// gold earrings //
The thing about faux tans?
They can look…well…fake.
It’s so hard to get a faux tan to look sun-kissed instead of Oompalooma if you don’t know what you are doing.
I live in Texas.
I know all about faux tans and big hair. I was raised on them. I think I took a class on advanced Aqua Net in high school. I take my self-tanning very seriously.
I want to keep it real. I want to share with you everything I know—all the products I use. Everything I’ve learned about tanning. Everything to help you look like you spent your summer on the beach.
Here’s my entire tanning routine from beginning to end (and the one thing I use to make a faux tan glow).
Here are most of the products I use (I’m going to add two more to the list a little later). It’s important to understand that self-tanning products are divided into several categories. I listed them below. I’ll discuss how I use them in the routine.
- Self-tanning drops—These are clear drops that you add to moisturizer and apply like lotion. I’ve tried tons of different drops and for the money I think L’oreal Sublime Bronze is the best.
- Airbrush sunless spray—This is a spray that mimics what happens when you get a spray tan except on a much smaller scale. I think Neutrogena Micro Mist has the best overall coverage and color.
- Glotion—This is a product that you put on and the color shows up immediately. It’s not a permanent product and it’s super light and translucent. I use it to get a little glow or to touch up spots that I’ve missed. You can see Glotion here.
- Tanning tint—This is another product that you put on and color shows up right away. It’s not a permanent product and it looks super real. You can wash it off after you wear it and it doesn’t get on your clothes either. My favorite is this product by Fenty beauty.
- Skincare oil—This is an oil that I use on top of the self-tanner. It brings the tanner to life and looks so pretty and summery. It makes skin looks so glowing and fresh. This Bio Skin-Care Oil is my favorite.
How to Get a Flawless Self Tan
Let’s discuss my routine.
Which starts with this—a self-tanning mitt like this one. There are so many reasons to use a mitt. You won’t get any of the products on your hands and product goes off so much more smoothly when you apply it with a mitt.
Here’s my step-by-step self-tanning process.
I use a gentle exfoliating scrub to make sure my skin is ready for self-tanner. It gets rid of any dry spots and smooths out my skin so the self-tanner won’t glump in rough areas on my elbows, knees, and ankles.
This sugar scrub is really good for exfoliating. It gets rid of the rough areas and your skin feels amazing.
A lot of people skip this step because they think the self-tanner is like a lotion. I love this body moisturizer (I’ve talked about it before).
Your self tan will look so much better if you apply a light, oil-free moisturizer. The moisturizer helps to layer in a smooth surface so you don’t get streaks. If you use a moisturizer it also absorbs excess self-tanner and prevents spots that darker in some areas.
These are my go-to. These towelettes from L’oreal Sublime Bronze are so easy to use that you won’t even feel like you are putting on a self-tanner. If I want a lighter tan, I just rip open a single package of these. It looks like a wet wipe when you take it out. There’s no color at all.
I only use one and apply it all over the night before.
4. How to apply self-tanner
Here’s how I apply the towelette, but it actually works with any self-tanning product.
I always start from the bottom and work your way up. I begin with my feet and ankles, moving upwards to my legs, torso, arms, and finally my neck and face.
You want the heaviest amount of tanner on your legs and the towelette is freshest when you start at the bottom.
5. Self-tanning drops
If I want to adjust the level of tan (which you can’t really do with the towelette) I use self-tanning drops instead. These are clear drops that you add to moisturizer and apply like lotion. I’ve tried tons of different drops and I think L’oreal Sublime Bronze is the best.
You can add a few drops for a lighter color or even more drops for a darker color. Start slow with the drops if you haven’t used them before. You won’t know the color until the next morning and you can always add more self-tanner the next day.
(total aside: I think that’s the big secret to self-tanning—starting slow. Just like Rome a good tan isn’t built in a day)
6. Blend, Blend, Blend
This is when your tanning mitt is your best friend.
The key to a flawless self-tan is blending. Take your time to blend the self-tanner into your skin thoroughly. Avoid harsh lines or streaks by using long, sweeping motions with the mitt.
After I apply the tanner–I always go back and wipe my elbows and my knees one more time with a paper towel. This makes sure you avoid glumping.
7. Check for patches
The next day after the tan shows up?
Check for patches.
It’s hard not to have patches when you apply self-tanner. I mist the patches with a micro-mist spray to even out the coverage.
8. Even out tan
If my tan ever looks uneven or if I didn’t get enough coverage? I’ll add a layer of body makeup.
It’s seriously a game-changer.
This is a product that you put on and the color shows up right away. It’s not a permanent product and it looks super real. You can wash it off after you wear it and it doesn’t get on your clothes either. My favorite is this product by Fenty Beauty.
9. Add skincare oil
This is an oil that I use on top of the self-tanner. It brings the tanner to life and looks so pretty and summery. It makes skin look so glowing and fresh.
You won’t believe the difference that it makes.
That’s the entire routine from beginning to end with a few extra options along the way.
I love a good faux tan.
Just between us?
There’s just something about having a little glow during the summer that makes me so happy.
I hope the tips were helpful. I’ve tried almost everything and learned what worked for me and what didn’t.
Here’s to a little sunshine (even if it came from a bottle). 🙂
disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.