Everyone’s a big fan of the sun until it betrays them. Forget the fact that the sun’s ultraviolet rays inherently damage us. Once it gives you unfortunate tan lines or burns up your skin rather than toasting it a lovely shade, the relationship already starts to go a little downhill.
There are many good reasons to consider applying a self-tanner, also known as a sunless tanner. One of the most compelling is that a tanning spray or lotion is non-damaging. It can also give your skin that perfect glow without having to pay for a beachside vacation.
Whatever the case, fear not! Self-tanning is an easy alternative to get a beautiful golden glow year-round. Gold Mountain Beauty has the tools and information you’ll need below.
How to Begin
The first step is to choose the best self-tanning lotion for your circumstances. Familiarize yourself with ingredients, instructions, and consumer reviews before buying.
For at-home use, decide between a formula made for wet or dry skin. It could be convenient to get everything done in the shower in one fell swoop, but there are drawbacks. Most self-tanners are made for dry skin.
They come in a variety of forms like lotion, oil, and mousse, and are designed for different base skin tones. Sprays, such as our own natural and effective Instant Spray Self Tanner, eliminate the need for a gloopy mess and reduce how long you handle the product, meaning fewer chances for stained hands.
Once selection’s out of the way, you can proceed to these pre-application steps.
1) Shower & Gently Exfoliate
Self-tanning products color the outermost layer of the skin, where dead skin cells reside. The product will work best if you’re clean and exfoliated first, leaving a fresh and even surface layer for it to bind to. The type of exfoliation itself doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not rough enough to cause inflammation.
Gold Mountain Beauty Coconut Activated Charcoal Powder is an excellent option. It can be mixed into a number of gentle exfoliating-but-mostly-non-drying scrubs and body washes, and can also be incorporated in other ways than just self-tanning.
2) Take Care of Business Beforehand
Exfoliation also aids hair removal, which should absolutely be done before using the tanner. It is not a necessity to wax, shave, or pluck, but trying to do it afterward will quickly mess up a self-tan. Since you’ll want to apply to your face as well for a natural look, the same goes for any chemical hair treatments.
Best practice to avoid irritation is to wait at least 24 hours after hair removal before applying self-tanning lotion.
Dry skin and self-tanning products don’t get along well, and the product itself won’t add moisture back into your skin. Use a light, creamy moisturizer once you’re dry and let your skin absorb it thoroughly before proceeding.
4) Test the Self-Tanner
It’s always advised to test epidermal products on a small patch of skin rather than apply liberally and find yourself facing a widespread adverse reaction. For self-tanners, it also lets you assess the color and quality of the resulting tan.
Application and Extension
Applying self-tanning product is straightforward, if not a little intimidating. It’s meant to go all over which will be either totally freeing or somewhat overwhelming.
- Check any specific directions for the product you’re using, but otherwise, spread generous amounts uniformly to dry and moisturized skin.
- Start with the legs and work upwards towards your neck, one body section at a time. This also prevents irregularities from bending.
- Be much more restrained with knees, elbows, ankles, and the face, where overcoloring is an easy, common accident. Don’t forget to tease a bit of product onto the tops of your feet and hands to carry through a naturally tanned look.
- Massage and blend in the tanner with circular motions -- self-tanning mitts can help keep hands clean and ensure even coverage. If you’re working with only your bare hands, wash them throughout as you move to a new section.
Once you’ve finished all-over application, allow it to dry for 15 minutes or so, so that color transfer becomes less likely. Avoid water or excessive sweating for at least 45 minutes, but you don’t have to rinse off for up to 10 full hours, more or less. Self-tanning at night before bed gets a green light, and self-tanning in the morning before going about your day gets a yellow. But either way, the lotion will have plenty of time to settle and darken.
In the following days, tan extending products make a fantastic second act to your self-tanner story.
Gold Mountain Beauty tan extender, for example, is formulated to complement our self-tanning spray. It replenishes color and works as a moisturizing lotion; a fine replacement for other moisturizers that may actually strip away your self-tan sooner.
Maintenance and Removal
You may not want to extend your sunless tan; but to make the most of it, you do definitely need to perform some maintenance. On its own, the tan will remain at peak intensity for a few days, then quickly begin to fade or streak as your top layer of skin gets replaced.
So to preserve it, avoid excess exfoliation, and be wary of water-heavy situations. But don’t skimp on protective sunscreen. You’ve already outsmarted the sun once with a sunless tan -- don’t go outside after that and just let the sun win.
Later, when the strength and quality of the tan start to decline, then you should exfoliate. This will help prevent strange, uneven patches and accelerate the fading process.
Getting Rid of a Self Tan
If, instead, you want to remove self-tanning with haste -- wholly or in part -- there are a handful of options.
Tan remover products. The antithesis of the tan extender, and available from many brands, these products can undo a single messy spot or...undo everything.
Steaming in the shower for 10 minutes, then showering and physically exfoliating (such as with a washcloth or mitt -- don’t scrub though!). Conversely, soak in a hot bath with oil added to the water. Oils and self-tanning products do not play well together.
Try lemon juice mixed with baking soda. This might sound like the worst cocktail in history, but set it for 5 minutes, and it’ll get your tan to come right off with a swipe from a cleansing wipe. The concoction works for small and large areas alike.