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Although it can be a tricky product to master using, self-tanner is one of our favorite skin care products. That’s because applying one is the only safe way to get a tan—since spending prolonged periods of time in the sun sans protection is a serious skin care no-no. And after covering up in turtlenecks and snow boots for what has felt like months on end, you may want a hint of golden color—it’s only natural. But what if you’re hesitant to try self-tanner again because you’ve experienced streaky or orange color when using one in the past? We’re here to convince you to give it another shot. Avoid these common self-tanner mistakes so that you can apply your fake tanner like a pro. Besides sharing top self-tanner mistakes and how to avoid them, we’re also sharing our best self-tanners.
When it comes to applying self-tanner, do you simply slather it all over your skin without any prep work? It’s time to stop that! Your first step to get a seamless-looking fake tan is to exfoliate your skin in the shower. Dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, and this can lead to uneven or patchy coverage—which is why exfoliating beforehand is such an important step. Pay particular attention to areas that can get rough—like your knees and elbows. Use a gentle body scrub while you shower—or you can also try dry brushing beforehand.
Once you’re done exfoliating in the shower, applying moisturizer is key. Don’t towel off, though—slather on a body lotion to damp skin to help lock in hydration, paying particular attention to areas that tend to be on the dry side.
Do you want your hands to look darker than the rest of your body? We thought not! If you’re using a self-tanning lotion, serum, mousse, or any other formula that requires you to rub the self-tanner directly onto your skin, considering investing in a tanning mitt so that you can avoid staining your hands.
If you thought there was only one type of self-tanner you could use, it’s time to think again. There are many different kinds of self-tanner products out there, so you can easily find one that suits your needs. Try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium, L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Serum, L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Lotion, L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist, or L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Towelettes for Body.
Areas like your elbows, knees, and ankles can be drier and rougher than the rest of your body, so you should apply self-tanner with a light touch to avoid them becoming too dark.
Want to use a self-tanner specifically formulated for your face? Cool—just make sure you extend it down to your neck. If you don’t want your secret to get out that you’ve been bottle bronzing, then your neck is one area that you’ll definitely want to pay attention to. When your face and neck are significantly different shades, this can be a total giveaway that you’ve used self-tanner.
Sometimes, less is more—and that’s surely the case as far as self-tanner goes. Generally, you really only need to make one pass over your skin to get adequate coverage. Of course, as we told you earlier, applying a moisturizer beforehand is a prep step you shouldn’t skip out on—it can help make your self-tanner glide on easier.
We’ve all got places to be—but you should be patient after you’ve used a self-tanner. That means you shouldn’t throw on your fave pair of skinny jeans immediately afterwards. Instead, wait for your self-tanner to dry full before putting on any clothes—and when you are completely dry, opt for loose, dark clothes to help avoid any staining.
Now that you’re caught up on self-tanner mistakes, it’s time to learn how to apply self-tanner to your face. Check out our article, How to Use Self-Tanner on Your Face, to learn how.
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