Beauty Hacks

5 golden rules for applying self-tan like a pro

Follow these tips and no one will be any the wiser that you faked your sun-kissed glow this summer

01 December 2019 - 00:00 By
Opt for a self-tanning milk or mousse with a lightweight feel to enhance your natural skin tone.
Opt for a self-tanning milk or mousse with a lightweight feel to enhance your natural skin tone.
Image: Jessie Leigh Elford/Viviens


Start by exfoliating the skin with a sugar or salt scrub to remove any dead skin cells and smooth out any dry patches that will be amplified when self-tanning products are applied.

Use small circular motions and gently slough off dryness, remembering not to aggravate the skin by being too rough.


Moisturise the skin on dry areas where you don't want the skin to absorb self-tanner, like palms, feet, elbows and knuckles, as the body lotion acts as a buffer between the skin and the tanning product.

3. FLEX 

For a more contoured look, try tensing your muscles to see where you can apply product to enhance the appearance of more definition or toned legs.


Use a tanning mitt to apply product to avoid any staining or streaky applications due to using bare hands.

Apply product by sweeping upwards from your ankles and work your way up to prevent any creasing from bending down.

To ensure that your tan looks as natural as possible, make sure that application is lighter around the ankles, wrists and the underside of the arm. Skin isn't one shade and is lighter in these areas, which don't receive direct sun exposure on a daily basis. Use a makeup-remover wipe to remove excess product and slightly fade the tan on these areas for a more natural look

Tip: Take your tan one level up by dusting a bronzing powder onto the high planes of the body, like the decolletage, shoulders and legs, to enhance glow.


When drying off with a towel, use a patting motion rather than a rubbing one to prolong your tan.