Self Tanning Questions

How to Apply Self-Tanner Evenly? (Step-By-Step)

Written by: Anastasija

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The main question when it comes to applying self-tanner is how to apply it evenly, so I decided to share with you a few tips on how to apply self-tanner evenly.

I saw a whole lot of DIY projects that you can do at home with applicators, but I would really recommend you stay clear of doing any of them.

I saw many people recommending applying self-tanner with a rubber glove, which really does not feel nice on your skin, to be quite honest, and it will leave streaks. Rubber gloves cannot do the same job a microfiber application mitt will – trust me on that one!

I also saw many people recommending putting on a rubber glove and a sock over the rubber glove. I think that would work, but it will not leave your skin streak-free. Again, no sock and rubber glove can apply your self-tanner the way a proper application mitt can.

Now, I must say there is nothing wrong with doing DIY projects at home, but when it comes to self-tanner, you just need to be sure your skin will be streak-free the next day and the only way you can achieve that is by using an application mitt.

Step-By-Step to Apply Self-Tanner Evenly?

1. Exfoliation

Exfoliation is probably the key to getting an even tan all over your body. With exfoliation, you get rid of all the dead cells and dry skin patches; let’s just say exfoliation makes your skin a blank canvas. Then you use self-tanner to paint it evenly.

I would recommend exfoliating your skin 48 hours before applying any self-tanner. I would not recommend exfoliating the same day as applying self-tanner because your skin needs a rest before you can apply it.

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Moreover, exfoliating 2 days prior will give you the most amazing bronzed skin you could ever imagine.

I’ve tried everything already. Exfoliating the same day as applying self-tanner, it was as if I applied light-medium self-tanner when I used ultra-dark. I also tried exfoliating 24 hours before applying self-tanner, and I swear to you, exfoliating 48 hours before applying self-tanner will give you the deepest tan ever.

removing tan with exfoliation mitt by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

best exfoliation from Bondi Sands by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

 

If you decide to exfoliate your skin the same day as applying self-tanner, you will hardly tan at all; the only thing you will achieve is throwing the product away.

Exfoliation Mitts

When it comes to exfoliation mitts, I swear I have tried everything already and there is no application mitt that gets rid of all self-tanner like the Bondi Sands exfoliation mitt! It has two sides, one black and one blue, but they are both the same when it comes to roughness.

Bondi Sands Exfoliation Mitt | Easy-to-Use, Multi-Purpose Glove Prepares Skin for a Flawless, Healthy, Streak-Free Tan | Includes 1 Mitt
839 Reviews
Bondi Sands Exfoliation Mitt | Easy-to-Use, Multi-Purpose Glove Prepares Skin for a Flawless, Healthy, Streak-Free Tan | Includes 1 Mitt
  • Scrub away dry skin cells or self-tan with the Bondi Sands Exfoliation Mitt. This double sided mitt works to exfoliate your skin pre-tan for best tanning results, as well as erasing any unwanted tanning errors if necessary.
  • This mitt prepares the skin for self-tan, removes dry skin cells, & corrects tanning errors for the perfect canvas.

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I have tried every single exfoliation mitt there is and I almost lost my mind. I was in the shower for two hours before I got rid of all the tanner! Whereas the Bondi Sands exfoliation mitt only takes 15 minutes under the shower.

I like to get rid of all of my old tan because I know the application will be easier and it will leave my skin without any dark patches from the old self-tanner or streaks.

2. Shaving

When it comes to shaving, I recommend you exfoliate first and then shave. One time, I forgot to do that and all I can say is that my skin was on the edge of starting to bleed. You need to know that when you’re removing the old tan, you’ll never get it off in full with just a simple scrub, you really need to get in there and scrub it off.

application of shaving cream by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

shaving my legs by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

If you’re doing it superficially, your fresh tan will probably get patchy, because the tan will stick more to the parts with an old tan, so keep that in mind.

I would also recommend shaving 24 hours before applying tan just because the skin gets inflamed and you can get micro-cuts that you don’t even know are there. Before applying self-tan, your skin needs to be calm.

3. Application

If you’re in a hurry and you need to apply self-tan the same day as you exfoliated, I would recommend taking a quick, cold shower before you self-tan. That way, your pores will close faster and the skin will be prepared for a coat of your favorite self-tanner.

Bondi Sands Dark Self Tanning Foam | Lightweight, Self-Tanner Foam Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut Provides an Even, Streak-Free Tan | 6.76 oz/200 mL
12,957 Reviews
Bondi Sands Dark Self Tanning Foam | Lightweight, Self-Tanner Foam Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut Provides an Even, Streak-Free Tan | 6.76 oz/200 mL
  • Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam is a lightweight, tanner that’s simple to apply and gives a flawless finish, every time; Simply smooth on the weightless self tanning foam for an even, streak-free, bronzed tan
  • Our unique, salon quality formula is enriched with aloe vera and coconut, for the ultimate natural, bronzed glow

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St.Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse, Vegan, Natural & Cruelty Free, 6.7 Fl Oz
1,798 Reviews
St.Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse, Vegan, Natural & Cruelty Free, 6.7 Fl Oz
  • Our most iconic, fool proof formula, this dark tinted tanning mousse is easy-to-apply, streak-free and adapts to your skin tone for up to 10 days wear with no self tan smell. Best for first time tanners or trusted results time and again
  • Quick-drying, long-lasting and lightweight sunless tanning mousse providing 24 hour hydration

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Loving Tan 2 HR Express Mousse, Dark- Streak Free, Natural looking, Professional Strength Sunless Tanner - Up to 5 Self Tan Applications per Bottle, Cruelty Free, Naturally Derived DHA - 6.7 FL Oz
291 Reviews
Loving Tan 2 HR Express Mousse, Dark- Streak Free, Natural looking, Professional Strength Sunless Tanner - Up to 5 Self Tan Applications per Bottle, Cruelty Free, Naturally Derived DHA - 6.7 FL Oz
  • Made By Tan Lovers For Tan Lovers – The 2 HR Express Self-Tanning Mousse gives you a natural looking tan with immediate colour. The quick drying foam dries after just 60 seconds and leaves no sticky residue. Our self tanner is fast-acting and the colour guide can be rinsed off after just two hours. Your tan will continue to develop into a deeper, darker tan over the next 24 hours.
  • Colour Guide Technology – The built-in colour guide contains an instant bronzer making the application foolproof. The colour guide technology ensures an easy, streak-free application every time. Our sunless tanner not only nourishes and hydrates your skin but is deliciously fragrant. Experience a healthy, glowing complexion with every application.

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4. Moisturize

Before you apply self-tanner, you must make sure that your skin is dry. When it comes to applying body lotion, DON’T apply it all over your body; use body lotion only for dry areas such as ankles, knees, and elbows. I also apply it under my armpits and around them.

bondi sands moisturizer application by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

applying-Bondi-Sands-Moisturizer-on-dry-parts-by-Anastasija-Thirsty-for-tan

applying-Moisturizer-on-dry-parts-by-Anastasija-Thirsty-for-tan

If you apply body lotion all over your body, the lotion will go into your pores and your self-tanner will have nowhere to go. You will be tan, but the tan will not develop properly. Therefore, you are probably going to be stuck with a light tan. Also, I would recommend using a light moisturizer for the dry parts, don’t use any type of lotion that’s heavy on the skin.

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You can use those when you’re already showered and tanned, to maintain your tan. You should leave the lotion to soak in and then it is time for application.

Before using any self-tanner, shake it up a little bit and put it on the application mitt. Some also put it directly on their skin and that’s not wrong; I just put it on the application mitt and then squeeze my palms a little, but everybody has a different approach and routine. When it comes to application, I would really suggest starting at the bottom. Why start at the bottom?

5. Start with your legs

Well, if you start at the top of your body, you need to have in mind that you also need to apply self-tanner on your legs. If you would start at the top you would then have to lean over, and you would probably get some streaks on your belly.

applying self tan on the skin by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

applying self tan mousse on stomach by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

So just, start at the bottom and then continue applying self-tanner on your stomach, then your clavicle, arms, and then face.

I also tan my face since I don’t really use any type of foundation, I only use concealer, and I swear whenever I use self-tanner people keep asking me which foundation I am using.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
51 Reviews

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6. Tanning your face

Tanning your face is totally up to you and your skin type, of course. Some people do not use it on their faces, but they use darker foundation to even the tanned skin tone with their foundation, which is totally fine.

applying self tan on face by Anastasija thirsty for tan

Some find it easier if they use self-tanner specially made for face usage; it can be a mousse consistency or even drops. You can take a little bit of your daily moisturizer and pump a few drops into it and then apply it to your face as if you would apply your daily moisturizer.

I’m currently using Collistar’s drops and on average I use around 5-7 drops to tan my face. It looks like I’ll have to use it for a while lol.

Collistar Magic Drops Self Tanning Concentrate 30ml
16 Reviews
Collistar Magic Drops Self Tanning Concentrate 30ml
  • Moisturizing and anti-aging quaities.
  • Self-tanning.

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Your face and palms will be the first to start losing the tan just because we wash our hands on a daily basis, not to mention washing the dishes, and the same goes with the face.

I do double exfoliation before going to bed and that just speeds up losing your tan on your face, but I will change that by starting to use the tanning drops, so I can get that daily glow in.

How to Apply Self-Tanner Evenly by Thirsty for Tan

7. Application mitts

When it comes to application mitts, I really love using the ones that have a separate thumb. I just feel like the thumb gives you that extra support and grip on a completely new level. However, you can try both ones and see which one works the best for you.

self tanning mousse on aa mitt by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

However, the ones that do not come with a separate thumb fall off my palm when I apply my self-tanner, so I only use those if I really have no other choice and I already used all of my “thumb” application mitts.

I also really like it if they are free of elastic at the wrist because then my hand does not feel stuck and I do not have to worry when I do final touches that elastic will leave patches on my wrist. I just want to get quick and easy transitions when it comes to applying self-tanner first on one side and then the other.

Another trick that I developed over the past few years is putting just a little bit of lotion on my palms; I noticed the application mitt gets an amazing grip and it won’t slide off when applying the self-tan.

The BEST one I have ever used are mitts by b.tan. They cost less than $6… The only problem I have is the availability in the EU. I just can’t find them anywhere…

On Sale - $3.50
b.tan Body Self Tanning Mitt | I Don't Want Tan On My Hands - Self Tanning Applicator Glove with Thumb, Streak-Free, Even Application, Velvety Soft, Reusable, Sunless Tan, Body Lotion, Tanning Lotion
1,392 Reviews
b.tan Body Self Tanning Mitt | I Don't Want Tan On My Hands - Self Tanning Applicator Glove with Thumb, Streak-Free, Even Application, Velvety Soft, Reusable, Sunless Tan, Body Lotion, Tanning Lotion
  • SMOOTH APPLICATION. helps create the smoothest, most awesome tan on the planet without the nasty tan hands
  • BEST PRACTICE. slide your hand into mitt.put a small amount of b.tan self tan mousse or lotion onto the mitt. smooth all over your body in circular motions. ta-da! an awesome dark tan with no streaks. designed for lefties or righties - any hand will do!

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What’s next?

After you apply your self-tan, you then stand naked in your bathroom waiting for the tan to sink in. You can either use that time to meditate or scroll on your Instagram or Pinterest, whatever suits you the most. I “speed up” the process by putting on music and dancing around but keeping that heartrate down just so I don’t start sweating like crazy!

Putting on payamas by Anastasija thirsty for tan

wearing loose payamas by Anastasija thirsty for tan

Some even like using baby powder to speed up the drying part. I already tied that technique and it’s really amazing, your skin doesn’t really feel sticky, but I would recommend you get into a dry shower and apply baby powder with a large brush. Why the shower? Well, let’s just say that your floor will turn white and it’s really annoying cleaning that up while you’re already all tanned up.

After you’ve tanned, you jump into your loose pajamas and get into bed. It’s important to dress in loose pajamas because they won’t stick to your skin and cause any patchiness. Another reason is just a feeling you get when anything feels glued on to your body, it’s just not pleasant.

The next day

When you wake up, make sure you take a shower, but be careful! You don’t need to have a whole spa day, just quickly jump into the shower and rinse your body only with water, don’t use any soaps, etc.

When using your towel, make sure you’re gentle; you don’t need to scrub anything, just gently go over your body.

After you’ve showered and dried it’s time for a big fat coat of moisturizer. I absolutely love the moisturizer from Bondi Sands, I swear it leaves your skin so soft and it’s nourishing for tanned skin and it makes your tan stay on you longer.

You can use any type of moisturizers if you want, they will nourish your skin so it won’t get dry. I use moisturizer in the morning and I also apply it before going to bed.

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Remember to always do a good scrub or exfoliate 48 hours before you apply self-tanner, use an application mitt when applying a self-tanner, and please do not do any DIY projects with application mitts, the mitt will cost you less than a package of rubber gloves and socks.

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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