Let’s talk about how to get the BEST self tan at home, the steps to give you a flawless, professional look, and my favorite product that makes the whole process easy.
But first, a story.
As a kid, I was relentlessly teased about how ghostly pale I am, and I HATED it.
One day, fed up, I took the few dollars I made babysitting and walked over to Rite-Aid to buy their least expensive self-tanner.
The moment I got home, I slathered that stuff all over me, thinking, the more, the better, checking the mirror every few minutes to see if I was transformed into one of the 90’s supermodels I idolized.
It never worked.
I never looked like Cindy Crawford or Niki Taylor.
But I also never stopped trying because I am an optimist.
Year after year, I went through the same ritual. With the same results.
It was how my family marked the start of Spring – “Oh look, Meg’s trying to tan again.”
Eventually, I upgraded from Rite-Aid brand to “better” drug store options and added some Sun-In in my hair, for good measure.
The results, of course, were disastrous, but my determination was unwavering.
When I got a high school job, I splurged on anything I could get my hands on in the department stores.
So this has been going on for almost 30 years and I’m not hyperbolic when I say I have tried every self-tanner under the sun.
THANK GOODNESS, products have evolved along with my expectations. I’m not trying to look like a bronzed goddess. Instead, I’ve grown to appreciate my fair and freckled skin.
It’s just that when the sun is shining, I look radioactive, and a good tanner helps to tone it down, even out my skin, hide my veins and cellulite, and help me feel a little more confident in shorts, skirts, and swimsuits.
How to Get the Best Self Tan at Home
Easy Steps to a Perfect Self Tan
The key to success is all in how you prep your skin. Do not skip this part 🙂
The night before you apply your self-tanner, shower, shave and exfoliate, paying extra attention to your elbow, knees, heels and hands and feet.
Areas with dry or rough skin will absorb the tanner in a way that will leave them looking dirty.
After you get out of the shower, dry off and slather your favorite moisturizer all over.
Be sure you remove any nail polish and push back your cuticles. I also apply some cuticle oil so they do not dry out. Much like rough, dry skin, if your cuticles are dry or overgrown, and come in contact with your tanner, they will quickly turn yellow.
Do not skip prepping your skin, it makes all the difference in how your tan comes out.
The Best At Home Tanning Product
These days, there are a ton of effective products on the market. It depends on the results you are looking for and how much time you have.
But for the last two years, my favorite is Loving Tan’s 2-hour express. I use the medium, which is great for fair skin. They also have dark – ideal if you tan easily.
You’ll achieve a subtle, low-maintenance tan at home
It doesn’t smell, streak, or stain fabrics – so it’s a winner.
And because it goes on dark, you can see exactly where you are putting it to make sure it goes on evenly.
Important! Use their applicator mitt; it saves your hands from getting stained AND helps you cover more surface quickly and easily.
How to Apply
Remember, you’ve prepped the night before.
In the morning, remove your clothes and put your mitt on your left hand.
With the mitt on your left hand, work from your left leg up your body and apply on your right arm, chest, and neck.
Then switch hands and with the mitt on your right hand, start at the top of your right foot, and apply moving up your body, finishing on your left arm, chest, and neck.
You want to work with two-three pumps at a time.
As you work up your leg and arms, avoid your knee and elbow until there is very little product left on the mitt, then apply to those areas. This will ensure an even application.
You can use this on your face, but be careful. Start with one pump, and go from there, paying close attention to your hairline and ears. Some people like to use a large clean makeup brush to blend it in to your skin.
Personally, I skip my face and instead use this face oil by Tan-Luxe. I find it works better with my skincare.
Add a drop or two to your night cream right before bed, and you’ll wake up with a natural, very subtle, sun-kissed glow.
I use this regularly, even when I don’t go through the self-tanning process.
When you finish the process, throw on a loose-fitting dress – and skip a bra for a few hours. I keep an old tank dress from when I was pregnant on hand just for this.
With the Loving Tan formula, you let it sit for 2 hours (it drys almost right away) and then hop in the shower to rinse it off. The Tan continues to build over the next few hours.
But because I can’t leave well enough alone, I let it sit as long as possible and wash it off the following day.
Then apply as needed, maybe once a week, to maintain.
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