How to Be a Sunless Tanner Pro

Jaclyn has spent years owning a spa, spray tanning clients, and of course, applying her own self tanner!  She chooses a sunless tan any day over sun damage.  Here are the best tips and tricks for really getting a bronzed and a glowing sunless tan.

PREPARE YOUR ARSENAL FOR A SUNLESS APPLICATION:

  • Skin Exfoliator (such as a scrub and remover shaving)
  • Moisturizer
  • Tanning Mitt
  • Sunless Tanner for the face (if you choose to tan your face)
  • Sunless Spray (for hard to reach areas)
  • Sunless Wipes (to correct any mistakes)

EXFOLIATE AND SHAVE 24 HOURS BEFORE TANNING

For a truly even color, you’re going to want a smooth canvas for application. You should always wax or shave the day before you apply your tan because sometimes [hair removal] can cause irritation initially and make your skin slightly sensitive. You should also fully exfoliate 24 hours before your tan to ensure it’s even and to get rid of any dead skin.”

In addition, just before you apply your tan, Jaclyn recommends running an ice cube or frozen bag of peas (nope, not kidding) over your legs and face to constrict hair follicles and pores. This will prevent self-tanner from entering these tiny crevices and leaving small, darker-colored dots on your skin.

PREP PROBLEM AREAS

You’ll need to pay special attention to breakouts or any normally dry areas of skin before you apply a self-tan. Always apply a moisturizer barrier to joints, feet, hands prior to tanning since they can develop darker than anywhere else on the body. In addition, you’ll want to apply a concentrated amount of moisturizer using a Q-Tip or cotton ball to any skin conditions you’re dealing with like acne or eczema. The ingredients in self-tanner develop darker when they come in contact with these areas and extra moisture will block the product from highlighting what you’d rather hide.

BE VERY GENEROUS WITH THE AMOUNT OF PRODUCT YOU USE

First-timers who are afraid of being too dark may be hesitant to use large globs of product while applying. Don’t be. Zebra-like stripes are caused by lack of product and over-rubbing. Always use enough so that the product glides effortlessly and smoothly over the skin and buff away any excess with your tanning mitt.  You can never use too much self-tan, as the skin can only absorb a certain amount of tanning agent (I recommend St. Tropez products specifically for this reason) but using too little self-tan will result in the dreaded streaky tan.

AVOID APPLICATION ON YOUR HANDS AND FEET

While you want to be generous with the product on all other areas of your body, you actually shouldn’t apply the product at all to your hands and feet. Always work excess product from the arms onto the hands and leftover product from the legs onto the feet and ankle.  Don’t apply tanner directly on those area because it always looks too dark and unnatural.

ENLIST A FRIEND OR GET CREATIVE TO ADDRESS HARD-TO-REACH AREAS

Use the sunless tanning spray for hard to reach areas or tape a large wooden spoon to the mitt and use a “scratching your back” motion to apply.

Remember, sunless tanning can be scary, but once you get the hang of it, you will love the results.  If you are truly afraid, start with gradual sunless tanners to dip your toe into the process.  And of course, remember, when you are on vacation, use the gradual sunless tan to maintain so as your skin exfoliates, you still will look like a bronzed goddess.