Self-tanning, also known as sunless tanning or fake tanning, is a method of achieving a tan without exposing your skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Instead, self-tanning products are used to darken the skin temporarily. You can achieve a natural self-tan at home by following these steps:
- Self-tanning product (lotion, cream, mousse, gel, or spray)
- Exfoliating scrub
- Disposable gloves or a tanning mitt
- Optional: Barrier cream for hands, feet, and elbows
Steps for Self-Tanning at Home:
Prepare Your Skin:
- Start by exfoliating your skin to remove dead skin cells. This will ensure a smoother and more even application of the self-tanner. Pay special attention to areas like your knees, elbows, and ankles, which tend to be drier and may absorb more product.
Moisturise Dry Areas:
- Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser to areas that are typically dry or rough, such as your knees, elbows, and ankles. This will help prevent the self-tanner from clinging to these areas and creating dark patches.
Optional Barrier Cream:
- Apply a small amount of a barrier cream to your hands, feet, and elbows to further prevent excessive tanning in these areas.
Put on Gloves or Use a Tanning Mitt:
- Wear disposable gloves or use a tanning mitt to protect your hands from getting stained by the self-tanning product.
- Dispense a small amount of self-tanning product onto your mitt or gloved hand and start applying it evenly to your skin. Begin with your legs and work your way up to your torso, arms, and face. Use long, smooth strokes to prevent streaks.
Use Less on Joints:
- When applying to joints (knees, elbows, and ankles), use less product or dilute it with moisturiser to achieve a more natural look.
Avoid Hairline and Nails:
- Be cautious near your hairline, eyebrows, and nails to avoid staining. You can use a damp cloth to gently wipe away any product that gets on these areas.
Wait for Drying:
- Allow the self-tanner to dry completely. This may take a few minutes, so be patient and avoid touching your skin.
Shower or Wait for Development:
- Depending on the product, you may need to wait a few hours before showering to remove any excess product. Some self-tanners continue to develop over several hours to reach their full colour.
Moisturise for Maintenance:
- After your initial shower, use a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated. This will help extend the life of your self-tan.
Reapply as Needed:
- The tan from self-tanning products is temporary and will gradually fade as your skin sheds dead cells. To maintain the tan, you can reapply the self-tanner as desired.
It's essential to follow the specific instructions provided by the self-tanning product you choose for the best results. Experiment with different products and shades to find the one that best suits your skin tone and desired level of tan.