How to get the best out of your self tanner

Best ways to apply self tanner

(David Stesner)

Haphazard self-tanner applications may fade, but the pictures will live on Facebook forever. Follow these ten steps to score a faux glow that looks natural.

If you need to get a wax or a manicure, touch up your hair color, or shave your legs, do it before applying any self-tanner. "All of those treatments can remove self-tanner," says spray tanner Anna Stankiewicz of Louise O'Connor Salon in New York City.

View gallery

Exfoliate your skin

(Dan Drury)


Self-tanner sinks into dry skin, leaving dark patches that look entirely unnatural (and, let's be honest, a little gross). Slough away any flakes on your body with a coarse scrub, focusing on rough spots like the knees, elbows, ankles, and heels.

For your face, use a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid and a skin brush such as the Clarisonic Aria (starting at $200, Yahoo! Shopping) to remove dead, dull skin.

Avoid anything oil-based, since it leaves behind residue that causes streaks, Stankiewicz says.

(See more: Beauty must-haves for spring 2013)

Dry off first

(David Stesner)


We know, we know—this one seems way too obvious. But after showering, towel off and wait ten minutes until you're 100 percent dry.

Soften the skin

(Regan Cameron)


So we just said to make sure you're completely, totally, not-a-drop-of-water-on-you dry, but you'll need to add a little moisture back into your skin before you get to the self-tanner.

Dab a lightweight lotion around your nostrils, knees, elbows, and ankles (as well as any other dry spots) to keep them from turning dark or orange, Stankiewicz says.

Our picks? DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew ($42, for our face and Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 15 ($10.61, for our body.

Pick out your self-tanner

(David Stesner)


"I think mousses are the easiest to rub in, but sprays are great for hard-to-reach areas," Stankiewicz says.

The rule of thumb? Choose a self-tanner for your skin tone, not your desired result. Go with a light to medium formula if you have fair skin and a dark formula for olive tones. If you opt for a gradual formula, remember that it can take two to four applications to reach the right shade.

St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse ($44, is one of our favorites for body, while we love Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning For Face and Décolleté ($35 on for our face.

How to apply self tanner

(David Stesner)


This technique separates gorgeous sunless glows from bad fake tans. With clean hands (or latex gloves, if you prefer), smooth on self-tanner in circular motions approximately one teaspoon at a time.

Start at your ankles and work your way up to your shoulders to prevent any weird marks when you bend over, and save your arms and hands for last.

Self tanner for the face

(Tesh Patel)


You've come too far to get careless now. Dab a dime-size amount of formula where you'd naturally tan (your forehead, the apples of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, and your chin) and blend outward with your fingertips.

Be extra careful around the nose and above the top lip—these areas pick up more color because they tend to be drier. Using what's left on your fingers, feather the tanner out into your hairline and past the jawbone. Wash your hands immediately after you finish.

View gallery

Stop tanner from transferring to clothing

(Roger Cabello)


Give the formula extra time to dry. "If the directions say five minutes, wait ten," Stankiewicz says. Then brush a talc-free baby powder all over. "It stops the tanner from transferring to your clothes," she says. Avoid showering or sweating for 6 to 8 hours.

View gallery

Rub a lemon on if streaks appear

(David Cook)


Self-tanner mistakes happen, but there's no need to start from scratch when they do. If streaks or splotches appear, Stankiewicz recommends rubbing half a lemon on the area for two minutes before lightly buffing it with a damp towel.

View gallery

Preserving your tan

(David Stesner)


We can't guarantee how long your bronze will last, but certain measures can be taken to prolong it.

Wash with a gentle cleanser and make sure your skin is always moisturized. Avoid using retinols and acne treatments, which can dissolve color on your face. When you're ready to refresh your skin, exfoliate and begin the cycle again.

More at Allure:

Lauren Conrad's Beauty Obsession

How to Wear Bangs

Celebrity Hairstyles That Will Make You Look 10 Years Younger

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Angry grizzly bear charges couple twice; what they did possibly saved their lives

      John and Lisa Vandenbos were scouting for fishing spots along the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park on Saturday when they spotted an adult grizzly bear feeding on a partially consumed carcass. The grizzly bear was obviously surprised and was in no mood to share in its bounty, so it immediately charged the couple, coming to within 9 feet, according to Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin. Fortunately, the couple from Bozeman, Montana, were prepared and both quickly discharged their bear spray. “The bear initially left,” Warthin wrote. “When attempting to charge the couple again, it ran into the original cloud of bear spray. Upon making contact with the cloud, the bear retreated q
    • Megan Fox Shares First Photo Of Predictably Gorgeous Baby Son

      When Megan Fox mates with a 90210 alum, magical things happen.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Anna Kendrick Reveals One Thing Justin Timberlake Is Not Good at, Finally

      Trolls star Anna Kendrick was on Ellen on Wednesday, where she spilled the beans about her co-star Justin Timberlake. Host Ellen DeGeneres brought up the fact that Timberlake seems to be good at everything he does. Kendrick, though, spent a lot of time with him on their press tour for the film and says that’s not true. While on the tour, Kendrick claims, she witnessed Timberlake’s fumbling attempts to figure out social media.

      Superfan TV
    • Woman writes bad Yelp review because of a bodega cat, and the internet destroys her

      Don't mess with the bodega cats. Walk into any corner store a.k.a bodega in New York City, and you'll find a variety of household goods, beer, probably a deli and almost definitely a resident cat. The cats keep the rats and mice away and in return, they get to hang out inside and take naps on the chip shelf. @georgeferrer A photo posted by Bodega Cats (@bodegacatsofinstagram) on Oct 11, 2016 at 4:54am PDT Usually New Yorkers tend to ignore that bodega cats may be a health code violation, because most people would prefer to see cats hanging around than rats. But recently, one Yelper decided to break the golden bodega cat rule, and gave S.K. Deli Market in the East Village a 1 star review after noticing her bodega had a cat chilling on a stack of Budweisers. Big mistake. Reviewer Diana D, who has since deleted her post, claimed she had ordered from the bodega before, but decided to pick up her food instead of getting it delivered. That's when she noticed the adorable cat protecting its store. You gotta be a miserable gentrifying ass bitch to yelp about the bodega cat — سنكامي (@SynKami) October 24, 2016 "Besides being allergic, I wonder what the health code say(s) about this?" Diana asked in her review.  Twitter user SynKami took a screen grab of the review and shared it to his followers, harshly calling out Diana  for complaining about the bodega cat. Twitter promptly erupted, and the tweet has racked up more than 7,800 retweets at the time of writing. @SynKami @asherahresearch does she realize the cat is there to keep the rats away. Dumbazz — jaja (@JaJasTweets) October 24, 2016 @SynKami tbh, I don't trust a bodega that doesn't have a cat — Carlos LaBestia (@Arturo_Ulises) October 25, 2016 S.K. Deli Market's Yelp page was flooded with positive reviews on Wednesday, supporting both the deli and cat, who's name is Ciao Bella, according to one Yelper.   According to a piece published in the New York Times about the controversy over bodega cats, fines could cost the bodega $300 to $2,000. However, a fine for rodent feces found in a store can also land a bodega with a $300 fine. "It’s hard for bodega owners because they’re not supposed to have a cat, but they’re also not supposed to have rats,” José Fernández, the president of the Bodega Association of the United States, told the New York Times.

    • 10 Truly Strange Facts Surrounding Princess Diana's Death

      Of all the conspiracy theories of the last few decades, the ones that surround the death of former royal Diana are some of the most colorful. While it hasn’t been proven to any significant level that her death was anything other than a tragic accident, there are several intriguing aspects of the whole affair that can’t be simply dismissed. It is perhaps important to remember that the jury in the official inquiry into Diana’s death found that she and Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed and not victims of accidental death, as much of the media reported at the time. 10 Swapping Cars At The Last Moment Although they had used a particular Mercedes throughout the day of their deaths in Paris, when Diana

      Listverse q
    • Miss Manners: Generous tip is a suitable response to losing one’s lunch.

      October 27 at 12:00 AM Dear Miss Manners: I was out to lunch today with my girlfriend at a fairly nice place, when I happened to get sick at lunch and vomited, not in the restroom, but in the dining area. The wait staff was incredibly pleasant, remade our meal and cleaned up the puke. I realize that most people leave 20 percent to 22 percent when they have had superlative service. We tipped about 30 percent. Is that sufficient, or should we have tipped equivalent to our bill? Well, what percentage of the meal was actually returned? Miss Manners assures you that a 30 percent tip is generous. While not a pleasant task to perform, cleaning up is unfortunately part of the wait staff’s job. And surely

      Washington Post q
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • Jason Chaffetz's announcement he's voting for Donald Trump is not going over too well

      Rep. Jason Chaffetz isn't getting any head pats for his decision to "not defend or endorse" Donald Trump while still voting for him. After the Access Hollywood recording featuring Trump making vulgar comments about women came out earlier this month, the Utah Republican said he could "no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine." Later, he went on MSNBC and told Lawrence O'Donnell, "How in the world could I look my 15-year-old daughter in the eye and say, honey you know what your dad endorses Donald Trump for president, and I can't do the end of the day I've got to look at myself in the mirror and say, I call balls and strikes as I see them, and you know what, no matter which party, if you're going to act like that and that's how you think, you're not gonna get my endorsement, you're not gonna get my support. On Twitter Wednesday night, Chaffetz — whose handle @jasoninthehouse sounds like a Disney Channel show from the '90s — announced that he will vote for Trump because "HRC is that bad.

      The Week q
    • Tom Cruise ‘Serious’ With Girlfriend of Several Months

      Four years after his divorce from Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise has found love again — Us has all the details

      Us Weekly
    • VIDEO: Man pistol whips scary clown prankster in California

      A video showing a man dressed as a clown scaring random people in Northern California has gone viral after one man pistol whipped the prankster.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • The Weirdest Marriage Advice Your Great, Great Grandmother Ever Received (10 photos)

      There's one thing absent-minded husband and wives really weren't supposed to do. From Country Living

      Country Living
    • The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music

      Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced 19 nominees for its class of 2017. Five of these nominees will be inducted into the Hall. I am certain many of the Hall’s members and voters mean well, and I have heard nice things about their museum (which I have not visited). But the Hall, as it exists now, is so deeply flawed that it risks not only having a lack of credibility, but also a lack of validity. In other words, it doesn’t just make mistakes; the mistakes seem to be endemic, built into the fabric of the organization. And you know what? Rock ’n roll deserves better. Rock ’n roll (by which I mean any and all manifestations of music-based expression and art, from King Oliver to Tony

      The New York Observer q
    • Michael Massee, Actor Who Accidentally Killed Brandon Lee During Filming of 'The Crow,' Dies at 61

      Michael Massee, the actor who unfortunately will forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and killed Brandon Lee on the set of the 1994 film The Crow, has died. Massee’s death was first announced by actor Anthony Delon and confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of his agent at Greene & Associates in Los Angeles. In just his second movie appearance, Massee was playing a character known as Funboy when he fired a revolver that had been improperly prepared by crew members at Brandon Lee, the son of famed martial arts star Bruce Lee.

      The Hollywood Reporter
    • So, one of your favorite alcoholic beverages is basically like taking cocaine, science says

      The next time you’re in the mood to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, you might want to think twice about ordering a Red…

      Hello Giggles
    • Clinton ally on emails: 'They wanted to get away with it'

      The email from Neera Tanden, who currently helps run Clinton's transition team, is dated March 2, 2015, the day The New York Times revealed that Clinton had used a homebrew email server while serving as secretary of state rather than her secured government account. While the FBI concluded earlier this year that federal charges against Clinton were not justified in the case, the issue has dogged her campaign to become America's first woman president. Tanden, the president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, was trading messages with John Podesta, who was at the time preparing to chair Clinton's campaign.

    • Russell Westbrook's reaction to this 76ers fan's middle fingers is the best

      The start of the NBA season brings lots of excitement for fans. Many of the best athletes in the world are back on our TV screens on a nightly basis, and storylines such as Kevin Durant’s first games with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first attempts to defend their historic title loom large. Also, sometimes an angry Philadelphia 76ers fan in an Allen Iverson jersey flips off Russell Westbrook and elicits one of the funniest reactions you’ll ever see.

      Ball Don't Lie
    • Newt Gingrich Kicked Off ‘Fox & Friends’ Guest List After Megyn Kelly Blowup

      After his on-air blowup with Megyn Kelly Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich may be getting the cold shoulder from Fox News Channel. The former Speaker of the House was supposed to be a guest on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends” morning show, but he did not appear on the program, which aired just hours after a bizarrely heated exchange between Gingrich and Kelly on live TV. The longtime GOP leader accused the anchor of being “fascinated with sex” in the ongoing scandals over Donald Trump and his treatment of women.

      The Wrap
    • Self-made millionaire: Don't put money in your 401(k)

      Grant Cardone has other ideas about how to get well-positioned for retirement.

    • Woman Who Pushed Husband Out of a High-Rise Apartment Hangs Herself in Prison

      An Oklahoma woman has killed herself in prison five years after she was convicted of pushing her husband to his death