How To Get The Perfect Fake Tan

Sun exposure raises the risk of skin cancer–including melanoma. Everyone, regardless of how dark you get when soaking up rays, should always use sunscreen and protect their skin from damage (and premature wrinkles!).

So if you want to avoid these dangers or just do not get out in the sun that much–try starting a relationship with self-tanners. I first began slathering on the funky-smelling orange goo in sixth grade due to my ultra-fair complexion and since then have learned a thing or two about getting the perfect fake tan. Read on to learn my top fake tanning tips and tricks.

1. Grab A Glove

I personally do not have a problem with people knowing I fake tan. Hey–I was three shades lighter yesterday! But even if you are fine with your tan being blatantly from a bottle–no one wants their palms stained orange for the next week. Buy a trusty application mitt. This will not only keep your hands from getting stained but will also make your tan application quicker and more even.

2. Circles!

This one is pretty basic but super important. Apply your product in small circular motions–like you are sudsing up a car. Smaller circles around your knees, elbows, wrists and ankles and slightly larger everywhere else. Be sure to go back over each area a few times without more product just to make sure everything is spread out evenly. These circular motions will help your skin absorb the lotion faster as well as will avoid blatant streaks down your limbs if you miss a spot.


3. Pay Attention To Undertones

There are seemingly endless options when picking your at-home tan. One way to narrow it down is by the tan’s undertones. It may take awhile to find your perfect match but it will be worth it. Learn your own undertones and pay attention to how the tan appears during your initial application as well as while it is fading–do you look normal or a little strange? This is due to either a good or bad match. For example: if you have pink undertones avoid St. Tropez–their products have deeply olive undertones.

4. Go Vegan

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and you want to be sure to take care of it. Therefore, try to grab a brand that is natural and maybe even vegan! Your pores are taking in and absorbing whatever you put on your skin so using a vegan formula make it less likely you will have an adverse reaction or bad breakout because of your tan.

5. Clean Canvas

Make sure you do not have a barrier of oil or lotion on your skin before applying your tan. On the days leading up to your application you should moisturize and the day before you tan be sure to shave and exfoliate so your skin is ready to soak up the product without any dead skin standing in the way.

6. Double Check

Lift your arms and give yourself a spin in the mirror. The sides of the waist and the backs of the thighs are easy to miss. Make sure you did not leave any glaring white spots. Better yet–enlist the help of mom or your roommate to help–and get your back.


7. Give It Time

Your tanner will likely suggest you give it six to eight hours before dressing or giving it a rinse–follow this advice. This is easiest if you apply your tan at night before bed. Better yet, watch some Netflix standing up for an hour or so before jumping into bed to reduce the sticky feeling.

Be warned: your sheets will likely be a strange color when you wake up so maybe do not use your best white linens. When you rinse in the morning use cool water and wait until the water running off you is clear–do not worry this is just the top layer, there should be plenty of color left soaked into your skin.

8. Consider Your Outfits

Wearing a cut-out dress this weekend? Be sure to tan your belly region.

9. Take Care

Be sure to keep up your moisturizing habit in the days following your tan (but not immediately after). This will help your tan stay nice and splotch-free. If you want to fix a problem area or get a little darker but do not want to go through the entire process over again, mix some of that trusty moisturizer (with no fragrances or fancy additions) with your tan and apply to the areas you want to fix!

In addition to staying moisturized, be sure to take shorter non-scalding showers and pat (do not rub) yourself dry with a towel. If you tanned in preparation for a big event, avoid super-tight workout clothing as sports bra straps and leggings can create streaks when mixed with a long sweaty workout. If this does happen–do not panic–just use the moisturizer+tanner trick.


10. Scrub It

Tan starting to look blotchy? After three or four days this is totally normal. Grab a scrub and a loofa and get back to your natural state! If you want to keep your bronze going all summer long, be sure to get rid of all the old tan before applying a new one. Also–maybe do a nice face mask after exfoliating if you put fake tan on your face–get rid of that old product for good!

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