Self-Tanning Mistakes: How to Avoid—And How to Fix Them If They Happen

Whether it’s your first time to self-tan or you’ve been doing it for a long time, making mistakes is inevitable. Getting orange streaks on your legs or awkward stains between your fingers usually happens. But it doesn’t mean you can correct these errors and achieve a gorgeous faux tan. So today, we’ll share some common self-tanner mistakes, how to avoid them and how to fix them if they happen.

Failing to prep the skin

Exfoliation is one of the secrets to an even and excellent fake tan. Before applying self-tanner, your skin should be dry, clean and exfoliated. So make sure to have a body scrub at least a day or two before the self-tanning application. Focus on notoriously rough spots, such as the knees and elbows. Also, don’t forget to moisturise your skin so that it is soft and evenly hydrated on the day of application.

Planning to shave before the faux tan? Like exfoliating, do it a day or two before self-tanning application. On the day of tanning, all you have to do is go on a shower and dry off your body completely before opening your favourite self-tanner product.

Using too much self-tanner 

No matter how excited you are, don’t use too much self-tanner on your first application. It’s better to build your tan up over a few days. Go easy on the first day, wait for the faux to develop, evaluate the glow and gradually layer as needed. Unsure how much should you use? Learn how to choose the right fake tan shade

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But what if you’ve already committed this blunder? Yes, you can get too glowy, but don’t panic and over-scrub to tone it down. Doing so will result in patchiness & sensitive skin—issues that may haunt you longer than the faux tan. Instead, use your go-to body scrub and mix it with a drop or two of body oil. Then, rub the mixture on your skin gently. Repeat it until you feel good about your faux tan’s level of glow. 

Using bare hands

Using bare hands is one of the worse yet most common self-tanner mistakes people make. It’s best to use tanning mitts to avoid nasty hand stains & orange nails. These mitts keep the product off your hands and allow for an even application. 

How about if you want your hands to get a little tanned too? Go easy on your hands, as they can be darker than the rest of your body since they absorb excess product more efficiently. Here’s what you should do before and after putting on the self-tanner: slightly rub your palms, around your fingernails and between your fingers. After smoothing on the tanner, apply a quarter-sized amount of moisturiser to your inner wrist and the bottoms of your palms. Then, try to blend the glow. Do your wrists look a little muddy after doing all those techniques? Don’t fret; you can rub a towel between your wrists to remove the excess self-tanning product. 

Getting streaks on your knees and elbows

The knees and elbows are some of the drier areas of the body. They can easily discolour or develop streaks when you’re putting self-tanning solutions on them. The solution here is to ensure these areas are properly moisturised before application. 

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If you moisturised before self-tanning but still got streaks on your knees, elbows, ankles or neck, your best move is the exfoliate the skin area. Do it lightly (and follow the initial tip above of mixing body oil with your favourite body scrub) to even out the colour and match it with the rest of your body. 

Failing to hydrate your skin after the application

Did you make it through the application without a streak or stain? Good job! But your work isn’t done. Self-tanning requires aftercare to help it last as long as possible. And the best way to prevent your flawless fake tan from unevenly fading is to keep your skin hydrated. So don’t forget you’re daily moisturising routine—and be sure to use an oil-free moisturiser, as it won’t break down the seamless glow you’ve made. 

With these tips, you can avoid making the most common self-tanning mistakes, create a more positive experience for your skin and achieve that sunkissed glow!