How To Apply A Self Tanner Evenly? 6 Steps

No matter the quality of your self tanner, you won’t get great results if you don’t apply it appropriately and evenly. Moreover, it can be embarrassing when you notice the uneven patches of tan on your skin while you’re outside. That’s why it is important to get it right the very first time.

One funny thing is that it is better not to apply a self tanner instead of applying it inappropriately. Of course, virtually all tanners come with application instructions, but many instructions won’t tell you how to apply it evenly.

Besides, “how can I apply my tanner evenly?” has been one of the most frequently asked questions about self tanning. So, this article explains 8 steps to apply a self tanner evenly. Here, you’ll learn all the steps to follow to apply your self tanner evenly.

It might appear difficult the very first time. By the time you apply it multiple times, you will get the hang of it, and it will be a breeze. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

How To Apply a Self Tanner Evenly? 6 Easy Steps

  • Exfoliate Your Skin
  • Wash And Dry Your Skin
  • Apply The Tanner
  • Wash Your Palms
  • Exfoliate Your Skin
  • Apply Sunscreen

Step 1 – Exfoliate Your Skin

It is a good idea to shave the hair on your body before you apply your self tanner. Tanners work better on smooth skin. We made two people apply the same brand of self tanner. One of them exfoliated her skin before the application of the tanner, while the other one didn’t.

The difference was crystal clear. The exfoliated skin looked so much better and smoother, and it glowed more. So, it is not a matter of options. If you must get the best result from your self tanner, you must exfoliate your skin before you apply the tanner.

In addition, exfoliation removes dead skin cells. While exfoliating your skin, pay more attention to your ankles, elbows, and knees.

Step 2 – Wash And Dry Your Skin

After exfoliation, it is necessary to wash your body to remove the residues of the dead skin cells. Now, here’s the more important part. After washing your body, it is important to let it dry before you apply your tanner. Moisture will prevent it from sticking to your body.

Even after drying your body with a piece of towel, leave it for 30 minutes to dry up properly.  When you’re sure it’s dry, you can then proceed to apply the tanner.

Step 3 – Apply The Tanner

Now’s the time to apply your self tanner. You need to apply it section by section. Start with the arms. Your left hand will rub it on your right hand and vice-versa. When you’re through with the arms, go to your legs one after the other.

After the legs, apply it to your face and gently move down to your neck. Finally, you can wrap it up on your torso. In case you don’t know the torso, it is your body, excluding your limbs and neck. After applying it to all the parts of your body, you need to massage it into your skin in a gentle circular motion.

Ensure you apply it under very bright light, so you’ll have a clear view of what you’re doing. If your ankles, elbows, and knees are darker than other parts of your body, you should apply the tanner lightly to those areas.

Step 4 – Wash Your Palms

When your tanner stays long on your palms, you risk having orange-colored palms. Don’t wait until you finish applying the tanner before you wash your palms. It is better to wash your hands after applying it to each section.

After applying it to your arms, wash your palms. When you’re through with your legs, wash your palms. After rubbing it on your face and neck, wash your palms. And after applying it to your torso, wash your palms. Remember to use soap each time you wash your palms. This will prevent you from having stained palms.

Step 5 – Wait For Your Tanner To Dry Up

What’s next is to wait for about 10 to 15 minutes for the tanner to dry up. After about 15 minutes, you can put on loose clothing. However, you should not engage in any rigorous activity that could make you sweat within the first three and half hours after applying your self tanner. Your sweat could wash it off.

Step 6 – Apply Sunscreen

You need to protect your skin with sunscreen. So, it is important to apply sunscreen to your tanned skin every day. Go for a sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher, water resistance, and UVA/UVB protection.

5 Common Tanning Mistakes To Avoid:

1. Washing Your Hands Within 5 Hours After Self Tanning

You should only wash your palms and not your whole hands. Remember, you have tanned most parts of your hands except the palms. If you wash your hands too early, the tan may get washed off. To wash your hands, you have to wait for at least eight hours after self tanning.

2. Economizing Your Self Tanner

If what’s left of your tanner won’t be enough, don’t tan until you buy another one. If you try to make do with the little you have, the chances are high that you won’t apply enough quantity. This may lead to streaks, blotches, and uneven tan. You don’t want to look like a clown preparing for a show.

3. Applying Too Much

When you apply too much self tan, the change of color of your skin will be too obvious. Remember, many of your friends and neighbors saw you a few hours or days earlier. They’ll suspect that your tanned skin isn’t natural. On the other hand, if you apply it moderately, it won’t be obvious that you used a self tanner because your tanned skin will look natural.

4. Tanning Dry Skin

Tanning dry skin will lead to steaks and uneven patches. In fact, your skin will likely turn orange very quickly. You’ll get the best effect when you exfoliate and moisturize your skin before self tanning.

5. Washing Off Your Palms After The Whole Tanning Session

You need to wash your palms intermittently during the tanning session. Wash them after applying it to different sections of your body, as explained above. If you wait until you’re through before washing your palms, you’ll likely end up with orange-colored palms.

I heard That Tanning Starts Fading After 5 Days; How Can I Make It A Little Longer?

You need to apply moisturizers, tan enhancers, and bronzers to it regularly. Also, it takes 6 to 8 hours for tanners to develop fully. It is necessary to let it develop fully before you take a shower. It can only last as long as it should last if you allow it to develop fully. If not, the tan will begin to fade sooner.

So, after applying the tanner to your body, try to wait for 8 hours.  In fact, it is better to apply it at night and wait till the following morning before you take a shower. It would have developed fully by then.

How Soon Can I Take A Shower After Tanning?

Answer: Many people believe that it takes about 6 to 8 hours for self tanners to dry up. However, we think you should leave it overnight because some tanners take a little longer to develop fully.

Will My Skin Turn Orange?

If you follow tanning instructions strictly and you use only high-quality tanners, you may be able to avoid the orange tint. Also, always moisturize your skin before and after self tanning. Some of the causes of orange skin are:

  • Uneven application
  • Application of too much quantity
  • Application of inadequate quantity
  • Clogged pores
  • Application of low-quality self tanners
  • Not waiting for the tanner to develop fully before you take a shower

If you can avoid all the mistakes listed above, you won’t end up with orange skin. And if you already have orange skin, you can remove the tanner with self tanner removers.

Is Tanning Spray Safe For People With Respiratory Issues?

It’s not advisable. To stay on the safer side, if you have any respiratory condition or you’re pregnant, consult your doctor before using any tanning spray. Instead of tanning spray, you could go for other forms of self tanners. There are lotions, drops, and mousses. Pick any of the three. They are suitable for people with respiratory issues.

Can I Swim After Tanning?

You need to wait for at least 8 hours for your tan to develop fully before you can shower or swim. Also, it is not advisable to dive into any pool. Salt, chlorine, and other chemicals may react with your tan even if it has fully developed. When they do, your tan will start fading away sooner that it should.

Chlorine dries the skin and when your skin is dry, your tanner will dry up too. Hence, if you must swim with your tan, make it a short session and apply a moisturizer to your body immediately you get out of the pool.

Do Tanners Protect The Skin From UV Rays?

No, only sunscreens have the ability to shield your skin from the UV rays of the sun. And most tanners don’t have sunscreen. The good news is, you can apply sunscreen over your self tanner. So, it might be a good idea to apply  sunscreen any day you’ll be going out under the sun. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid the rays is to stay away from the sun if you can.

Yes, we know that the sun gives vitamin E, but that’s the mild morning sun, not the scorching sun that shines in the afternoon.

How Can I Remove Self Tanner?

The best way to remove self tanner is by using any of the products designed specifically for it. Most self tanner brands also offer tan removers. Immediately you realize that your tan is uneven and the anomaly can’t be corrected by further application of self tanner, the next step is to apply a tanner remover to your body to remove the tanner.

In the alternative, you can also mix baking soda with water and gently rub the mixture all over your body. Leave it for some minutes before rinsing it off. Shower gel will also work in this situation.

I Have Sensitive Skin. Can I Use A Self Tanner?

Yes, you can use it, but apply it to a little area of your skin first. Wait for a few days to see the reaction. If your skin responds well to it, you can then apply it to other parts of your body. In addition, you may consult your doctor. Nevertheless, some people with sensitive skin have used self tanners without issues.

It all boils down to the ingredients of your chosen tanner. Let your doctor take a look at the ingredients and advise you.

How To Apply A Self Tanner Evenly

Final Thoughts

To recap the steps for applying a self tanner, you need to start by exfoliating your skin. Washing and drying your body should follow. After that, you can apply your tanner section by section while washing your palms after every section. After the application, wait for several hours for your skin to dry off.

Furthermore, it may be a good idea to apply sunscreen to your skin every day. And most importantly, stay away from swimming in salty water or chlorinated pools as both substances can react with the tan even after it develops fully.

Leave a Comment