10 Self-Tan Tips to Look Your Best

10 Self-Tan Tips to Look Your Best

When it comes to tanning, that “healthy glow” simply isn’t. Dermatologists have warned against the damage and dangers of traditional tanning in the hot sun. Fortunately, sunless tanning alleviates those concerns. The science of sunless tanning has evolved.

Self-tanning products are better than ever and Sunless' products are also formulated with age-defying skincare benefits. With the right products and application, it’s easy to achieve a flawless tan at home.

After more than 50 million sunless tans, Sunless has learned how to get the most beautiful tan. Want skin that looks and feels amazing? Follow these self-tan tips to leave you glowing day after day.


Preparation is key to a natural, streak-free tan. Make these steps part of your normal beauty regimen for smooth, vibrant skin before and after you tan.

1. Prep Your Skin

Smooth, healthy skin helps to develop a more even tan that lasts longer and fades more evenly.

Aim to make your skin a blank canvas for self-tanning. To leave your skin smooth and clean before tanning, remember:

Exfoliate. Before you tan, slough away any excess skin cells, paying special attention to rough areas like the knees, elbows, ankles and heels. For the best results, prime your skin using our sulfate-free cleansers. It will help to ensure an even application and a beautiful tan.

Wax before. If you plan to wax, do so before you tan. Waxing afterward could remove the tanned layers of skin, leaving streaks

Start with clean skin. Remove makeup and any other products that could inhibit absorption

2. Moisturize

Dry, imbalanced skin will over-absorb DHA (the active ingredient in sunless tanning products), and take on a unnatural hue.

Hydrating your skin is important, but skip the lotion the day you tan. Lotion can prevent the product from absorbing and create uneven results.

Instead, try our Primers, which will moisturize and balance your skin’s pH to accelerate development time and intensify the tan.


It’s easy to apply an all-over beautiful self-tan in the privacy of your own home. Keep these tips in mind to prevent streaks, dark patches or an orange hue.

3. Apply Evenly

Apply the self-tanner in a smooth, even motion, working on one section at a time (legs, torso, arms, face). If using a self-tan spray:

  • Hold the product about six inches away from your skin and spray in a continuous, back-and-forth motion for even coverage.
  • If possible, spray in a bathroom or shower so you can easily clean up any over-spray.

If you prefer to use a lotion, try one of these lotions for extra hydration:

  • Apply product to your hand or mitt.
  • Rub onto skin in a smooth, circular motion until absorbed.

For the best self-tan at home, use your hand or an applicator mitt to blend in product. Blend lightly into knees, elbows, wrists and ankles. Take advantage of self-tanning accessories including the Applicator Mitt for an easy, even and mess-free application. If you do apply by hand, wash your hands immediately after use.

4. Don’t Neglect Back, Hands, Feet

Make sure you cover all of your body, including back, back of thighs, hands and feet. Avoid areas that don’t typically tan (like palms and soles of feet), focusing on skin where the sun would naturally reach.

To reach small places, use a makeup sponge or the tip of the applicator mitt. For hard-to-reach areas like your back, use an applicator mitt or get a friend to help.


With proper care and moisturizing, a self-tan can leave you glowing for up to a week . Here’s how to maximize your tan.

5. Put on Loose-Fitting Clothing

If bronzer gets onto your clothes it is water soluble and will be removed after the next wash in cold water. To avoid transferring colour to clothing all together, do not wear tight-fitting or light-coloured clothing right after applying your self-tanner.

6. Wait to Shower

Stay dry for 4-6 hours to allow the tan time to develop. Avoid showering, swimming, and sweating from exercise.

If you use a product containing bronzer, it will wash off when you shower, leaving the extended tan underneath. Your tan will take up to 24 hours to reach peak colour, and last for about a week with one application.

7. Use Gentle Cleansers

Daily use of a sulfate-free body washes give skin a silky clean moisturizing finish to extend your tan, without stripping your colour too early.

The body naturally exfoliates the epidermis, or top layer of skin, weekly. When you notice fading, exfoliate your skin in the areas that are losing colour to help your tan fade naturally.

8. Moisturize

Just like before you tan, dry skin after you tan can cause colour to fade faster and become uneven. To combat this, keep skin hydrated with a daily moisturizer. Better yet, use a lotions with gradual tanner to replace colour as the tan fades.

9. Pair with Gradual Tanner

If you work out or swim routinely, colour can fade sooner. To protect your glow and extend the life of your tan, consider complementing your extended self tan with a gradual tanner, such as:

When used daily, these products progressively build colour and extend your tan. They can also be used on their own for a gradual tan and to maximum control over your colour, reaching peak colour in about 7 days.

10. Reapply as Needed

As your tan fades over several days, repeat these steps to reapply the self-tanner and maintain that bronze look all year round. Everyone’s skin tans differently, so test and determine the best frequency for you.