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10 Tips for Your Best Fake Tan Ever (+ Natural Tanner Picks)

Applying self-tanner can be extremely intimidating if you’ve never tried it before. But there are ways to ease this daunting task! We’ve put together a nice guide of tips and tricks for self tanning, along with a fantastic pre-tan scrub and our favorite natural tanners. Spring is here, summer is on the horizon, so let’s bring on the healthy sun-kissed skin, without the sun damage.

How To Fake a Tan

1. Plan Ahead

Self tanning is never something you want to do spur of the moment. This is one area of life where spontaneity will not be your friend. Dry brushing is a great step to prep the skin. You will want to dry brush two days prior to your self-tanner application. Dry brush from soles of your feet to the top of your torso.

2. Exfoliate

The day before, use this scrub to remove dry, flaky dead skin cells. If you fail to exfoliate properly, then you will end up with streaks and dark patches. You can add a handful of sugar to your body wash or you can try this homemade pre-tan scrub recipe:

DIY Pre Tan Scrub

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Take your time to scrub your entire body, taking extra time at your knees, elbows, ankles and any other areas with dry patches.

3. Moisturize

Before applying self tanner you’ll want to shower, towel dry and apply a light moisturizer or lotion to your elbows and knees since they tend to grab more color than other areas. Avoid applying lotion all over the body as the oils don’t mix well with self-tanner.

4. Gloves!

Gloves are crucial so you don’t end up with orange palms. You can find latex or vinyl gloves that end at the wrist.

5. Ample Time

Give yourself plenty of time. Applying self-tanner is never something you want to rush. Be sure you apply during the daytime, in natural light and with a full length mirror if possible.

6. Circular Motions

Apply small amounts of the self-tanner in circular motions. Do not jump around to different areas of the body but work slowly and gradually down one leg, on to the next, up one arm, and so on.

7 Natural Self Tanner Picks -

FOR THE BODY: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Mousse // Tarte Brazilliance Plus Self Tanner and Mitt Kit // Josie Maran Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil // KORA Organics Gradual Self Tanning Lotion // COOLA Sunless Tan Mousse // FOR THE FACE: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops // COOLA Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

7. Avoid!

Avoid applying self-tanner to the bottoms of your feet and to the palms of your hands. It’ll never end well. Mix tanner with a little bit of lotion to apply on to the tops of your hands once your body is finished and you remove your gloves.

8. Less is More

If you are using a gradual tanner then you won’t see results for hours. You can always apply more two to three days later instead of going overboard all at once.

9. Blend

If you need to remove any self tanner, use a non-oil based scrub and gently blend the scrub on the area you’d like to lighten and then remove with a damp wash cloth.

10. Wait

Try not to shower for at least 10 hours. Wear loose fitting clothes and avoid exercising/sweating. By the next day you should have a beautiful sun-kissed glow without the damaging effects of the sun!


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