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How to Use a Self-Tanning Mousse

Sun Care & Self-Tanning

How to Use a Self-Tanning Mousse How to Use a Self-Tanning Mousse How to Use a Self-Tanning Mousse

Don’t bid farewell to your sun-kissed skin just yet. While it’s undeniable that summer is ending, the same doesn’t have to be true for your tan. With the help of self-tanner, you can maintain a bronzed beauty look all year long. Your options for which type of self-tanner to use aren’t remotely limited, from tanning towelettes to mists, there are plenty of potential picks. One you might not have considered? A tanning mousse. Here, we’re sharing how to use a self-tanning mousse and why you should add one to your skin care routine in the first place. Get all the gorgeous, glowy details below.


A tanning mousse is a self-tanner that has a foamy, mousse formula. This consistency makes it super easy to apply, as it can be massaged onto your skin. You also won’t have to worry about a runny formula, which can lead to an unwanted mess. Basically, any doubts you have about using self-tanner can likely be put to rest by choosing a tanning mousse to achieve your faux glow.


Ready to work on your post-summer tan? Here’s how to use a tanning mousse to do just that:

Step 1: Shave—if you want to

If you typically shave your legs or any other part of your body (that you’ll be tanning), it’s a good idea to do it prior to smoothing self-tanner onto your skin. The reason being, if you shave after using self-tanner it can actually strip the self-tanner from your skin. Bonus: Shaving can also help create a smooth surface for your self-tanner, allowing for a more even tan.

Step 2: Exfoliate your skin

Once you’ve shaved, it’s time to exfoliate! Use an exfoliating body scrub (personally, we’re partial to sugar scrubs) to slough away dead skin cells, paying extra attention to your knees, elbows, and ankles.

Editor’s note: Check out our article, How to Exfoliate from Head to Toe, for our best exfoliating tips. 

Step 3: Apply a moisturizer

Now that your skin is super smooth, it’s time to apply moisturizer from head to toe. Moisturizing your skin before sunless tanning is a vital step because it will help hydrate dry patches, which if left to their own devices can result in blotchy, uneven color. 

Step 4: Grab your tanning mousse

Apply your self-tanning mousse, starting at your legs and working your way up. Make sure to massage the tanning mousse onto your skin for an even, bronzed look. When you’re done applying the mousse, rinse off the palms of your hands and in between your fingers to prevent any potential staining.


While a tanning mousse is a great way to maintain your color no matter the season, there are other forms of self-tanner that are equally as amazing. Here’s a breakdown of the different self-tanner formulas to consider:

1. Self-tanning lotion

Looking for a self-tanner with bonus benefits like hydration? We know just the thing. A self-tanning lotion will keep your skin soft and nourished while giving you the color you desire. Choose a lotion with a tint, as the built-in color guard will provide you with a bronze glow while your tan is developing, making it easier for you to see where you’ve applied self-tanner and identify any spots you may have missed.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion Medium Natural Tan

2. Gradual Self-tanning lotion

If you don’t need to be tan ASAP, a gradual self-tanner could be right for you. After a few days in a row of applying the self-tanner, you can expect to have built up a beautiful glow. Immediate gratification is nice, but we promise your patience will pay off in this instance, as gradual self-tanners are ideal for achieving a natural-looking tan.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium

3. Self-tanning towelettes

For our gals who are always on the go, self-tanning towelettes are a super convenient type of self-tanner. The formula is packed into a single towelette that can easily be wiped onto your skin. Toss them in your bag when you’re traveling (then you don’t have to worry about transferring liquids into travel-sized containers) and you can touch-up your tan regardless of your location.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Towelettes for Body

4. Airbrush self-tanner

Love spray tans but don’t want to head to the salon? Try using an at-home airbrush self-tanner! The quick-drying formula, paired with the airbrush applicator, allows for easy, even application and a salon-quality tan.

Product pick: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist Medium Natural Tan

Ready to get your tan on? Check out our article, How to Use Self-Tanner on Your Face, for more self-tanning tips.