How to Self-Tan at Home, According to Experts


When Drake said, “Started from the bottom, now we’re here,” here probably didn’t mean on the receiving end of a fabulous at-home self-tan, but we’re choosing to interpret it that way. That’s because starting the self-tanner application process way down at your ankles is one of the most important tips experts give when it comes to doing your own faux glow — and one of many must-know pointers we’ve collected for you here.

With so many of us choosing to do our favorite salon- and spa-based beauty treatments at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was inevitable that some of us spray-tan fans would attempt to apply self-tanner on our own. Unfortunately, if it isn’t done well, it’s one of the most obvious DIWY — did it wrong yourself — beauty projects one can undertake. But a perfectly even, natural-looking self-tan is doable with the help of some smart prep steps and a small arsenal of skin-care products, some of which you might already have hanging around in your bathroom.

If you’re new to or not so self-assured with self-tanner, the tips below will be especially effective if you take it easy and go with a lighter-toned formula at first. “Once you get used to using a classic shade and you wish to go darker, you will have the confidence to use the darkest formula,” says self-tanning expert and St. Tropez brand ambassador Sophie Evans. After you achieve the flawless, sunless tan you sought, certain measures can be taken to prolong it. Wash with a gentle cleanser, make sure your skin is always moisturized, and avoid using retinols and acne treatments, which can dissolve color on your face. 

But before you worry about maintaining your self-tan, first you have to achieve one you actually want to maintain. We’ve got the expert tips, tricks, and product recommendations that will make that not only possible but probable. 

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