How To Self Tan at Home

Avoid wrinkles and sun damage this season by getting your tan the easy way. Done right, self tans can be flawless, flattering, and fabulous.


image via St. Tropez


PREP: Fake tanning products grab onto dry and rough skin and cause over-dying in certain areas, so try to remove as much dry skin as possible prior to application. Scrub the areas you’re tanning with a body scrub or exfoliating tool, working in small circular motions. Pay special attention to tougher areas like knees, elbows and feet.

APPLY: Some people prefer to apply sunless tan with gloves to protect their hands from dye, while others simply wash their hands well afterwards.

If you’re really nervous about getting orange knees or elbows then take a damp flannel and gently wipe off any excess product from these areas. Now use your fingers to blend the leftover product back into the knees and elbows. Work a damp flannel into your hairline and over your eyebrows if you’re tanning your face as well to stop product buildup.

A great tip for a super smooth application is to apply your product with a tanning mitt, which is specially designed to evenly distribute product on your skin without streaking. It will also protect your hands from the product.

HANDS AND FEET: Novice sunless tanners often find getting the hands and feet to look natural is too hard, so simply avoid these areas completely. Unfortunately this often makes us look like we have ‘floating’ white appendages.

Here’s an easy trick to hands and feet that look naturally tanned: Try painting your tanning product on with a cosmetic brush or sponge – this way you can avoid the nails and get product into every crevice. You should have avoided your palms, but rub them with a damp flannel just in case to make sure they’re completely free of product. As these parts of the body tend to absorb product faster, you only need to apply the product for a short time. Allow your hands and feet to dry for 10 minutes, then apply hand or body lotion all over your hands and feet. Wipe off everything with a damp flannel. Your hands and feet should be subtly tanned and blend in well with the rest of your body.

LET IT DRY: Different products have different drying times, but it’s always good to overestimate the time needed to avoid streaks and smears. In a hurry? Speed up your dry time by turning the hairdryer on your skin. Wear loose and flowing clothing until you’re absolutely sure the product is dry.


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