Five Sunless Tanning Tips for a Golden Glow

Who doesn’t want a little glow during the summer? Luckily, there’s a safe way to get bronzed without exposing your skin to UV damage. That’s right, we’re talking sunless tanners. The technology has come a long way from the orange look of the early days. Follow my sunless tanning tips below, and you’ll have a golden tan that looks naturally sun-kissed. 


Peel, Don’t Scrub

When it comes to getting a super even tan, it’s all about exfoliation. While a lot of sites recommend body scrubs, I prefer a peel for a few reasons. Not only does it provide a gentler and more even exfoliation, a peel like my TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel also contains hydrating lactic acid to keep your skin supple. Plus, it’s oil-free, so it won’t interfere with your tan application (more on that later).

No Oils, No Worries

Most people know that hydration is critical to helping your tan last. But what many don’t realize is that anything with oil will create a barrier on top of your skin that prevents the DHA in self-tanner from absorbing evenly into the skin. To prevent this, avoid body oils, face oils, or body butters for at least a day before you apply self-tanner.

Create a Color Barrier

There are a few exceptions to the no oil/lotion rule before your tan. Certain dry areas of the body like the elbows, kneecaps, knuckles, wrists, and ankles have a lot of dead skin cells just waiting to soak up a sip of DHA (the ingredient in self-tanner that causes color change). Once they do, you see noticeably darker color deposits in these areas. Not a good look. To prevent this, apply a thin layer of body lotion to these areas just before you apply self-tanner. The lotion will prevent too much self-tanner from soaking into your dry skin.

Use a Washcloth for Touch-Ups

After you apply your self-tanner (try a mitt like this one for a super even finish), go back over the kneecaps, ankles, knuckles and elbows with a damp washcloth. If your self-tanner has a color tracker, look for streaky areas and gently blend them with the washcloth. DO NOT RUB. Rubbing is likely to remove all of the tanner and give you a streaky situation.

Don’t Neglect Your Face

If you want a bronze glow on your face, look for a self-tanning product made especially for face.It will likely have a smaller dose of DHA so that the color is a little bit subtler. Rather than just slathering it all over your face, use a sponge like a Beauty Blender to apply, focusing on areas where you naturally tan—the top of your forehead, nose, cheekbones, brow bones, jawline,and chin. Wait for the product to develop, and then apply a hyaluronic acid serum like my HA Hydrating Serum to prevent dryness.

Self-tanning might seem like a lot of work, but if you’re craving a golden glow, it’s the safest way to get bronze. Just remember to apply plenty of lotion after your color develops to help the tan last. Let’s chat about my sunless tanning tips in the comments.