No Experience Necessary: A Beginner's Guide to Self Tanning

June 29, 2016
Jessie Quinn
By: Jessie Quinn | by L'Oréal
No Experience Necessary: A Beginner's Guide to Self Tanning

In today’s day and age, sun tanning isn’t all that it is cracked up to be—especially with our knowledge of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Now, instead of spending hours bathing in the sunlight, we spend our time searching for a safer source of that sought-after bottle form. And, while a seasoned self tanning vet already knows the ropes, for a beginner, self tanning can seem overwhelming. How do you get a streak-free tan? What happens if you make a mistake? Never fear! We’re here to take you through the steps you’ll need to get a gorgeous glow. New to self tanning? Keep reading!

Step 1: The Prep Part I

The first step towards a believable fake tan is your skin prep. Self tanning skin prep includes exfoliation and hydration. Built up dead skin cells on your skin’s surface guarantee you a streaky, spotty tan, so you’ll want to remove any buildup with a proper exfoliation. This not only gives you a smooth canvas but also allows your skin to better absorb color. Exfoliate with a DIY sugar scrub, dry brushing, or with a store-bought body polisher like this one from The Body Shop

Step 2: The Prep Part II

Next up you’ll want to give your skin some moisture—since exfoliation can leave it feeling a little dry. Apply a lightweight lotion to your elbows, knees, ankles, and any other dry areas of skin. This step helps to decrease your chances of these areas receiving too much color. If you are going for more of an airbrushed look, with a self tanner like L’Oréal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist, you will want to moisturize your entire body—paying extra attention to those dry areas—before applying the airbrushed tan.

Step 3: Bronze

Once you’ve properly exfoliated and moisturized the necessary areas of your body, it’s time to bronze. We recommend starting at your feet and working your way up, that way it will be easier to keep track of the areas you’ve covered and you can easily blend the layers of product as you make your way up. We know that the world “self” means that you should be able to apply the tanner on your own however, since some areas—like your upper back—might be hard to reach, you may want to ask your friend, roommate, or significant other for some assistance in covering these surface areas.

As far as your face goes, we recommend using a temporary self tanner—like L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Summer Wash-Off Face Bronzer Cream. It’s perfect for rookies, since it can be washed away daily with soap and water. In addition to its no-commitment appeal, this wash-off self tanner is formulated with SPF 20 and vitamin E, which can help keep your skin protected and hydrated.

Step 4: Scrub

After your bronzing is complete, you will want to give your hands a good scrub—especially in between your fingers—since they’ve handled a lot of self tanner and some of the excess residue can leave them looking blotchy and orange. Then, put on loose clothing, so that your body can continue to absorb the self tanner and dry off.  

Make a mistake? Need to remove the self tanner, stat? We share a complete guide to getting the bronze off your skin fast, here.

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