How to Use Tan: Your Ultimate Guide to Sun-kissed Skin!

When the weather gets warmer, many of us can’t wait to get outside and soak up the sun. One of the best ways to enhance that glowing summertime look is by employing the power of tan. Getting a good tan is about more than just lying out in the sun. By following some straightforward guidelines, you can achieve beautiful and healthy glowing skin.

Choosing the Right Tan: Factors to Consider

The first step in successfully using tan is selecting the right product for your skin. Tanning products come in many forms, such as lotions, sprays, and mousses. Determining which type is best for you depends on several factors:

Your Skin Type

Everyone’s skin is unique, and certain products work better with certain skin types. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, look for gentle products that won’t aggravate your skin. If you have naturally oily skin, choose a lotion or mousse that won’t make you break out. And if you have dry skin, look for products with added moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated.

Tanning Goals

Are you looking for a light glow or a deep bronze finish? The intensity of your desired tan will help determine which product to choose. If you’re hoping for subtle color, consider a gradual tanner that will build slowly over multiple applications. If deep color is your goal, opt for a product with higher levels of DHA, which is the ingredient that darkens the skin.

Application Method

Consider the ease and messiness of the product you’re interested in. Sprays can be a great option, but they’re not ideal for self-application unless you’re comfortable with the process. Lotions and mousses, on the other hand, offer more control and are easier to apply.

Preparing to Tan: What You Need to Know

Before applying your chosen product, there are some things you should do to prepare your skin.


It’s essential to exfoliate before tanning to ensure a more even application. Scrub the area with a gentle exfoliating product, such as a loofah or sugar scrub. This step will help remove dead and dry skin cells, resulting in a smoother tan application.


Tan is applied more evenly onto moisturized skin. Applying lotion beforehand prevents oversaturation in dry areas of your skin, such as elbows, knees, and feet. However, be sure to let the lotion absorb fully before applying your tanner to avoid any patchiness.


Wearing dark, loose-fitting clothing after application will prevent rubbing, smudging, or staining. When choosing what to wear, consider what body parts you’re tanning and aim for easy access for application.

Applying Your Tan: Step by Step

Now that you’ve selected your self-tanner and are fully prepped, let’s get started with the process of applying your tan.

Take Your Time

One of the most common mistakes people make is not giving themselves enough time to apply the product. Block off at least 20 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to apply the tanner, which will allow you to do it correctly and spot-check in case of any missed spots.

Start from the Bottom Up

Begin the application process with your feet and ankles, working up towards your thigh and torso. It’s essential to apply the tanner evenly, especially where skin meets skin, such as around your ankles, knees, and underarms.

Minimize Contact with Hands

As much as possible, avoid getting the product onto your palms or fingers. These areas don’t tan like other parts of your body and can result in uneven streaking or staining. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after each section of your body is tanned.

Face and Décolletage

The skin on your face is thinner than on the rest of your body, making it more delicate. It’s best to use a specific product designed to avoid any untoward incidents, choose a product specifically for the face or use a tinted moisturizer, which will give you a subtle sunkissed glow. Alternatively, a bronzer applied with a brush in places where sun hits naturally will give you a fresh, healthy glow.

After Application: How to Keep Your Tan Lasting Longer

You’ve successfully applied your tan, and now you want to extend the life of your glow. Here are some tips to prolong the life of your tan:

Maintain Hydrated Skin

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential to maintain your tan longer. Apply an intensively hydrating lotion daily to keep skin moist.

Avoid Exfoliation

You want to avoid exfoliating your skin for the first few days after tanning. This will allow the tan to settle and take root into the skin.

Showering and Bathing

Be sure to wait at least six hours after application before showering or bathing for the first time. When you do shower or bathe, use a non-abrasive, gentle cleanser and avoid using loofahs, washcloths, or scrubbers.

FAQs About How to Use Tan

  • How long does a tan last after application?
  • What’s the best time of day to apply self-tanner?
  • What is the difference between a gradual tanner and a regular self-tanner?
  • How can I fix my tan if it turns out uneven?
  • Can I go swimming after applying self-tanner?

Answers to your FAQs

How long does a tan last after application?

The lasting duration of a tan depends on various factors, including the quality of the product, skin type, and application method. A tan can last from five to ten days, depending on the product and upkeep.

What’s the best time of day to apply self-tanner?

The best time of day to apply self-tanner is at night. Apply your tanner a few hours before bed to allow it to dry fully to prevent staining your sheets. When sleeping, loose-fitting clothing helps keep the tanner from rubbing off onto your bedding.

What is the difference between a gradual tanner and a regular self-tanner?

Gradual self-tanners build up color over several applications, making the resulting tan subtler and more natural-looking. Traditional self-tanners, on the other hand, offer a more dramatic application and require less upkeep but can be prone to streaking and unnatural appearances.

How can I fix my tan if it turns out uneven?

If your tan appears uneven or patchy after application, don’t worry. Using a loofah or scrubber to exfoliate the area can help lessen the appearance of patchiness. Alternatively, use a tanning removal product, and start anew.

Can I go swimming after applying self-tanner?

It’s best to wait at least six to eight hours after applying self-tanner before going swimming or participating in any water-based activities. Chlorine can bleach self-tanner, resulting in over-lightening or splotchiness.


By choosing the right tanner, prepping your skin, and following the right steps, you can achieve gorgeous and healthy glowing skin. Keep up the upkeep of your tan by adhering to the post-application tips and avoid making the mistakes that can ruin your perfect sun-kissed skin



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