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How to Use a Self-Tanning Mousse

Your options as to 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 self tanning mousse! Increasingly popular as of late, this self-tanning option, is one of our favorite ways to get a seamless tan that mimics sun-kissed skin. Ready to learn how to maintain a bronzed beauty look all year long with the help of a self-tanning mousse? Start by watching the video above, then read on for all the gorgeous, glowy details on using a clear self-tanning mousse.


A self-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 so prior to smoothing self-tanner onto your skin. You won't want to reverse these steps because 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 a blotchy, uneven color. 

Step 4: Grab Your Self Tanning Mousse

Apply your self-tanning mousse, starting at your legs and working your way up. Need a product recommendation? We love the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse, which has a clear, long-lasting, and hydrating formula that will give your skin a natural-looking sun-kissed glow with an even finish. Shake well, then pump the mousse into the palm of your hand. 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. (Missed a spot? Here's How to Get Self-Tanner Off Your Hands.) All done!


While a self-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:

Self-Tanner Type #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

Self-Tanner Type #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 pickL’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium

Self-Tanner Type #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 pickL’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Towelettes for Body

Self-Tanner Type #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 pickL’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.

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