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Self-Tanner Tips: How to Look Like You Went on Vacation Without Leaving Home

Sun Care & Self-Tanning

Self-Tanner Tips: How to Look Like You Went on Vacation Without Leaving Home Self-Tanner Tips: How to Look Like You Went on Vacation Without Leaving Home Self-Tanner Tips: How to Look Like You Went on Vacation Without Leaving Home

Think about what you look like in the winter: Does the image of a vampire come to mind? We kid, we kid. But seriously, when you’re spending most of your time indoors hibernating in oversized sweaters and fuzzy socks, you might notice that your skin appears a bit pasty this season. But you can warm things up by using self-tanner. If you’re on school break or you have a few days off from work but don’t have a tropical getaway planned, you can still make it look like you just got back from vacation by applying self-tanner. Not sure which self-tanner to use—or how to apply it? We’ve got skin care product recommendations coming right up, along with self-tanner application tips. (Spoiler alert: You're not going to want to pass on applying moisturizer before self-tanner!) Add the below to your skin care routine this winter and get ready to glow!


Before we teach you how to apply self-tanner like a pro, you’ve got to find the best self-tanner to suit your needs. And when it comes to choosing a self-tanner, the options are just about endless. There are gels, foams, sprays, towelettes—and we’re just getting started. There also gradual bronzing lotions and wash-off formulas! Need help picking one out? Here are a few options.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion: This self-tanner lotion is formulated with vitamin E and alpha hydroxy acids.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist: This self-tanner mist bottle features a wide angled jet applicator that sprays a continuous, 360-degree mist.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Towelettes for Body: Each self-tanner towelette contains enough self-tanner for one application.

L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Serum: This streak-free self-tanner serum offers long-lasting color.


Once you’ve picked out a self-tanner to use while you’re cooped up inside, it’s time to learn how to apply it. There are steps you can take to help avoid your faux tan ending up looking streaky or uneven.

Step 1: Exfoliate your skin. Picked your self-tanner? It’s go time now! The next step in the process is properly prepping your skin for self-tanner. In order to get an even color all over your body, it’s important to exfoliate. Remove any dead skin lingering on your body using a scrub. Focus on areas like your knees and elbows, as they tend to absorb color quicker. This means that they can in turn get darker than other parts of your body when you apply your-self-tanner.

Step 2: Apply moisturizer. After you’ve exfoliated your body, you should apply a moisturizer. That’s because it’s hard to apply self-tanner on dry skin—in fact, that can actually leave you with a patchy finish. So, towel off after exfoliating and apply a moisturizer right out of the shower. Let it fully absorb before moving onto the next step.

Step 3: Section off. If you want a believable tan and even application, consider investing in a self-tanning mitt. They can help keep your palms from getting stained, and they can also help create an even finish. Apply the self-tanner in sections, making sure to massage the formula into your skin in a uniform circular motion. If you’re using your hands, be sure to wash them well after each section, otherwise your palms will turn out darker than the rest of your body.

Step 4: Mix your self-tanner with moisturizer. The trickiest part about applying self-tanner is getting even coverage on your joint areas, like your ankles, knees, and wrists. As we mentioned before, these areas tend to soak up more color, which could leave you with an uneven finish. One tip you can use to avoid this dilemma is to dilute the self-tanner with a moisturizer when you apply it to those areas. This will help make the color a little lighter.

Step 5: Give it time to dry. Once you’ve finished applying the self-tanner, you need to give it time to dry. You should avoid getting dressed before that time has passed so you don’t stain your clothes. If you really want to make sure the color won’t rub off, wear loose, dark clothes and avoid showering or sweating for the next few hours.

For more self-tanner tips to test out this winter, read our article, How to Get Glowing Skin with Self-Tanner.