Get Ready: Tanning -- Self Tanners, Part 1

First, this guide is not about tanning beds, booths, nor laying out in the sun. This is a guide to self-tanners, which are proven to be much safer and less harmful than the aforementioned areas not covered in this guide. If you must tan, please take all the precautions you can, including use some sort of sunscreen and go out during hours where the sun is not as strong. Now that we are finished with our PSA, let’s get on to SELF-TANNING!

Get Yourself Ready to Tan | It is important that you appropriate prepare your body to undergo the self-tanning process to maximize the desired results and increase the wear-time of the self-tanner. Most self-tanners only dye the first layer of skin, which means that as cell turnover occurs, your tan will slough off after 3-5 days, depending on the product and the care you take in maintaining your self-tan.

1. Exfoliate in advance. It is important to regularly exfoliate both your face and your body (which I’m sure is often forgotten). A good body scrub is great to rid your skin of dead skin cells and allow newer cells to come to the surface. Several days before you’re ready to begin your self-tanning, it is a good idea to exfoliate every other day (or so).

2. Moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize again. Make sure that you are regularly moisturizing all known dry or rough spots on your body–common areas are places like feet, toes, ankles, knees, elbows, etc. Rougher skin means less surface evenness, and this means the self-tanner may get darker in these areas (which is not always a pretty sight). If you make sure that you are taking the time to keep these bits and pieces their softest, you’ll run into less tanning issues later on!

3. Shave. The more even the skin surface is, the better the self-tanner will apply, adhere, and eventually dye. You will minimize streaks and unevenness in your tan if you shave beforehand. I would recommend shaving shortly before you actually apply the self-tanner!

4. Exfoliate right before you apply. However, unlike exfoliating in the days leading up to application, make sure that you opt for a body scrub that is oil-free–just something simple that has jojoba beads or some sort of exfoliant that won’t leave your legs particularly oily or greasy, because it will interfere with the self-tanner.

5. Plan on at least 20 minutes to apply. You need at least twenty minutes to apply self-tanner from head to toe, and it may be more for those who are not as comfortable with self-tanning. It is a good idea to give yourself an hour or two before you have to leave the house, as I definitely recommend sitting around in ratty clothes while the tan develops (which it should be hour three). Some regular self-tanners prefer to do the whole ritual before bed and then wake up golden.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Ahhh how I would love to do this, unfortunately for me, (who never tans anyway, just burns, so I’ve never had any kind of tan) self tanners always look either orangey on me or come off on all my clothes.

Last summer, I tried the much applauded Jergens gradual tanner, and OYE! Everywhere. Even after waiting an hour for it to dry, I would get dressed, go about my day, and a couple of days later orange would show up on my clothes. It even ruined this awesome white skirt I had. poo.

What do you use? What brand seems to work best?

Hey MariahGem! That really sucks that things turn orange you – however, sometimes it’s a matter of trying multiple products before you find the right one. It’s a bad idea to wear any light clothing in the first 12 hours after applying as it could definitely rub off onto your clothes!!

I have used several tanners with good luck thus far, I will be doing reviews in the coming weeks so watch for them!

I would love to try this. How do you exfoliate your skin? Any recommendation for any products? and which self-tanner products should I use since I heard a lot of products failed to do its job. Thanks

Hey Daycee!

I exfoliate every 2-3 days for body, and I use a mild exfoliant everyday on my face (generally in my face cleanser).

I’ll be recommending self-tanners in the next few weeks 🙂

nature bronze from yves rocher is one of the browner tones
clinique in dark or deep is a very well know great tanner its one of the more golden self tanners
really dark is possible too with an airbrush solution i like react
for a darker lotion you can try sun laboratoires ultra dark

really important is exfoliate proberly and moisturize daily so the tanner fades more even i start over with a new coat every 5 day
in between body make up and bronzers can even out an old sunless tan

check this site out and the board out its great (all about sunless tanning)

oh and instead of a gradual tanner like jergens natural glow etc. take a normal strength tanner and dilute it with bodylotion (queen helene cocoa butter lotion is good) if you get orange try diluting too

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!