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Self Tanning: Our Step By Step Guide

Self Tanning: Our Step By Step Guide

Self-tanning is a great option for a summer glow, or to add some colour during winter. Tanning can be confusing, and requires a lot of steps.

For anyone without the natural ability to tan, or those just looking for an extra glow—self tanning is a great option. Easily tan at home, or go to a professional for guaranteed streak-free results. Make sure to follow our tips for a beautiful tan that will last as long as possible.


To ensure your tan is as even as possible, make sure to do the prep work! Exfoliating is an important step to ensure that all dead and dry skin is removed, making a smooth canvas for your self tanning needs. Do not use an oil exfoliator as oil can linger on your skin, meaning your tan will not stick.

Remove Unwanted Hair!

Use whatever method of hair removal you choose to use at least 24 hours before the self tanning day! This ensures that there is no redness, broken skin, or unfortunate cuts from shaving. Skin also needs time to rest after waxing so that pores can close. Do not remove hair after tanning, this will also remove the tan!



Make sure to slather the moisturiser onto your body (particularly the drier areas like your elbows and knees) a week before self tanning. Moisturising ensures that the tan will not congest on the dry areas of your body, leaving a splotchy tan. Remember not to moisturise with oils, instead, cream options work best. Don’t forget to also show your wrists, ankles, and fingers some moisturising love!

Face Time!

When self tanning your face, make sure to stick with gentle ingredients. If you are getting your tan applied professionally, ensure all makeup is removed before the appointment. Ask your specialist to only apply one coat on your face, as the ingredients can be quite drying to anyone with already parched skin.

Remember to adjust your foundation colour to your new skin tone!


Choose a Formula!

Cream? Foam? Gradual? Instant? Spray? There are many different self tanning formulas available, and first-time tanners may feel overwhelmed. Keep your skin needs in mind, as well as the occasion when choosing a tanning product. Instant tans can be useful for quick mornings, but may appear splotchy, and rub off easily. Gradual tans are easy to apply (like a moisturiser) but can be difficult to adjust for important occasions. Professional tans are often the best way to go, but can be expensive. Foams need special gloves to ensure streak-free application.

Choose wisely, and if you are unsure, make sure to ask a beautician!

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Choose Cotton!

Soft, flowing materials ensure that your tan will last a long time. Do not exfoliate when in the shower, or use any abrasive materials like towels, flannels, or loofers. Stay hydrated, regularly applying moisturiser and drinking water. When your insides are happy, your outsides will glow!

Dark clothing is the best idea for tans, as the products may rub off—particularly within the first day. When attending your appointment, decide whether tan lines bother you. Choose the appropriate underwear accordingly, or use the disposable option your beautician may provide. Those self tanning at home will easily avoid this drama.

Shower Time!

When showering for the first time after your tan, make it quick. Do not exfoliate and avoid using soap, body washes, or hair products that may rub off the self tanning product. Do not fear the product washing down the drain; it’s just the excess. Use only plain water and avoid any scrubbing motions. Pat your skin dry afterwards.


Tans should last about a week, with gradual tans lasting as long as you continue to apply the product.

Do you have any self tanning tips we may have missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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