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Prep Your Skin Blog

How to Prep Your Skin for Self-Tanner

The masterpiece of self-tanning is not without a little bit of prep work. To get the best results, it is
important to prep your skin. Here are the basics:

  • Ideally, you should exfoliate 2-3 times a month. You’ll want to rid your body of any dry flakes
    and patches prior to applying self-tanner. Consider using a coconut oil as a moisturizer. Unlike
    other oils or moisturizing creams, coconut oil does not contain high-contents of water or
    petroleum. Having a well-maintained skin base will alleviate any potential streaking issues due
    to dry skin.When selecting a scrub, it is important to choose a scrub that leaves your skin feeling smooth
    and beautifully nourished. Look for clean beauty and buy when you can; the keywords for clean
    beauty are sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and cruelty free.
  • If you need a wax, manicure/pedicure, or need to shave your legs, perform these tasks prior to
    applying self-tanner because these things can remove or distort your color results.
  • This is probably the most obvious prep item, but it’s important to thoroughly dry off. Any excess
    water can cause discoloration and streaking.
  • Apply a lightweight lotion on your face, knees, elbows, and around your ankles. You definitely
    do not want to go overboard, but the tanner will last longer if your skin is moisturized.

Remember, when selecting your self-tanner, choose the color that best matches your skin tone instead
of the desired skin tone you are trying to achieve. Mousses are easier to rub in, but sprays sometimes
work better for those hard to reach places.

When applying self-tanner, make sure you move your hands in a circular motion and work from the
bottom of your body (toes and feet first!) and move up – save your arms and hands for last. Check the
directions and take note if a latex glove is recommended for application. Also, waiting times can vary as
some tanners require up to a 30-minute drying time after you’ve applied the tanner.

Some other general things you’ll want to avoid:

  • Avoid water (showering & swimming) for at least 7 hours.
  • Don’t go to the gym and/or do anything super physical. Sweating can cause the tanner to melt
  • Avoid using any eye drops. A tiny droplet of water could be the ultimate sabotage to your
    perfect tan.

If you’re struggling with finding the perfect self-tanner, check out They have a
ton of great recommendations and rate them based on several categories. Whether you are a first-time
self-tanner or a regular, there are a number of new products and application tips.