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My Self-Tanning Routine

I’ve been getting so many questions from you ladies all about my self-tanning routine, so I thought it would be great to give it a permanent spot on the blog! I love a good at-home tan for so many reasons… of course, it’s amazing to be able to give yourself a little glow before an event or vacation (or just because you want to be tan ha) BUT I also love it because, in a sense, you’re protecting your skin. Long gone are the days where I’ll be sitting out in the sun for hours on end frying my skin for a tan (pass the SPF please!!) so self-tanning allows me to have a little glowy color but also take care of my skin health.

There are SO many different tanning products and techniques out there but this is what works best for me after my years of trial and error. Here’s my self-tanning routine:

My Self-Tanning Steps

Step 1: PREP

I like to prep my skin for a tan by shaving and exfoliating before I begin. This ensures the tan will go on the best and you’ll get the best color!


Next, I grab a tanning mitt and apply a few pumps of foam. I then massage the foam onto my skin evenly, in circular motions. I always make sure to use less on my hands, feet, and elbows since it’s easy for the foam to build up in those areas and dry streaky. I personally prefer a mousse product but there are so many options like spray, gel, and cream!


After my body is done, it’s time for my face! I use tan drops for my face for a subtle color that doesn’t look too intense. I like my face to be a lighter shade than my body and to give a natural glow.

I mix a few of the tanning drops into my face moisturizer and apply. PRO TIP: the more drops added, the darker the tan will be.

Ideally, you would wait 8 hours before washing your face or applying makeup. But if in a bind, make sure you wait at least 5-10 minutes at a minimum. Don’t forget to continue to use your sunscreen!


When I’m all finished I make sure to avoid showering, heavy sweating, or getting wet for at least 8 hours (4 if it’s a quick dry solution). After the appropriate time has passed I rinse off without soap and gently pat to dry off. Sometimes I feel a little sticky so I like to use this drying powder!


I then focus on maintaining my tan so it lasts as long as possible! I’m very gentle with my tan and don’t use any harsh sponges or do any strong scrubbing in the shower. I also like to use a blurring body cream to add a subtle bronze and all-over blurring effect. 

My Tanning Pro-Tips (for self-tanning and professional spray-tanning)

  • Shower and wash your hair right before you apply. That way you can simply rinse off at 4 or 8 hours, depending on the solution.
  • Ideally, you would exfoliate and shave 24 hours prior, but I typically knock it out when I wash my hair right before I apply my tan.
  • Make sure you are completely clean prior to application… avoid deodorant, face products, and lotions.
  • Make sure you get your mani/pedi BEFORE you apply your self-tanner, ideally at least a day before.
  • If waxing, make sure you wax a week prior to application.
  • Wear loose, dark clothing after application and follow instructions for showering. I typically do it before bedtime, then rinse it off the next morning.
  • Avoid some oil-based soaps and shower gels, especially if they contain Titanium Dioxide. Stick to natural products that are gentle and for sensitive skin.

My Go-To Tanning Products