Biggest Mistakes When Applying Self-Tanner

Get it right, and no one will even know it’s faux.

We know. No one has time to read all the fine print on beauty products before using them. However, when it comes to self tanner, following the instructions can make a world of difference. Here are a few things a lot of people miss before they slather on an artificial tan. Make sure you’re not one of them.

  1. Not Applying In A Circular Motion—Gel, mousse, and lotion should be rubbed in a circular motion–not in a right to left or up and down motion. Applying it any other way puts you at much higher risk for developing a streaky faux tan, whereas, applying your product like you’d buff a car is the best way to distribute it evenly on your skin.
  2. Forgetting Your Tanning Mitt—While it’s not a hard rule that you have to use a mitt while applying your bronzing product, we think it’s a mistake not to use one. Versions like this one from St. Tropez are well under $10, and protect your hands from those tell tale signs of faux tanning.
  3. Using The Wrong Formula—Had a bad self-tanning experience? Chances are you made one or more of these mistakes, and most likely didn’t use a self-tanning formula that agreed with your skin tone. While we will admit that finding your perfect formula is about trial and error, it’s a good rule of thumb not to go with the “dark” if you’re fair, and to read reviews online before testing something out on your skin. We love St. Tropez’s Bronzing Mousse, and recommend giving this one a try if you’re looking for a new formula.

  1. Failing To Be Thorough—We’re not saying it’s easy, but we're saying it’s important. Getting every last inch of skin that is, when you’re applying bronzing product. Forgetting to swipe over even one little area leaves a clear line between sun-kissed and fair-skinned, that does nothing for your overall look. We recommend taking the time to make sure no limb is left untanned.
  2. Using Too Much Product On Small Areas—It’s an easy mistake to make, applying too much product to areas like your hands, feet, neck, and face. To avoid dark splotches in these areas, only use what product is leftover on your mitt. Don’t pump a fresh dollop of product before applying to these areas.
  3. Not Exfoliating Beforehand—To get the most even application, it’s best to exfoliate prior to applying self-tanner. Getting rid of dead skin and dry patches will make it so that healthy skin can absorb the bronzer which in turn will give you an even finish and extend your tan.
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