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7 Ways to Achieve a Natural-Looking Self-Tan

How to Achieve the Perfect Natural-Looking Self-Tan

We want to answer your questions—or, you know, just the things that peak your curiosity.

A tan definitely makes you look better. But you realize now how bad good for your health tanning actually is. How can you use self-tanner so that it looks like a legit tan? And what brand works best?

Out of all the self-tanners I have tried, very few live up to my standards. Ideal qualities in a self-tanner are an undetectable application, a natural-looking tan, no streaking or clumping, and long-lasting results.

Although the key component in self-tanners is always DHA, (which is a natural sugar derivative that only stains the top dead cells on your skin), many tanners still don’t provide consistent results.

If you’re looking for a clean and natural-looking self-tan, look no further than this light and fluffy tanning foam. This unique formula is easy to blend and leaves behind a subtle, ultranatural color that will have you looking your best. The light and moisturizing foam melts into your skin rather than seizing on it like many other tanners, so you’ll never have to worry about streaky or blotchy results.

Self-tanning products can be a bit tricky, but the good ones are light and quick to apply. You’ll barely feel it going on, and it won’t transfer onto your clothes. The perfect color will last all day long without looking streaky or artificial—just like you’ve been spending time in the sun!

I like to use a tanning mitt, but using your hands is fine too—just smooth the cream between them and let it sink in before you start. Once you’re done applying the self-tanner, wash your hands (see below for the ultimate step-by-step guide).

This works great for giving your legs a quick “reawakening” as well as getting an allover tan that will last for days. And having a base tan before going out into the sun not only looks good; it also means you’ll be more likely to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher—which is extremely important.

For your face, use tanning “water” products. The same natural, long-lasting, streakless glow can be achieved. You can also add a few drops of the solution to your daily moisturizer or SPF in order to nourish and hydrate skin while giving it an instant summery glow.

How to Achieve the Perfect Natural-Looking Self-Tan in 7 Steps

There’s no need to over-exfoliate or spend hours in the bathroom waiting for your tanner to dry. You can achieve a natural, even glow with just a few simple steps.


The trick is to use body cream, lotion, or lip balm. In order to create an even glow, smooth a good dollop of tanner between your palms and fingers (this also helps prevent tanned palms), then dab the excess anywhere you have thicker or drier skin—your elbows, ankles, tops of toes, knees. Thicker, drier skin pulls in more tanner unevenly, creating dark spots and splotches that look very unnatural.

The great thing is, the cream or lotion principle works both ways: If you forget about it and apply tanner without it, you can just go over the drier areas directly after with the tanner—you’ll get even results.


After you’ve protected any dry patches on your skin from getting too much color, apply your self-tanner. Start at the bottom of your feet and work your way up. They’re usually the hardest area to get right because there are so many different angles, so make sure to really blend it in well so you don’t end up with any missed spots.


Start at your ankles and work up. Don’t be afraid to add more tanner if you think you need it; you can’t overdo it, and doing so will actually help ensure an even application with no missed spots or streaks.


You don’t have to cover your entire body in tanning lotion if you don’t want to. (But think about who might see you without clothes on if you’re only going to partially tan.)


When you’re done applying tanner, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Tanned palms look ridiculous if the rest of your body is pale, so it’s important to blend the color evenly. Rub a bit of tanner onto the back of one hand and then rub them together until the color is distributed evenly.


If you didn’t want to or forgot to do the body cream trick at first, don’t worry; it works just as well before or after. Tear open a wipe and dab lightly on dry patches of skin. Once you’re done with that, use the wipe to clean your palms and between your fingers.


Unless you’re planning on being in the shower for eight hours, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to live your life normally after getting a sunless tan. Throw on some dark-colored, loose clothing and go about your business as usual. Note: If you use a no-transfer formula, you can even wear lighter colors without worrying about ruining them.

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