Self Tanning Products

How do Self-Tanning Wipes Work? (Best Ones)

Written by: Anastasija

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There are so many different methods of self-tanning these days, and one of the best things about them is that there’s one to suit everyone. Self-tanning wipes are a newer invention than some of the other products out there, and this is what you need to know about them!

What are self-tanning wipes?

Before we can understand how self-tanning wipes work, it’s useful to know exactly what they are, and their specific purpose in the tanning industry. All of the methods of self-tanning come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages each, but what sets tanning wipes apart from other products? And, in case you’ve never heard of them before, this is what you need to know.

The main purpose of self-tanning wipes, also known as self-tanning towelettes, is to provide an easy, travel-friendly and portable alternative to traditional self-tanning products. It’s no secret that you can ‘top up’ a tan very quickly or easily using a classic mousse, which is where the tanning wipes come in.

Self Tanning Wipes

Usually, these wipes will be individually wrapped, and they’ll come in a larger pack. They’re really easy to use, and all you’ve got to do is gently wipe one of the towelettes all across your body, making sure to cover every area, in just the same way as you would wipe a makeup remover wipe, or something similar. Sometimes, they are used for simply adding to your tan, when it may have turned a little streaky or patchy in places but can also be used to create a more natural-looking tan from scratch.

The tan will take a few hours to develop, and then it should last around a week before fading completely, as long as you keep up with the appropriate maintenance.

Also read: How Long Does Self-Tanner Take To Dry? (Express vs Normal)

How do self-tanning wipes work?

So, we’ve seen the basics of what self-tanning wipes are, but that doesn’t tell us exactly how they work – or if they even do work in the first place. It can be very interesting to find out about how various products like this work, and sometimes it can even help you to improve your tanning experience, once you understand what each step is for. Not to mention, many people would be sceptical about such an easy-to-use item like this one and knowing how it works can uncover the mystery a little.

Step 1: CleanseGently cleanse and exfoliate your skin, paying attention to dry areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles.
Step 2: Open the wipeRemove a self-tanning wipe from the packaging and unfold it.
Step 3: Apply evenlyStarting from your legs and working your way up, apply the self-tanning wipe to your skin in a circular motion.
Step 4: Blend and waitOnce applied, gently blend the product into your skin using circular motions. Allow the product to dry completely.
Step 5: Wash your handsWash your hands thoroughly after application to avoid staining.
Step 6: Develop the tanWait for the recommended time mentioned in the product instructions for the tan to develop fully.
Step 7: MoisturizeAfter the recommended development time, moisturize your skin to maintain the tan and prolong its longevity.
Table 1: How Self-Tanning Wipes Work

In case you didn’t already know, dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is an ingredient found in just about every single sunless tanning product there is out there, and it’s the main active ingredient in all of them. Essentially, it’s a chemical which is designed to react with your skin once the two come into contact with each other, and this reaction produces a pigment.

tan skin

Because this pigment is produced as a result of a reaction with your skin, it sits on the upper layers of the skin cells, and that’s why it can stay around for longer than makeup, as it’s bonded to the skin. Many people are a little alarmed when they discover that this all takes place as a result of a chemical reaction with the skin, but it’s worth noting that this is completely safe, and the process causes no harm whatsoever.

Perform a patch testBefore using the self-tanning wipes on your entire body, perform a patch test on a small area to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.
Exfoliate beforehandFor best results, exfoliate your skin before using self-tanning wipes to ensure a smooth and even application.
Use sparingly on dry areasDry areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles tend to absorb more product. Use the self-tanning wipes sparingly on these areas to avoid uneven results.
Blend carefullyTake your time to blend the self-tanning product evenly into your skin, focusing on areas prone to streaking or buildup.
Follow the product instructionsAlways read and follow the instructions provided with the self-tanning wipes for the best application and development results.
Gradual tan applicationIf you prefer a lighter tan, start with a single application and gradually build up the color by applying additional wipes as desired.
Maintain and extend the tanTo maintain and extend the longevity of your tan, moisturize your skin regularly and avoid activities that may cause excessive sweating or rubbing.
Table 2: Tips for Using Self-Tanning Wipes

With self-tanning wipes, the DHA is contained in the substance absorbed in the wipes, and this liquid-like material is transferred to the skin when wiped on. However, unlike a tanning product such as a mousse, there is no guide colour (the dark colour you see when applying the tan) there to help with the application, and the substance dries quite quickly on your skin. This means that you can get on with your day whilst the colour slowly develops on your skin.

What are the best self-tanning wipes?

Now that you know a little bit about self-tanning wipes, you may be interested in purchasing some of your own, but it can be very tricky to find the best ones, especially as they’re a less common product. There’s no need to fear, however, as there are two recommendations below to get you started.

L’Oréal Paris Skincare Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes

On Sale - $2.48
L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Towelettes, Streak-Free, Natural Looking Tan, 6 ct
  • L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes: Convenient and easy to use, these Sublime Bronze Towelettes deliver a streak-free, natural looking tan; With enough self-tanner for one application, each towelette is perfect for at home or on the go
  • Sunless tanner: Formulated with Vitamin E and AHAs for a streak-free, natural-looking instant glow; Soft, smooth, sunless tan develops in 2-4 hours

If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

L’Oréal is a big name in the beauty industry, so you can be sure to trust what they have on offer. For less than $10, you can try some of the best tanning wipes out there. You will be promised a natural, sun-kissed look in just 2-4 hours after the initial application!

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow for Face

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow for Face: for Dull Skin Lacking Radiance & Glow, (20 Towelettes)
  • WHAT IT IS: A self-tanning towelette for face that develops a rich color while providing exfoliating and anti-aging benefits.
  • WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: A streak-free, natural looking tan that fully develops within 3-4 hours. This quick-drying formula is enriched with vitamin D to intensify the color of your tan while exfoliating Alpha Beta ingredients to provide anti-aging benefits and ensure an even application. Delivered in perfectly-dosed towelettes offering a convenient, mess-free application every time.

If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

You may have heard of Dr Dennis Gross before, and they’re a luxury skincare brand full of innovative ideas and formulas. These glow pads are designed for use on the face and, while the price may seem very high, you do get 20 towelettes in one pack, which justifies it a little. Your face will be looking glowy and bronzed without any makeup!

Final thoughts

As you can see, self-tanning wipes are a great option for anyone who’s constantly on the go and doesn’t have much time to spare for waiting around whilst a self-tanning mousse is absorbed into the skin. They’re also great for topping up your colour whilst travelling, and taking with you in your handbag, in case of an emergency tanning fix!

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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