Self-Tanner Tips That Will Change Your Life

Anyone that knows me knows, that like the name of this blog, I am always tan.

What they don't know, is that I am not naturally this way at all. I am freckly, pale, pinkish, and do not tan naturally at all unless I am in the sun nearly every single day and even then - that is a slow process. 

After burning myself in the sun so many times and noticing pre-mature wrinkles on my chest and face as a result as a teenager, I became worried about what would happen if I continued trying to use tanning beds and lay out without sunscreen to achieve a tan that frankly, my skin tone just will never allow me to achieve naturally. 

As a result, I started testing out self-tanning products and airbrush tanning on the regular. And I became a monster. A nicely tanned, obsessed monster. 

Not only do I now own my own airbrush tanning machine (hairnets and all), but I have learned a number of tips and tricks along the way that I think will benefit every girl out there (that can tan naturally or not). 

1. Buy self tanning applicator gloves 

I waited wayyyy to long to take this step, and it has changed my life, and the color of my palms forever. I apply self tanner almost every night before bed, and often times before I go out or wear a skirt or dress. 

Using these gloves even for the simplest of applications, neck and arms, etc. - will stop you from scrubbing your palms dry because that dark tan lotion will not come off. These are the actual gloves that I have (I look like a naked, tan Dexter when I'm applying in the bathroom with these. There's a fun visual for you) and I highly recommend them. They've lasted me an incredibly long time now. 

2. Test out different self tanners

I have tried a TON of self tanning products over the years and this is my favorite. It goes on like a regular body lotion (but don't be surprised, it's SUPER DARK when you see it for the first time). If I put this on every night before bed or every morning when I wake up it will allow you to achieve a completely natural looking tan each time. I took this with me to Hawaii and put it on each morning before laying out in addition to sunscreen, and not only did I not get burned, but I looked like I had a great natural tan from the sun when in reality I got barely any color at all. 

This brand really does not smell, it rarely streaks when you apply it (if your body is wet at all, it streaks occasionally, so dry off completely after getting out of the shower) and it really helps you achieve a natural looking tan after just a few applications. 

3. Airbrush Tan - Give Up Tanning Beds 

Tanning beds are so horrendous for our young skin, that I truly recommend airbrush tanning and using self-tanning lotion whenever you're desiring a sun kissed glow. Laying in a tanning bed causes such an increased risk of melanoma that I simply am being a smart tanner by no longer putting my body through that. I'd really recommend you do the same! 

4. Airbrush tan, and sleep on it! 

I don't know about you, but most of the time when you get an airbrush tan, the only thing you want to do is throw on a dark robe and sit with a glass of wine and marinate in your new color :) I despise getting a tan, then throwing on clothes over it because you feel like a walking mannequin. 

What I've found works best for me and my lifestyle, is air brush tanning later in the evening, wearing long dark pajamas to bed and washing it off in the morning. That way, you pretty much ensure that you're tan will have a full eight hours to set in, and in the morning you'll have the perfect glow you're looking for! 

5. If you airbrush regularly, get dark sheets 

Not everyone will like this one. But believe you me, I used to love a fresh white comforter and beautiful white patterned sheets, but with all of the tanning that I did, they ended up stained, yellow, or weirdly discolored as a result of my constant tanning. Ditch the white sheets if you airbrush regularly. 

6. Get regular facials 

This tip is a little bit more ambiguous, because facials are typically pretty pricy. However, like me, I put on a fake tanner on my face nearly every night, and it does tend to clog my pores, especially in addition to regular spray tans. 

If you're spray tanning on a weekly basis like I do, it's worth it to spend a little extra for a facial here and there. Or at least get an exfoliating facial cleanser or strong pore-cleansing mask. Nothing looks worse then when your tan is fading and all you see is huge dark pore spots from where your tan stuck. 

7. Keep your body moisturized throughout your tan

I have dry skin naturally, so especially when I am spray tanning, I always have a number of moisturizes and tan lengtheners that I use throughout the week to keep my tan looking good. Once a tan starts to fade from dry skin, it becomes very splotchy and patchy, not a good look. There are a number of great moisturizers, and I'm sure you all have your favorites, so keep those stems moisturized even more when you spray tan!  

8. Exfoliate before a new tan, every time 

I have been guilty of not doing this before a new tan, when I'm desperate or it's last minute before an event, but your spray tan will never look as good or hold for as long when you do this. 

Be sure to get an exfoliating body scrub, brush, or glove to use in the shower and take off as much of your previous tan as you can before spray tanning again. Even if you just use regular tanning lotion and aren't a fan of spray tans, exfoliating your skin is amazing for your circulation. It helps get rid of cellulite as well! Win/Win. 

9. Pat dry after showering 

Rather than rubbing your body to dry, pat dry to avoid your tan coming off prematurely. 

10. Wear dark workout clothes at the gym

Inevitably, you will likely be working out at some point during the time you have your spray tan or if you are applying fake tanner at a regular basis. You will undoubtedly sweat a lot where your sports bra is, so you'll likely get lines. Your tan will rub off on your clothes and I've ruined a few light-colored tops at the gym as a result, unfortunately. Wear your dark work out clothing to the gym when you have a spray tan or if you've just applied fake tanner, it won't show on your clothing if it happens to sweat off during a good workout!  

11. Shave or wax 24 hours in advance

It's not advised to spray tan directly after you've shaved or wax, in case your skin becomes inflamed or irritable from shaving bumps. That will affect the smoothness of your tan. 

12. Get a 'spray tanning robe,' pajamas, or comfy sweats 

When tanning, you don't want to use your favorite silk robe when your tan is developing, it will at some point get some tan on it or get a little bit ruined, and if you have a personal attachment to that piece of clothing you don't want to ruin it! 

Purchase a cheap black or dark-colored robe, or long pair of sweats or pajamas at Target or another retailer, and use these time after time, so that if it starts to smell like tanning, or gets any faux tan on it at all, it won't make that much of a difference. You'll likely have to wash it a number of times but at least you won't have to ruin everything you have, you'll have a designated tanning outfit to come home and rest in. 

13. Put lotion protector on your lips, elbows, feet and the crevice of your chin 

Our elbows are naturally super dry and tend to hold spray tan a lot more than other areas like our stomach or chest. Your heels are also guilty of this. Often times, I've had my face tanned far too dark, but it's held at the most awkward places, like the dry skin on my lips, or the crease in between my chin and lip that tends to also get dry. If your skin is dry, it might be worth it to apply a light layer of protection lotion to those places. 


I hope these tips and tricks come in handy! 

XX