Self-Tanner Hacks to Make Your Fake Tan Look Real

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Everyone loves a sun-kissed glow, but we know that tanning under the sun or in a bed is bad for your skin and your health. Luckily, a spray tan or self-tanner can give you that gorgeous glow without the health risks. Below are the tips and tricks you need to make that faux glow look natural.

Get Prepped and Ready

Before you start applying self-tanner, you should be sure to follow a few simple steps to prepare your skin to ensure the most natural tan.

Save the Self-Tanner for Last

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When going through your regular beauty routine make sure applying a self-tanner is the last step. Get a wax, manicure or pedicure, touch up your hair color, and shave your legs first. All of those treatments can strip away a self-tanning product. So to guarantee an even tan, do everything else first.

Exfoliate

Self-tanner is known for sinking into places that are dry and making dark patches. Dry skin can also leave your tan with splotches and uneven patches. To reduce streaks and uneven marks, exfoliate your skin the day before or even the day of. Focus on rough spots like knees, elbows, ankles, and heels. Avoid an oil-based scrub because of oil leaves behind a residue that causes streaks. A great oil-free homemade exfoliator is easy to make and very cost-effective. Simply mix 1 cup of brown sugar with ½ cup of honey and scrub away.

Get Nice and Dry

After showering and exfoliating, towel off and then wait at least ten minutes to make sure every bit of skin is 100 percent dry. To help stay dry during application, make sure the space you’re in is free from humidity and water. So leave the steamy bathroom behind and choose a cool, dry place to apply self-tanner.

Lather Up with Lotion

Although your skin needs to be totally and completely dry from water, you do need a little moisture before you use self-tanner. Apply a lightweight, oil-free, and fragrance-free lotion to the tricky areas of skin that may not tan as well. Areas like the wrist to fingertip, the backs of the heels, elbows, and knees all tend to be dry and will have more trouble absorbing self-tanning pigment. It’s also smart to use a face lotion if you have large pores or dry skin on your face.

Tape Your Feet

If you’ve ever received a professional spray tan, you know they have you wear the sticky feet on your soles. This is because one clear sign of fake tan is orange spots on the bottoms on your feet. You can DIY sticky feet at home by covering the soles of your feet with tape. Painter’s tape or gaffer tape is thick and yet easy to remove when the self-tanning process is complete.

Choose the Best Self-Tanner for You

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There are so many sunless tanning lotions on the market that it can be hard to know where to start. There are sprays, mousses, lotions, and oils available for self-tanning. The best way to go is to choose a self-tanner for your skin tone. A light to medium formula will be best for fair skin, while a dark formula may be best for olive tones. There are also formulas designed specifically for the face that may make for a more natural glow. Use a self-tanner with SPF formula to help protect your skin while you get a nice gradual tan.

Getting Started with Self-Tanner

Once you’ve prepped your skin and chosen the best self-tanner for your needs, you are ready to begin. Take your time during the application process, and follow the steps below to ensure a gorgeous sunless glow.

Apply Self-Tanner in Sections

Be intentional about where you apply self-tanner. Work in sections up your body, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Massage the self-tanner into your skin in circular motions just one teaspoon at a time. By starting at your ankles and working your way up, you will avoid any weird marks caused by bending over. Save your hands and arms for last, that way you avoid leaving streaks on them while you work on the rest of your body.

Make it a Joint Effort

Your knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists tend to absorb more self-tanner. For that reason, you must dilute the self-tanner before applying it to your joints. To dilute, just lightly rub a damp towel over those areas or apply a thin layer of lotion over the top of self-tanner. Also, it is important to keep a natural look at the wrists and ankles. You should carefully blend the self-tanner from your wrists to your hands and from your ankles to your feet.

Face Self-Tanner Confidently

Applying self-tanner to your face can be intimidating, but these few tips will help you blend and contour like a pro. Just apply self-tanner in very small amounts (a dime-size or less) to places where you would naturally tan. Concentrate the product to places like the forehead, the apples of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, and your chin/jawline. Blend outward from those areas with your fingertips. Be careful around your nose and above your top lip as those places tend to absorb more color because they are drier. Feather the self-tanner gently and gradually into your hairline and past the jawline.

Give Yourself a Hand

Applying self-tanner to the hands can be tricky, but there are a few tips to help the process go successfully. Bend your fingers so your hand looks like a claw, allowing the self-tanner to cover all the nooks on your knuckles that may show up when you move around. Use a sponge brush (like the kind from a craft store) to lightly blend the self-tanner on your hands and between your fingers. This will even out dark spots and prevent any streaking. You can even use the sponge between your toes and on your knees which also tend to crease and need blending.

Finishing Up

After carefully applying the self-tanner to your body, there are a few things you can do to guarantee your tan sets well and stays put.

Exfoliate Your Palms

Using an exfoliating product on the palms of your hand will prevent them from becoming orange after the self-tanning process is complete. Instead of rinsing away the exfoliator, risking wetting your newly tanned skin, use a makeup wipe to clean your palms. A facial toner that contains alcohol will also help to remove self-tanner from the palms of your hands. Remove self-tanner from your nails and cuticles as well. Gently rub each fingernail or toenail with a cotton swab until the product is gone to keep stains away.

Dry Up

Allow your self-tanner to dry for twice the time it says on the packaging. You want to be sure that your skin is completely dry, and that the self-tanner has had time to dry and develop on the skin. If you’re in a hurry, you can lightly blast your skin with the cool setting on a hair dryer, speeding up the process.

Powder Your Pits

Once the self-tanner is dry, it is smart to use a talc-free baby powder on areas prone to creasing or sweating. Lightly pat areas like armpits, elbows, and knees with a powder. This stops tanner from transferring to your clothing. Avoid showering or sweating for 6 to 8 hours after application.

Preserve Your Tan

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There is no guarantee how long this artificial bronze glow will last, but there are some tips and tricks to prolong it. Shower using a gentle cleanser and make sure your skin is consistently moisturized. Use a sunscreen every day to protect your skin. Avoid retinol creams and acne treatments that can move self-tanner from the face. Follow all these tips and tricks for a healthy “sun-kissed” glow!

Related Article: 3 Makeup Tips and Tricks for a Natural Look

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