The Ultimate Guide to Self Tan Application

Organic Sun CareThe most intelligent tan around is also the most tricky to achieve. This extensive guide will be sure to make the application of your self tan so smooth that you will never be tempted to go bronze by baking your bod in the sun again!


  • Do not shave your legs for several hours before applying self tan. Shaving also exfoliates, so it might be a good idea to shave a day before adding the self tan. The same applies for waxing.
  • Exfoliate with a body scrub while you shower or bathe.
  • Either use your hands or a soft cotton washcloth to scrub as nylon or loofah scrubs can cause a streaky effect.
  • Self tanners won’t work if your skin is damp. Be sure to dry off thoroughly and then wait for your skin to return to it’s normal temperature.


  • Use a sponge paintbrush, available at any hardware store, to apply self tanner to your back. Wash the paintbrush first and let it air dry before applying.
  • If you’re not to keen on the idea of a paintbrush, rinse out a baby wipe and let it dry. Add your self tan lotion to the wipe and apply. Keep adding self tan lotion to the wipe whenever it starts to feel dry. You should expect use about two wipes for a full body tan.
  • Wash your hands at least every five minutes while applying. Use a soapy nailbrush to scrub your palms, fingers and fingernails.
  • You could also wear latent gloves (you can buy these from your chemist) but don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards as a precaution as some self tan may have seeped underneath the gloves.
  • Rub your elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, tops of feet and the back of your hands five minutes after applying your self tan with a little body lotion to lighten the effect.
  • If you are applying a normal body self tan to your face and neck, apply a lightweight lotion to your face and neck first, letting it soak in for ten minutes. This prevents the sunless tanner from gathering in areas with fine lines.
  • The skin on your lips and nipples is basically unaffected by self tan so go right over them when you apply the self tan. Trying to avoid those areas can lead to a buildup along their borders.
  • Don’t put self tan on the bikini area as it does not absorb well there.
  • Scars are a bit unpredictable. Mostly, they darken very little or not at all. The more recent the scar, the less sunless tanner it will absorb.
  • Remember that stretch marks are scars. Older stretchmarks will be disguised by sunless tanners; new ones will not absorb the lotion and may look more prominent. Keep in mind that stretch marks and scars don’t tan in the sun, either. In fact the sun can impair further healing.
  • Did You Know?

    All self-tanners contain a chemical called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which temporarily stains (within about an hour) the uppermost layer of your skin. It is hard to stop this process once it has started, so it is important to apply the product correctly to begin with.

  • Your belly button could darken too much. Rub it with a cotton swab dipped in lotion after you apply the sunless tanning lotion.
  • If you still wind up with dark blotches, have a shower after the tanner has finished and gently scrub the dark blotches with a cotton cloth. Apply a moisturiser afterwards and repeat the proccess 24 hours later.


  • Apply moisturiser to your “tan” every day.
  • Wait for at least a full day before waxing or shaving again.
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