It’s the middle of winter—meaning your skin might be looking a little pasty these days. After all, you’re likely spending quite a bit more time indoors (ideally curled up under a blanket watching your favorite TV shows with a mug of hot chocolate!) than you do the rest of the year. Even if you don’t have a beach vacation planned over winter break (if you do, here are the skin care products to pack for a tropical getaway) you can still get a golden glow smack dab in the middle of the coldest season of the year by using self-tanner. Of course, applying self-tanner might seem daunting if you consider yourself a newbie and haven’t used it all that often. That’s why we’re here! Below, find step-by-step instructions for applying self-tanner like a pro. You'll soon learn just how useful a skin care product self-tanner can be when added to your skin care routine.
How to Apply Self-Tanner
When it comes to putting on self-tanner, there are a few steps you should always follow. Use the below steps as a guide to help apply self-tanner for a streak-free, bronzed finish.
Step 1: Complete your other beauty to-dos. Before reaching for self-tanner, work your way through the rest of your beauty tasks, like shaving, waxing, and getting a manicure or pedicure, as any of these can actually fade your faux tan.
Step 2: Exfoliate. If you’ve ever experienced a patchy finish after applying self-tanner it could be because you’ve skipped out on exfoliating, an important step in the self-tanner application process. Applying self-tanner over flaky skin can lead to uneven color, so slough dead skin cells off the surface of your skin with a body scrub first.
Step 3: Dry off. Easy! Thoroughly towel dry your skin before moving on to the next step in our self-tanner tutorial.
Step 4: Moisturize. Once you’re done drying off, reach for an oil-free moisturizer and apply a thin layer to help create a smooth base for your self-tanner. Steer clear of oil-based formulas to help avoid streaking. Make sure to focus on areas that tend to be dry, like your knees, ankles, and elbows.
Step 5: Choose a self-tanner. It’s almost go time! Which self-tanner will you use? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Serum, L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion, L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist, or L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Towelettes for Body. Pick a self-tanner shade based on your normal skin tone—not the result you’re hoping to achieve. If you have fair skin, try a light to medium self-tanner formula. If you have olive skin, look for a self-tanner formula for medium to dark skin.
Step 6: Apply self-tanner to your body. Apply your self-tanner of choice evenly all over your body. Use sparingly around your ankles, knees, and elbows. Since these areas can be on the drier side, they have the tendency to soak up more color. Start at your feet and work your way up to help prevent lines and marks that bending from the waist may leave. Massage self-tanner into your neck and the top half of your arms.
Step 7: Wash your hands. You don’t want your hands to end up appearing darker than the rest of your body, so wash and dry them before moving on to the next step.
Step 8: Apply self-tanner to your face. If you’d like to apply self-tanner to your face, use your fingertips and place self-tanner on areas that would naturally get the most sun: your forehead, the apples of your cheeks, your nose, and your chin. (Find more on How to Use Self-Tanner on Your Face.)
Step 9: Wash your hands again. Once you’re done applying self-tanner to your face, head on over to the sink and wash and dry your hands again.
Step 10: Wait it out. Let your self-tanner dry completely before getting dressed or putting on any makeup. Wear loose, dark clothing to help prevent staining.
Use your self-tanner of choice daily until you reach your desired level of tan, then use once or twice a week to help maintain results.
For another self-tanner lesson, head on over to our article, 5 Tips and Tricks for Using Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanners.
Discover more tips & tricks
Keep your skin happy
Shop Featured Skin Care products