How Does Self-Tanning Work? Your Questions Are Answered Here


It’s time to get your tan on! The sun is warm, the sky is clear, and the beach beckons. Shed those layers of clothing from the wet winter and spring and get ready soak in some Vitamin D.

Yes, But with Hesitation

At least that’s what you want to do, but you’re somewhat hesitant to step outside. First, you’re quite pale. Second, you’re afraid that a few hours of laying out will burn your skin. And that’s going to result in putting those layers of clothes back on.

So, you need to come up with another solution. Tanning beds and spray tan salons sound okay, but they’re not in your budget. If that’s the case, why not try self-tanning at home?

If you’ve never done it before, the question, “How does self-tanner work?” probably popped into your head. We’re here to give you some information.

The Basics on Self Tanner

Generally, it’s like going to a spray tan salon. The only difference is you apply the tanning lotion or foam yourself. Or, if you can spend a little more, you can get a spray tan machine to make it easier.

Thing is, you’ve heard about or seen first-hand examples of bad self-tanning and aren’t sure if you want to proceed. Well, if you follow some basic guidelines, you’ll be able to get a golden tan that doesn’t leave any streaks or splotches.

The Breakdown

First, shower and exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Try to smooth down the driest areas of your body — feet, heels, elbows, and hands — as much as you can. After you completely dry off, you can moisturize the remaining dry spots.

Second, though it’s one of the last places to apply tanner, you want to prepare your face. Pull your hair back tight and cover it with a shower cap. Further, to avoid your eyebrows turning a shade of orange, moisturize them, so the cream forms a shield.

Third, don’t start at the top and work your way down. It is going to leave those crazy streaks you saw on your friends. Instead, go the opposite way — calves and thighs first.

Spray tan eight inches away from your skin in an even up and down pattern. When your legs are done move to your torso. Do this in pieces — front first, then the sides, then the back. Don’t apply too much to your chest. The skin’s sensitivity in that area can result in irritation.

Finally, work on your face in sections. When that’s complete, you’ll finish up by spraying the tops of your hands. Most likely, some spray tan mist will get on your fingernails, so dab it off with a dry cloth.

When Does It Start Working?

How long does it take to work? It usually takes one to eight hours, depending on the quality of the tanning product. There’s no need to run to the mirror every few minutes. Time is needed for your skin to absorb the self-tanner and change its pigmentation from pale white to a golden brown.

Thus, don’t shower during this time. Simply dress is loose-fitting clothing and waits it out. When the time is up, you can check and see if any spots are too light or too dark. If the former, run a lemon wedge over it so its acid can help remove some layers. If too bright, apply another layer of self-tanner and go back to waiting.

What if it Doesn’t Work?

Though we hope it doesn’t happen, sometimes your first attempt at tanning fails. If that’s the case, don’t run right into the shower and scrub away. Instead, use a self-tanner eraser from Mine Tan to quickly remove the covering. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water that can be applied to all areas and removed with a shower.

In the end, there are no great secrets to self-tanning. It takes preparation, a bit of spraying skill, and patience to see the results. And don’t worry if it goes wrong the first time. Just remove it through a bit of cream and some exfoliating and try again.

Once you get the hang of self-tanning and see the glorious results, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this for yourself a long time ago.