How to Self-Tan from Head to Toe

We know at-home tanning can be intimidating. Don't let the multitude of tanning products overwhelm you or a fear of streaky orange skin stop you. We're here to guide you through it all with a how-to for achieving a natural-looking, sun-kissed and glowing tan from head to toe in two easy steps.

Step 1: Exfoliate

Exfoliating is a must if you want a long-lasting and even tan. Removing the top layer of dead skin cells allows your products to soak into the skin more effectively. Exfoliating also helps smooth the skins surface so the tanner can be applied evenly and won't leave irregular dark patches or streaks.

Exfoliator for the Face

M-61 PowerGlow Peel

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M-61 PowerGlow® Peel

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Use an exfoliator with glycolic or salicylic acid (this one has both!) to remove dead skin cells and reduce pore size. This will prep the skin to absorb color more evenly.

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Exfoliator for the Body

Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub

 

Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub

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Exfoliate your body with a scrub. This will smooth the skin and reveal fresh skin cells that will better absorb the self-tanner for a longer lasting and even tan.

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Editor's Tip: Avoid any oil-based products because they will leave a residue on your skin and cause a streaky tan.

Step 2: Apply Self Tanner

Don't be afraid to apply liberally. Applying more won’t result in a darker color, but if you don’t apply enough you'll end up with an uneven tan. Lastly, make sure to wipe palms and fingernails completely clean after application to remove DHA residue and avoid that streaky, tell-tale sign of a false tan.

Self-Tanner for the Face

St.Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Face Lotion in Medium to Dark

St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Face Lotion in Medium to Dark

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Apply a small dab of tanner to areas of your skin where the sun would naturally hit like the bridge of your nose, apples of your cheeks, chin and forehead. Then, blend outwards and be careful not to over-apply tanner above the lip.

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Self-Tanner for the Body

TanTowel Classic Full Body Fair/Medium (5 Pack)

TanTowel Classic Full Body Fair/Medium (5 Pack)

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Start at the feet and ankles and work your way up, saving your arms for last. This will prevent unnatural marks and creases caused by bending over. If you use a mouse or lotion, attach a self-tanning mitt like James Read Tanning Mitt with a long-handled brush to apply tanner to hard-to-reach areas.

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Editor's Tip: Choose your self-tanner based on your skin tone, not on your desired level of tan. Fair skin tones should choose a light to medium color, and olive and darker skin tones should choose medium to dark.

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