Search marilyn

How to apply self-tanner for perfect, streak-free results every time

Self tanners have come along way from the orange days of your youth - here's how to get the ultimate glow at home!
June 25, 2021 5:03 a.m. EST

With so many of us choosing to do our favourite salon-based beauty treatments at home during the 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 not exactly something you can hide. From streaks and blotches to discoloured hands, the mishaps can be enough to make us give it up altogether. Thankfully though, self-tanner has come a long way in recent years, and so too have the tips and tricks to getting the perfect glow. Makeup artist and beauty expert Christine Cho is here to declare that a perfectly even, natural-looking self-tan is totally doable with proper preparation of the skin and a small arsenal of skin-care products. 

Before self-tanning 

Skin preparation before a self-tan is very important. You want to make sure the skin is cleansed and exfoliated properly. Try using a moisturizing body wash that leaves the skin clean but not feeling stripped of all the moisture. Christine recommends the new Olay Cleansing & Brightening Body Wash. It's formulated with vitamin C and vitamin B3 complex, to give the skin a radiant glow while providing long-lasting hydration. The collection has two other formulas as well including the Cleansing & Firming body wash with collagen to improve elasticity and the Cleansing & Nourishing body wash with hyaluronic acid for long-lasting hydration without that greasy feel. Before applying self-tanner, use the body wash in combination with a natural loofah (we picked up ours from Shoppers Drug Mart) to exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells. Doing this can help the self-tanner apply more evenly, and avoid any dark patches. To apply, wet the loofah, apply the body wash and rub gently in circular motions, focusing on the rougher parts of the body like the knees, elbows and ankles. 

Applying self-tanning

Before we get into the tanning part, Christine recommends setting aside time and space to avoid interruptions and distractions. It's important to work swiftly and smoothly for the best results, using long light spreading motions. Now time to pick our tanning potion! Those with light to medium skin tons should use the application mitt for the best self-tan. Christine suggests applying an easy-to-use mousse like the new James Read Glow20 Tan Mousse to clean bare skin using long light even strokes. For a light glow, you leave it on the skin for 20 minutes (think a day-in-the-sun kind of tan), 60 minutes for a medium golden glow (a weekend-away type of tan) or 90 minutes for a deeper bronzed glow (7-days-on-a-tropical-vacation type of tan). This product features an advanced formula with beneficial skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, vitamin E, avocado oil, and coconut water. The best part? It dries in 60 seconds, allowing you to get on with your day as it develops. 

For those with dark to darkest skin tones, you can opt for a more temporary blurring, glossing effect with Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish in Mocha. This product blurs imperfections and makes skin appear flawless and glowing for the day or evening. It can be easily washed off at any time. It also comes in a range for all skin tones, from Latte Light to Mocha. 

After self-tanning 

Immediately after you apply self-tanner, wash your hands with soap and then rinse off the product after the prescribed amount of time using warm water and a soft microfiber or bamboo washcloth. Apply moisturizer after rinsing and drying, before getting dressed. 

If you've made a mistake, immediately shower off the product with warm water and body wash. Christine suggests trying a natural sugar scrub with fresh lemon juice to help remove product quickly after applying. To completely remove the self-tanner after wearing it for a few days, try the Bondi Sands Self Tanner Eraser. This product can remove self-tanner in as little as five minutes, allowing you to avoid excessive exfoliation, while moisturizing the skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. It's also vegan and cruelty-free. Just apply it onto the skin, leave it on for five minutes, then rinse and wipe off with a warm wet washcloth. 

Now go and get your glow on!