How to apply self tanner like a pro


Hi girls ! I’ve got fourteen fantastic tips on how to apply self tanner ,that range from your pre-tan preparation, the tan itself, and how to keep it up after you’re all bronzed and beautiful.

How to apply self tanner


A Word: These tips are how to tan the healthy way using a spray tan.

I’ve never used anything much beyond a bronzing lotion that just washed off in the shower at home, so I’m not in the best position to advise you of how to properly tan using a gradual tanner.

If you decide to get your tan outside in the sun (which I don’t advise!) then make sure you apply a physical sunscreen with good SPF to protect your skin. See my Sunscreen Tips post on how to pick the right sun protection.

And please please please never use a solarium. That’s just the fast track to skin cancer and eventual death. If you don’t believe me, read up on the tragic death of Clare Oliver, the Melbourne girl who died after using tanning beds.

On to my spray tanning tips. To begin, I’ve started with the most important part.

Preparation before applying self tanner.

  • Choose Your Type of Spray Well: This is personal preference, but in my experience booth spray tans are nowhere near as effective as having a real person (or two) with an airbrush gun. It just ensures that every part of you is covered, and covered evenly.
  • Salon Recommendations: If you know someone who gets faux tanned regularly then ask them where they go. If possible, try to ask someone with similar colouring to you, because their rec will likely be the most natural. For example, Jamie from Miss Chew
     is my spray tan queen, and she’s a big fan ofNaked Tan.
  • Booking Your Tan: Book your spray tan about 2 days before your special occasion, and if you can, book it early in the day so you have the entire day to let it set before you need to sleep and eventually shower. I had a fancy ball-thing to go to a few years ago and my tan was the day before in the evening – such a disaster! I was wearing a strapless dress and there was a long strip under each under arm that was white.
  • A Month Before: If you have time, do a test run about a month before, or even longer. It will give you an idea of how the tan will fade over time.
  • 48 Hours Before: Ensure you exfoliate well 2 days before your tan, so the colour goes on evenly and smoothly, but don’t moisturise. You want your tan to stick to your skin evenly, but not slip off.
  • 24 Hours Before: Don’t use deodorant – especially not an aerosol deodorant. See #3. And shave your legs & underarms.

The Tan Itself:

  • Spray Your Face: You want your tan to be even, so you’ll need to ask your spray tanner to lightly spray your face with colour. You don’t want to to be exactly the same deep bronze as your body likely will, but you want the colour to be seamless and natural looking.
  • Dress Down: Bring some very loose clothing with you that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Avoid Water: Don’t shower, go swimming or get caught in the rain between 6-8 hours after your spray tan. Water will make it dissolve faster. The longer you let it set, the longer it will last and the better it will look.
  • New Makeup: Invest in a new foundation that will match your new face shade. We love an excuse to go shopping ;)

So you’ve achieved your perfect tan, and you’ve dazzled your friends at your ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Now, how do you keep it up?

  • Moisturise every day. Your tan will go patchy and fade unevenly if you don’t ensure your skin is in tip top condition.
  • Use a gradual tanning lotion. You can often get a moisturiser and gradual tanner in one, so this is a great option if you want the tan to last.
  • To gradually tan your face, mix your usual face moisturiser with a few drops of the gradual tanning lotion you’re using on your body, and apply it once a day to your face. You don’t want the tan on your face fading faster than your body tan. Oh, and don’t forget your ears ;)
  • Makeup: If you really want to your face to look glowing and bronze, don’t forget the bronzer and highlighters. Check out my highlighting post, and to apply bronzer, sweep it on in a 3 shape along both sides of your face where the sun will naturally hit, and then a light sweep down your nose.

And… we’re done! Honestly, considering London is so dreary and cold at the moment, you might spot me following my own advice very shortly and popping off to the local tanning salon for a spray… If I’m not at the beach, I can still pretend.


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