Winter may be in full swing, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your tan. If you’re seeking color this winter, it could be the perfect time to turn to self-tanner. Sun-kissed skin minus the sun damage—what’s not to like? So, skip the tanning beds and rely on self-tanner (and a few tanning tips) to transform your pasty winter skin. We’re spilling our top self-tanning tips and tricks in order to help turn you into a self-tanning pro ASAP—before people start comparing your complexion to the snowman on your front lawn. Here’s how to add our best self-tanners to your skin care routine.
SELF-TANNING TIP #1: ALWAYS EXFOLIATE FIRST
While you may feel like you were born ready to be bronzed, it’s a good idea to do some prep work first. Before you break out your L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ self-tanner of choice, it’s time to exfoliate. Applying self-tanner directly to skin without exfoliating beforehand can lead to patchy application. For your face, use a face scrub like the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub to help slough dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. For your body, heed the advice in our article, How to Exfoliate from Head to Toe.
SELF-TANNING TIP #2: REACH FOR SERUM IN A RUSH
Being in a rush is nothing new to most of us, but trying to tan while you’re crunched for time might be. Want to fake a tan before a night out but weren’t able to do so the day before? Well, as it turns out, serums aren’t just for your skin care routine! Try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Serum, which has a quick-dry, streak-free formula.
SELF-TANNING TIP #3: HIT HARD-TO-REACH SPOTS WITH A MIST
There’s something to be said for having a friend on hand to help you self-tan everywhere—even the center of your back—but unfortunately, there aren’t always tanning companions available on demand. To reach those tricky spots when you’re solo, it’s all about picking the right product. The L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist Deep Natural Tan has a wide-angle applicator that is perfect for getting every single spot. If you’re still wondering what to do for the back of your hands, here's the answer: Place a small amount of product on a disposable makeup blender and gently dab the formula onto the back of your hands.
SELF-TANNING TIP #4: TAN WHILE YOU TRAVEL WITH TOWELETTES
It seems safe to say that vacations, no matter the time of year, are among the most popular occasions to fake a flawless tan. Prior to packing up your suitcase and heading for the plane, train, or automobile, apply your favorite tanning product to ensure you’re looking your best (a.k.a. most bronzed) throughout your trip. Of course, one application is rarely enough. Throughout your vacay, you may want to touch up your tan. Rather than lugging around bronzing lotions or creams, stock your suitcase with self-tanning towelettes. You can’t get more convenient than the single-use, individually-wrapped L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Towelettes.
SELF-TANNING TIP #5: OPT FOR A GRADUAL TANNER
If you don’t need to be bronzed in an instant, a gradual self-tanner is always a good idea. By using a self-tanner that works over time, it’s often easier to achieve an even, natural-looking tan. Try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium, which can be used in place of your regular old body lotion three times a week.
SELF-TANNING TIP #6: REMOVE ALL JEWELRY
This should be a no-brainer! Obviously, you don’t want those precious jewels to end up tinted with self-tanner. Plus, having any objects in the way can lead to an uneven tan.
SELF-TANNING TIP #7: APPLY AN OIL-FREE MOISTURIZER
The last thing anyone who’s a fan of fake tanning wants is to end up with streaky color. After you exfoliate, smooth an oil-free moisturizer onto dry areas. A moisturizing cream can make all the difference in whether or not your self-tanner applies well.
SELF-TANNING TIP #8: BE CAREFUL AROUND YOUR ANKLES, KNEES, AND ELBOWS
Apply self-tanner sparingly to feet, knees, and elbows, which tend to be drier than other areas of your skin. This means they’re likely to absorb more color.
SELF-TANNING TIP #9: TAKE YOUR TIME
This may seem self-explanatory, but one of the most important things when it comes to getting a flawless self-tanner application is to take your time. Block out an hour to dedicate to applying your tan and allowing it to dry before heading out the door and risking a patchy tan. There’s no need to rush through your application! Taking your time will guarantee you don’t miss any spots and that you’re left with a streak-free, natural-looking glow.
SELF-TANNING TIP #10: USE A TANNING MITT
Worried about self-tanner staining your palms? Use a tanning mitt to apply your self-tanner! This will keep any tan from tinting your hands while you're applying self-tanner on the rest of your body. When you’re ready to tan the tops of your hands, follow our advice from earlier, and use a makeup blender to dab on the color.
SELF-TANNING TIP #11: WORK WITH YOUR WORKOUT
If you know you have to head to the gym for a workout, do so before tanning. Working out can cause your tan to become blotchy and streaky if you end up breaking a sweat before your self-tanner has had a chance to develop.
Editor’s note: Hit the gym frequently and wondering how to keep your faux tan looking its best? Here’s How to Stop Sweat from Ruining Your Fake Tan.
SELF-TANNING TIP #12: AVOID STAINED SHEETS
While self-tanner is a miracle worker for the winter months, many of us have the unwavering fear of staining our sheets and clothes. Get rid of all your stain-centric worries by using a clear self-tanner! The L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse is a clear self-tanner with an invisible, hydrating formula that will give you a long-lasting tan.
SELF-TANNING TIP #13: DON’T OVERDO IT
As tempted as you may be, there’s no need to apply layer after layer of self-tanner. If you have a very fair complexion, a super dark, bronze self-tanner may look a bit unrealistic in the end. Instead, it’s always a good idea to keep a “less is more” mentality!
SELF-TANNING TIP #14: MAINTAIN YOUR TAN
Speaking of layering self-tanner, if you want to maintain your tan in-between tanning sessions, a good way to do so is with a gradual self-tanner. The gradual formula will help keep your faux glow intact without going overboard.
With these fake tanning tips and tricks in your back pocket, you’ll no doubt be itching to get your tan on. While we support switching up your shade any day, any time of year, we have a few helpful hints on the very best moments to use self-tanner in our article, The Best Times to Use Self-Tanner.
Discover more tips & tricks
Keep your skin happy
Shop Featured Skin Care products