Tips to applying the perfect DIY Self Tan at home


With Winter upon us in Australia, it means less beach time and more layers, but alas, this doesn’t mean the self tanning should stop! Tanning is great all year round, but particularly in the cooler months when we rug up more and our bodies aren’t as exposed to as much sunshine..I know my skin goes more pasty white than ever!

That is one of the reasons I love self tanning though. You can maintain a nice glow all year round no matter what the season, but it’s also the fact I reckon self tanning is far more economical (if you are forking out on professional spray tans all the time, that’s some serious dollars adding up!).

I know self tanning at home can be a dreaded practice if not done correctly. I was once a newbie at the whole self tanning game. In fact in high school, I had my fair share of semi bad oopa-loopa moments that I am not proud of, but those days are far behind me! After completing my Diploma of Beauty Therapy many years ago, I guess it now comes second nature to know how to correctly and prep and apply for a tan.

And here are some useful DIY tips…



Don’t underestimate the importance of prepping for a tan! Exfoliating is the number one rule (in my humble opinion) to the perfect spray tan. Exfoliating your entire body will get rid of any dead skin cells on the skin’s surface leaving the skin nice and smooth. This is great as the tan will stick better to your skin and will also make the tan last longer! Tip* once exfoliated do not put any moisturizer on – it will act as a barrier and the tan won’t penetrate into your skin like it should.


Get rid of hair

If you need to shave or wax your legs, underarms etc make sure you do this before you even think about applying any tan. You most definitely don’t want to be putting on tan only to realise a day or two later you needed to shave your legs! Just a thought….


Find the right product

There are sooo many products on the market and each and every one differ in ingredients, application (spray bottle, mousse, lotion), colour shades and also vary in price. If this isn’t a headache already, I certainly believe it is the product in use that really makes the overall difference! It’s really a matter of experimenting with different brands before you find a great one that not only sits well on your skin and suits your complexity, (avoid ‘dark’ tans if you are naturally pale, go for a light/meduium etc) but one that looks super natural and healthy on you. I personally use St Tropez Mousse and have been for years. I find it really easy to apply, plus it looks completely natural and doesn’t stain!


Moisturise dry spots

Typically dry areas such as feet, elbows and joints (and particularly if you get eczema) develop darker than anywhere else on the body. Apply a moisturizer to these areas and it will create a barrier.


Plan ahead

You need to take into account the process time of the tan..some tans take 2 hours others take 8. This can certainly play a factor in the time of day you apply it (before bed works well) but also whether or not you should apply it a day or two ahead if you have a special event coming up etc. This will ensure you can always increase the colour by applying more than one coat if need be. If you go to gym daily, apply it after your workout not before!


Applying the product

If you don’t know where to begin, start on the biggest body parts first (stomach, back for e,g) before proceeding on to the smaller areas – I usually avoid tanning my feet , top of hands and face though (I use a separate St Tropez tanning face cream and apply on my face just as I would my moisturizer or alternatively, use a BB cream or foundation one shade or two darker than your natural colour).
Also, when you are applying the product, use circular motions to evenly coat the tan and blend it over your body for an even finish. On that note, you don’t have to use your hands either, you can purchase tanning mits so your hands don’t stain. I personally find I don’t get along with those so great though so I prefer to use my hands and wash them immediately after. Everyone is different though!


Wear loose clothing

Try and avoid wearing anything tight and heavy like jeans after you apply tan and instead opt for loose clothing. This makes sleeping in your tan overnight so great as you don’t have a bra to worry about either! But alas, for daytime wear, think loose clothing until you wash your tan off as anything too tight, you will raise the risk of the tanning rubbing off.


Moisturise daily after

Want your tan to last longer? Apply moisturiser daily to your bod and you will get a longer lasting tan. Gotta keep your body hydrated! Dry skin definitely doesn’t hold a tan as well as moisturised skin does. Also, some tanning products aren’t exactly cheap, so you’d want to be getting the absolute most out of each application.


Practise makes perfect

If you are new to DIY tanning or fairly new, the first few times may not be perfect and maybe even a little patchy, but that is completely fine! The more you practice applying tan, the better you will get and you will master the art in to no time.


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