Self-tanning is a nice way to get a warm glow, but, to do it right, requires a little time and preparation. Fortunately, the process isn’t difficult, just read up on the instructions ahead of time, and plan your self-tanning for a time when you are not rushed.
Don’t Neglect a Test Patch
Allergic reactions to self-tanning products are rare, but not unheard of. Considering how uncomfortable a rash or other allergic reaction could be over your entire body, however, it makes sense to perform a patch test 24 to 48 hours before you self-tan. You can make sure you don’t have a reaction, and get an idea on how the color looks on your skin.
Don’t self-tan irritated skin, so wax at least 24 hours before self-tanning, and shave at least 12 hours in advance. Stay away from deodorant, essential oils and perfumes as well during this time, as all of these items can interfere with the self-tanners ability to process evenly. Use an exfoliating product before you self-tan, to remove dry skin, which will absorb the tanning product unevenly. Follow up with a water based moisturizer to hydrate skin so it will absorb the product nicely.
Have The Right Supplies
In addition to the self-tanner of your choice, have tight fitting, disposable gloves, a water based moisturizer and cotton swabs on hand. You don’t want to go searching for these items once you get started. Ideally, once you start self-tanning, you will have several uninterrupted hours. Once you apply the tanner, the longer you can allow it to process before doing anything else, the better your results will be.
Start at the Bottom
Apply your preferred tanner, starting at your feet and working your way up. This keeps you from smudging still damp tanner by leaning over. If you are not using disposable gloves, wash your hands frequently during the application process. If you wait until the very end, your palms will probably be stained orange. Once you have applied self-tanner to your entire body, go back and use a towel to lightly buff the areas such as your knees and ankles, that may accumulate self-tanner.
Give it Time
Most people find self-tanning best as a evening time event. After you apply the self- tanner, you want to let it dry completely before getting dressed. Even then, some transfer is likely, so loose fitting, dark colored clothes are best. You also don’t want to sweat, swim, shower or bathe for at least six hours after applying self-tanner. Tanning at night allows you to sit around for a bit to dry, then go to bed, minimizing the chances of smudging your tan.