No longer the bright orange formulas of our youth, self-tanners are now easier to apply, longer lasting, and in many cases, provide anti-ageing or other skincare benefits. What you do before and after you get your sunless glow on, though, is just as important as which product you use. Keep reading for our essential steps to a natural-looking and long-lasting tan.
Remove All Make-Up, Deodorant, and Perfume
No matter what time of day you decide to apply your self-tanner, you’ll want to start with a clean canvas. To avoid splotchiness, it’s best to rinse off in the shower with cool water first. This will help remove any remaining films, oils, or lotions, and shrink pores so the tanner doesn’t absorb into them, resulting in an uneven finish.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
Yes, we wrote it three times because it’s that important. Without a smooth surface, colour can’t properly develop – a dead giveaway that a tan is fake. Whether you opt for a gritty scrub or an exfoliating glove paired with your usual body wash, be sure to pay close attention to areas like your knees and elbows to remove dead skin cells and prep skin.
Moisturise Problem Areas
Your skin should be completely dry and residue-free before applying self-tanner, but areas like knees and elbows tend to be naturally dry and could make the colour settle into lines. Give those trouble spots a bit of moisture love by massaging in a small amount of a fragrance-free lotion.
Apply From the Bottom Up
Once you’re ready to apply, it’s best to start from the bottom (your feet and ankles) and work your way up to avoid any smudges or lines from bending over. Apply to your arms and hands last as they’re doing all the heavy lifting. If you’re worried about the palms of your hands turning orange, try applying with a mitt and always make sure you wash hands carefully, working soap in between your fingers and under your fingernails once you’re done applying. Pro tip: don’t rub the formulas directly onto those thicker-skinned patches we mentioned earlier (like knees and elbows). Instead, massage on bigger areas like your calves and arms first and then use what’s left on your hands on your knees or elbows at the very end. Looking for a fast and quick formula? Vita Liberata’s 10 Minute Tan only requires that you leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing. Over the next few hours your tan will gradually develop.
Don’t Forget Your Face
One telltale sign that you didn’t actually go to the beach to get your tan? Your face doesn’t match the colour of the rest of your body. Vita Liberata’s Body Blur is safe for both face and body but you can also incorporate other products directly into your skincare routine. Vita Liberata’s Beauty Blur blurs imperfections, evens skin tone, and leaves behind a natural golden glow.
Moisturise and Protect
It’s important to moisturise skin after your colour is set since (inevitably) colour fades and cracks. Massaging a dollop of your chosen body cream into skin every day not only keeps it from getting dry, which shows streaks and creases more, but also stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation. Don’t forget the SPF too!
– Francesca Conlin