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Get tan the safe way! The sun’s rays are intensely damaging to the skin, so self-tanning is the only way to get that bronze color without risking developing cancer. There are lots of choices out there for self-tanners, but we’ve found the best of the best. Get the bronze at home with these application tips and product suggestions.

Before you apply

EXFOLIATE! Ridding your body of all the dead skin just lingering around is one of the most important steps while self-tanning. If you apply self-tanner onto dead flaky skin, the pigment will gather there and create unwanted dark patches on places like knees and elbows. In the shower, use a loofah or a sugar scrub all over your body to get rid of that dead skin. Your skin will be left feeling so smooth and ready for a tan.

Right before you apply the self-tanner, rub a bit of lotion on your knees, elbows, ankles, toes and fingers. This will prevent the color from gathering in those places like it tends to. After all, who has extremely tan fingers and toes anyways? Doing this will allow for the most natural-looking application.


Sometimes, self-tanners come with a foam-like mitt to apply the product with. If not, you can purchase them online or in many stores (like Ulta or Target). These mitts allow you to distribute the product over a larger area at a time, so it will take less time. However, one complaint about them is that they sometimes cause the product to streak on your skin. To avoid this, consider using a big foundation brush instead. Since it is smaller, it’ll take more time to rub the product in. But the color is worth it! Buff in the product with quick round motions. The brush will come in handy around harder areas like the neck and chest.

Many people don’t apply self tanner to the face because it can cause break outs or clog up pores, but it does work for some people! If you are wanting to try it, do essentially the same thing you did for your body in preparation. Exfoliate the crap out of your face, but apply a thin layer of moisturizer all over. You do NOT want your face to be significantly more tan than the rest of your body.


So which self-tanner should you choose? There are a few brands that lots of people swear by. One is Loving Tan, which is based in Australia. People claim that this one offers the best “olive” tan rather than orange. They also have a nice color range from medium to ultra dark. They even have an option to purchase a “2 hour express” mousse that you can apply before a night out!

St Tropez is another very popular option. Available at stores in the U.S., St Tropez offers a great color for a decent price. They have so many options including mousses, lotions and dry oils to let you tan however you prefer.

The last of the most popular is Million Dollar Tan. In particular, their “Mermaid Mousse” is the most popular, offering a deep color with an easy to apply mousse. They even have a spray if you prefer to apply that way.

Whichever product you decide to go with, achieving an amazing tan without damaging your skin is totally possible.