Self-tanning products are a safe and effective way of getting a beautiful, golden tan all year round, without the harmful, damaging effects of lying in the sun.
Over the years, I have tried many different self-tanning products including creams, mousses, sprays, and gradual tanning body lotions. My personal favourite is a gradual tanning body lotion, as there’s no waiting around for the product to dry, and they don’t smell as bad as self-tanning creams or mousses. My favorite gradual tanning lotions are: Palmer’s Natural Bronze Gradual Tanning Moisturiser, Dedicated to Nature’s Gradual Glow Tanning Moisturiser, and Oasis Beauty’s Super Tan.
For a flawless tan, preparing your skin before you start is key to flawless application, no matter what product you choose to use, or whether you go to a professional salon or choose to do it yourself, at home. If fake tan is applied over skin that hasn’t been correctly prepared, the result will be patchy, streaky, and very disappointing, and the tan won’t last nearly as long as it should. Drier areas like knees, elbows and ankles will be prone to absorbing more product, and this will make them appear darker than the rest of your leg.
So what can you do to prevent this? It’s as simple as exfoliating and applying a rich moisturiser for a few days before you plan to self-tan. Exfoliating will remove any dry, dead skin cells, and moisturising will prevent patchiness. Just avoid exfoliating and moisturising on the day that you apply the self-tanning product.
Hair removal like shaving or waxing should be done at least 24 to 48 hours before self-tanning, and avoid using any products that contain oils on the day of doing your tan. These will include products like body wash, deodorant (if you’re going for a full body tan), moisturisers, body butters, etc.
After your self-tan has been applied, avoid showering, bathing, swimming, and applying moisturiser for at least six to eight hours afterwards. This will ensure that your tan has time to develop and set before the product is washed off or diluted. Finally, moisturise your skin with a rich body lotion or body butter every day to help keep your tan looking good for as long as possible. Avoid using body oils, as these may strip the tan off your skin, and don’t forget to exfoliate every third day, or at least once a week, to remove any dry skin. Once you’ve done this, simply top up your tan with your chosen product to help maintain your colour.
Self-tanning tip summary:
1. Exfoliate the day before applying self-tanning products, using an oil-free body exfoliator or an exfoliating glove. If you have very dry skin, apply a little moisturiser to knees, feet, ankles and elbows to avoid excess absorption of colour in these areas.
2. Avoid moisturising your whole leg, or entire body, before applying your self-tanning product, as this will prevent the colour from taking as well as it should.
3. Start applying the chosen self-tanning product at your feet or ankles and work your way upwards, using firm even strokes.
4. Do not shower, bathe, swim, or apply moisturiser for 6 to 8 hours after application.
5. Exfoliate every 3 days, and reapply your chosen product when necessary to maintain your gorgeous tan.