How Often Should You Apply Self Tanner?


By Emma McNab
January 20, 2023

If you’re in love with your newfound bronzed glow thanks to a self tanning product, you might be wondering how long the color will last. We all know that a sunless tan doesn’t last forever, but how often should you apply self tanner if you want to maintain your results?

In this article, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about maintaining and prolonging your self tanner. So let’s dive in.

So, How Often Should I Apply Self Tanner?

The short answer? Around once or twice a week. It all depends on how happy you are with the color of your tan and what kind of tanning product you’re using. Tanning mousses and tanning lotions tend to be more durable than tanning waters and gradual tans. Naru Organics self-tanner in particular can last 5-7 days on one application, and even longer if you opt to apply it once or twice per week.

If you’re looking to build up your tan to a darker or richer bronze color, you can reapply self tanner around 1-3 days after your first application. This will increase your tan’s pigment while also enhancing its evenness and staying power.

However, if you’re happy with the color of your self tan as it is, you should only reapply it once a week. Re-applying your self tanner once a week is enough to maintain the color, provided that you maintain your tan with regular exfoliation and moisturizing.



How Long Does A Self Tan Last For?

With the right care and maintenance, self tan can last from one week up to ten days. However, this will all depend on a number of factors. Your tan’s durability will depend on how often you shower, whether or not you’re keeping up with your tan’s maintenance, and how long you initially let your tan develop after your first application.

The science behind all of this is simple. Self tanners work by using the active ingredient Dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA. DHA is technically a compound (or additive) that attaches to the skin’s dead skin cells and reacts with them to turn them brown. As the body’s skin cells regenerate and shed every six to ten days, it’s natural that any sunless tanner sheds along with it.

Can You Apply Too Much Self-Tanner?

Yes! When it comes to self tanner, there can be “too much of a good thing,” especially when using tanners filled with dyes and additives (aka not Naru Organics). You don’t want to overload your skin with self tan every day, as you will end up developing a highly unnatural orange-hued color that won’t look bronzed, natural or glowing. For a natural glow, you should stick to one or two applications per week.

That being said, some tanning enthusiasts with lighter skin tones do swear by a double application of their favorite tanner when they want a richer, more intense glow. Again, everything depends on your personal preferences. Note: If you’re going to do a double application of self tan using a traditional self-tanner, don’t forget to clean your applicator mitt in between uses. If you’re using Naru Organics, use your hands and wait an hour between applications. 



How to Maintain Your Tan Between Applications

Maintaining your tan is simple – you need both adequate preparations beforehand and adequate aftercare once your tan has fully developed. It doesn’t matter whether you went for a spray tan or applied your tan yourself, maintenance makes all the difference in your tan’s durability.

Here are the tanning tips we’d recommend if you want to prolong your bronzed glow for as long as possible:

  • Preparation – before applying your tanning application, you need to exfoliate, moisturize and prep the skin. Don’t wax or shave in the 24 hours before tanning, nor immediately after.
  • Moisturize daily – once your self tan has developed, you need to hydrate your skin every single day. Dry skin and self tanner do not mix, and the two together will leave you with a patchy, uneven tan. Use a daily moisturizer to keep dry patches at bay.
  • Exfoliation – as your skin renews every day, you need to slough off those dead skin cells by regularly exfoliating your body. Using a body scrub or an exfoliating mitt is the easiest way to keep your skin fresh and healthy while prolonging your tan. Exfoliate your body using circular motions for the best results before application. Don’t exfoliate too much after application unless you are trying to remove your color! 
  • Wear loose clothes – friction and sweat are two factors that can decrease the longevity of your self tan. To avoid this, opt for loose clothing and avoid anything too form-fitting or tight.
  • Use a sunless tanner with skincare benefits – lots of self tanning mousses and lotions are detrimental to your skin, even if they work at giving you a golden glow. That’s why it’s a good idea to opt for self tanners that come with nourishing ingredients for the body, such as Naru Organics Self Tanner.
  • And what about exercise? – When it comes to exercise, you’ll want to wait at least 6-8 hours after your initial tanning application before doing strenuous exercise. This is because the 6-8 hours post-application is incredible for the development and evenness of your tan. Exercise causes friction and sweating, and the two combined can interrupt your tan’s final color and finish.
  • Baby powder – yes really! If you want to prolong your tan for as long as possible while still engaging in exercise and other physical activities, many tanning enthusiasts swear by talcum powder (or baby powder) to keep things together. Applying baby powder to sweat-prone parts of the body can stop the tan from sliding off, so it’s a handy tip to keep in mind next time you want to head to the gym.
  • Remember your SPF – don’t forget that self tanner can’t protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. And if there’s one quick way to ruin a tan, it’s with red and painful sunburn! Make sure to regularly apply an SPF when you’re out and about to protect your skin.



The Bottom Line?

For the best results and a bronzed glow that lasts, you should apply self tanner around one to two times a week. Whether you apply your self tanner once or twice will depend on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a richer bronzed glow, apply twice a week. For a more natural glow, stick with just one application. And most important of all, don’t forget your self tan maintenance!

Note: Want to give yourself an even, natural-looking sunless tan without exposing your skin to toxic chemicals, dyes or synthetic fragrances? Get Naru Organics self tanner and try the very first flawless self tan with no nasty ingredients. Learn more now!
naru organics self tanner

Emma McNab

Emma is a writer with a keen interest in all things skincare, wellness, and beauty.