous or new to tanning. Mousse or foam is lightweight and easy to blend. They develop in 4-8 hours and you can wash them off. A mousse or foam often gives the darkest self tan.
  • A gradual option: Alternatively, a Gradual Tan Lotion or Cream is a great way to slowly build and control the color of your tan. Simply apply it like a moisturizer and it will develop into a subtle bronzey tan. You can then reapply it daily to achieve a darker tan or leave it like that and just reapply it every 1-2 days for your desired finish.
  • The no-rinse/instant tan option: If you’re concerned about leaving your wash-off tan on for too long, or you need a quick tan, you might want to consider a no-rinse or instant tan option. This self tan method doesn’t need to be rinsed off and won’t transfer onto your clothes. Usually, it develops quite quickly too, especially if it’s a 1-Hour Express Tan or Instant Tan. Some of the no-rinse tans will naturally adapt to your skin tone whereas others will not give you much room for adjustments. This is more for the self tan experts in my opinion.

How To Self Tan

Step 1: Exfoliate & Shave

One of the secrets to an even tan is to get rid of any dry skin before application. Applying self tan to dry skin could make the finished result look patchy, which is definitely not the look you’re going for. So giving your skin a good scrub is basically a must!

In addition to exfoliating, it’s also a good idea to shave, if you want to, so your skin is as smooth as possible. If you shave after applying a self-tanner, your tan will fade sooner. If you’re someone who waxes or gets hair-removal treatments, be sure to wait about 24 hours before applying the product so it doesn’t irritate your skin. Before you get out of the shower, change the shower’s temperature to cold. This will close your pores and prevent those annoying dark spots.

Tip: I recommend that you get all of your exfoliation and hair removal done the day before tanning to stop your self-tanner from seeping into your pores. However, if you’re really pushed for time, try and wait at least an hour before applying your tan.

Step 2: Moisturize

The next step to ensuring you get an even base for your self tan is to moisturize. If you’re exfoliating the day before you tan, apply a layer of moisturizer all over your body after showering to avoid any dryness.

If you’ve left it a little late and you’re exfoliating the same day as you tan, only apply moisturizer to the driest places 2 to 3 hours before tanning. Your hands, feet, elbows, and knees to be exact. This helps to prevent your self tan from clinging to these areas for a flawless finish.

Step 3: Apply The Self Tan

When it’s time to tan, make sure you have the right tools. The best way to self tan is with a mitt. Pick out your favorite self-tanner and apply a small amount to your mitt and begin massaging it into your skin, starting with your feet and working your way up. By working your way upward, you’ll avoid the creases that can occur if you put your product on your torso first and then bend over to get your legs. 

Apply your self-tanner in a circular motion, being careful to evenly distribute it and get in all the hard-to-reach places. Use minimal product and a gentler touch in less fleshy areas like your feet, wrists, and neck. When you’re done, remove your mitt and apply just a tiny bit of product onto your hands, being careful not to get any buildup between your fingers or under your nails.

If you feel like you got a bit too much in any area, just blot it gently with a tissue. If you’re worried about self tanning your face, you could use a Gradual Face Tan or a Face Tanning Water, or you could try mixing a little of your self-tanner with your favorite moisturizer to dilute it slightly for a lighter application.

Step 4: Wait For The Magic

If you’re using a developing tan, giving yourself enough time to let the formula do its thing is essential. I’d recommend allowing your tan to dry fully before dressing. When you do get dressed, opt for something loose and dark, and something that’s old/is allowed to get dirty just in case. You don’t want it rubbing against your skin or showing any marks.

If you opt for a wash-off tan, allow it to develop for 4 to 8 hours. Then, wash it off with slightly cooler water than normal, and don’t use scrubs or soaps as these can fade your tan. Simply rinse until the water runs clear, hop back out and gently pat dry with a towel.

Step 5: Make It Last Long

Every few days, lightly exfoliate your skin in the shower to keep it nice and smooth. After exfoliation, pat dry and apply an everyday gradual tanner, if you want to give your tan a little top up.

How To Remove Self Tan

If you want to apply a new, fresh tan after a couple of days it’s best to completely remove the old tan first. The easiest way to do this is to opt for a Self Tan Remover, for example, the Bali Body Self Tan Remover, to remove the old unwanted self tan within minutes. Apply the Self Tan Remover to dry skin using your hands. Leave the product on the skin for at least 5 minutes. Shower with warm water and use an Exfoliating Mitt to completely remove the old tan. 

Tip: if you see some little mishaps you’ve made during self tanning and don’t want to remove your complete tan, grab a cotton pad (or a bamboo pad) and put a little bit of Self Tan Remover on it. Now softly rub on the area where you made the mistake.

5 Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse

Price: $42
Type: Mousse
What Is It: A lightweight, easy-to-apply classic mousse that dries quickly with no self tan smell and an even fade.

What I Like

  • Streak-free, even tan
  • Easy to work with
  • Gorgeously bronzed effect

What I Dislike

  • Expensive
How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

Isle Of Paradise Even Skin Tone Self-Tanning Body Butter

Price: $28
Type: Lotion
What Is It: An ultra-hydrating gradual self-tanning body butter with color-correcting benefits to even tone while leaving skin with an instantly illuminated finish.

What I Like

  • Very hydrating
  • Illuminating finish
  • Easy to apply

What I Dislike

  • Prone to streaks
How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

Tan-Lux Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum

Price: $49
Type: Serum
What Is It: A one-of-a-kind hyaluronic, superfood self-tan serum formulated for daily use soft, smooth, and lightly sunned skin in a bottle.

What I Like

  • Hydrating like a normal serum
  • Subtle, lightly facial tan
  • Not scary to apply

What I Dislike

  • Expensive
How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Face Mist 1 Hour Express

Price: $22
Type: Mist
What Is It: With dual action formula to provide a deep, long-lasting tan, this lightweight self tanning mist will leave you hydrated and glowing with every application.

What I Like

  • Even coverage
  • Long-lasting, even tan
  • Very hydrating

What I Dislike

  • Less control
How To Self Tan,Best Self Tanners For Pale Skin

Bali Body Self Tanning Mousse in Dark

Price: $29.95
Type: Mousse
What Is It: Achieve a flawless, natural-looking tan with our tinted fake tan mousse. Formulated with color guide technology to tailor make the perfect tan for your skin tone. ​Enriched with nourishing oils and 100% natural DHA for smooth, hydrated, and perfectly bronzed skin.

What I Like

  • Very natural, quite dark tan
  • Easy to apply evenly
  • Never orange-looking

What I Dislike

  • You have to moisture or it absorbs in dry areas quickly

FAQ

  • Exfoliate & shave, preferably 24 hours before applying self-tanner
  • Moisture your body at least 2-3 hours before applying self-tanner
  • Use a mitt and apply self-tanner in a circular motion
  • Blend at your wrists and ankles
  • Use face tanning water for your face
  • Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed
  • Wear loose clothes for 3-4 hours to avoid a blotchy tan
  • Exfoliate & shave, preferably 24 hours before applying self-tanner
  • Moisture your body at least 2-3 hours before applying self-tanner
  • Use a mitt and apply self-tanner in a circular motion
  • Blend at your wrists and ankles
  • Use face tanning water for your face
  • Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed
  • Wear loose clothes for 3-4 hours to avoid a blotchy tan

I personally recommend moisturizing before fake tanning, especially if you have dry skin. If you’re not feeling moisturizing, at least moisture dry areas like knees, feet, elbows, and ankles for the best self tan results.

Start with your feet and work your way up. By working your way upward, you’ll avoid the creases that can occur if you put your product on your torso first and then bend over to get your legs. 

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2 Comments

  1. OMG I really want to try the Face Tan Water!! I’ve ordered a few goodies from Bali with a coupon through Ulta and I am SO excited to try them!! 🙂

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