Many of us are aware of the damages that the sun has on our skin as well as the horrible effects of tanning beds. Although laying by the pool and soaking up the sun for a few hours is a great way to get a sun kissed glow, for some skin types, like my own, developing a tan is a long process which can be damaging to our skin. Personally, I am more prone to sun burning before ever having Bahama bronzed skin, so self-tanning is something I like to do to add colour to my skin without any sun damage. Whether or not you would prefer to self tan than lay outside, or you are just looking to up your skin tone, self-tanning is a safe and easy way to achieve glowing skin. There are many self-tanners on the market all ranging from different formulas, colours and application techniques. From mousses, sprays and lotions, finding the best self-tanner for yourself can be very overwhelming. I have tried many self-tanners on the market (Fake Bake, Million Dollar Tan, Jergen’s, L’oreal) and my current favourite is the St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse which I will be reviewing down below. So if you’re interested in learning about sunless tanning, keep reading to learn my self-tanning routine!
- Step 1: Exfoliate!!
Exfoliating is the number one most important step when self-tanning. Not only does it make your skin soft and clean, but it removes any dead skin cells and excess oils to avoid the self-tanner from clinging to any dry patches and looking splotchy. To exfoliate, I get into the shower and wash my body with any cleanser and then proceed with my exfoliating scrub. There are many great oil based scrubs; however, if you do use one, ensure that you completely remove the oil residue from your skin before applying the tanner as the oil will create a barrier between the tanner and your skin and cause it to not develop properly. After scrubbing, the next type of exfoliating I do is shave! Shaving, like scrubbing, removes the top layer of dead skin which creates a smooth canvas for the tan to absorb into. Exfoliating your skin will also make your tan last a lot longer since the skin is so fresh and even in texture, it won’t have an dry skin to cling to and flake off (as gross as that sounds lol). Once I am finished exfoliating, I hop out of the shower and pat dry!
- Step 2: Moisturize
After my shower, I like to moisturize my entire body, focusing a lot of product on the naturally dry areas (wrists, elbows, knees, ankles). Make sure that the moisturizer has completely absorbed into the skin before applying the tan to avoid the tanner from sliding around on the moisturizer. Once it is absorbed, the tan is ready to be applied!
- Step 3: Applying your tan
Once the skin is prepped, you are ready to apply your tan. Like I mentioned before, I use the St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse which retails at Shoppers, Ulta and Sephora for $49.50 CAN for 6.7 oz. St. Tropez also sells different formulas in their collection so don’t feel that you need to purchase this exact one. I use the shade “Dark” which is the darkest formula they sell. To apply this tan, I use the St. Tropez Tan Applicator Mitt which can also be purchased at Shoppers, Ulta and Sephora for $7.50 CAN.
To begin, I normally apply my tan on my arms and chest area and work my way down to my stomach and legs. To start with my arms, I put the tanning mitt on my hand and apply 2 pumps of the tanner and begin rubbing it all over my arms. I never apply the tanner directly to my elbow and hands, as it can tend to look splotchy since the tan clings to dryer areas. So once I finish blending my arms, I take whatever excess is on the mitt and rub it over my elbow and hands. I also do this same technique with my knees and ankles. With my stomach, I use about 2 pumps, 2 pumps again on my thighs and 2 on the bottom half of my leg. Be sure to blend your tan in the trickier areas like under your arms and on your neck to completely even out the tan. Allow the tan to dry on the skin and the application is complete!
- Step 4: Developing your tan
Once your tan is applied and fully dried on the skin, throw on something loose and baggy. Wearing tight clothing like spandex, leggings or jeans will only restrict your tan from developing properly, so baggy clothes like an over sized tee is the best way to go. Personally, I like showering and applying my tan before bed, giving it around 6-8 hours to develop overnight. Waiting the night ensures that your tan will develop correctly since you won’t be in any humid environments where you will be sweating or getting wet. If you do decide to apply your tan and allow it to develop throughout the day, this is okay, as long as you are careful that you don’t get wet or are intensely sweating (so avoid swimming, showering, humid weather and going to the gym for 6-8 hours after the tan is applied). Sleeping when the tan is applied is the best way to ensure that your tan is flawless and streak free!
- Step 5: Lather, rinse repeat!
After having waited 6-8 hours for the tan to develop, which is usually morning time for me, I hop in the shower and rinse off the tan! The water will run a brown/orange colour which is just the colour guard coming off, not your tan! I like to squirt some body wash on my hands and just go over my body to remove any colour guard left. Once you’re finished in the shower and dry off, your tan is complete and you are ready to flaunt it.
- Step 6: Keeping up with your tan
Now that you have achieved the perfect tan, there are a few tips and tricks in prolonging your tan and having it last to its full potential. Number one is to resist from exfoliating your skin. Exfoliating removes the first layer of your skin, so if you exfoliate, your tan will begin to fade and can sometimes look patchy. Shaving is also not recommended as it acts as an exfoliant. Secondly, moisturizing your skin is a great way to keep your tan lasting as it keeps your skin hydrated and moist so your skin won’t become dry and flake off with your tan. I moisturize daily when I wear fake tan and always ensure to apply moisturizer when I leave the shower. With these steps, your tan should last anywhere from 5-10 days depending on your skin type and how you care for your tan.
I recommend St. Tropez for anyone looking for a natural looking tan. Unlike many self-tanners, St. Tropez has a green undertone opposed to an orange undertone which gives your skin a beautiful, natural looking olive tan. I also love this tanner as I find that when the tan does begin to lose its colour, it fades evenly opposed to fading more or less in different areas of your body. Overall, this tanner is by far the most natural looking on the market. Posted below there are photos of myself before and after with the St. Tropez self-tanner so you can truly see the difference it makes in your skin tone.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my self-tanning routine! I hope you learned a few things and this helped those of you in search of the perfect self-tanner.
Talk to you soon! Xx