How To Apply Self Tanner Without A Mitt

mitt featured image

By Ashlyn Noah
March 2, 2022

Everyone wants to have a sun-kissed glow, whether it’s from the sun or from tanning products. Safer than sun tanning, self-tanners offer people the same outcome in a much easier and safer way. 

Naru Organics self tanner is a bit different than others on the market. Unlike other brands, it is better to apply it without a mitt as there is no risk of streaking, stained hands, and you won’t lose any product that would’ve been soaked into the mitt!

However, if you are applying a traditional sunless tanning product, it is not as easy as rubbing in sunscreen or tanning oil. It requires the use of an applicator mitt to make the application process more effective, and the potential for disaster (think orange hands and skin, streaks and more) is high! 

Here is how to apply a traditional sunless tanning product the right way with the use of an applicator mitt, or if you don’t have one, DIY items that will get the job done. 

Do Not Apply Traditional Self-Tanner Bare Handed

Whatever you do, do not apply a traditional (non-Naru Organics) sunless tanner bare-handed. Not only can this cause unnatural discoloration, but it can also cause a tan full of streaks since the product was not rubbed in evenly.

The only time you should use your bare hands to apply traditional self-tanning products is when you are shading around your eyes, mouth, and nose, assuming it’s safe to use in those areas. The applicator mitt could be too big for this delicate part of your face and could leave a build-up in these areas. 

If you do use your bare hands for these areas, it’s important that you immediately wash your hands after rubbing in the product on these parts of your body so as to avoid staining. With that being said, you should tan this area first to get it out of the way.

For the rest of your body, it’s highly recommended that you use an applicator mitt or an item similar to get an even tan. 

Don’t have a self-tanning mitt? Here are other semi-household items you can use that are cost-effective and are perfect for applying your fake tanner.

Alternatives to a Mitt

Applicator mitts help to prevent discoloration of the hands and from producing build-up in certain areas. 

If you cannot find a cost effective tanning mitt on Amazon or other stores, or if you’ve just lost the one you have and are panicking seeking other options, use these DIY options below in a pinch! It may take several attempts to find the one that works for you (or skip this search entirely and buy yourself some Naru Organics!)

Rubber Gloves

Oddly enough, rubber gloves are a decent substitute for a tanning mitt.

One thing to keep in mind when using these items is that they do not absorb the tanning product as most applicator mitts do, so you will have to go easy on how much product you put on the gloves compared to a mitt.  

You should rub the product on in a circular motion to give your best self a chance at having an even tan once the product dries. 

You can also reuse your rubber gloves since it’s easy to rinse off the product after each use.

Cling Wrap

Cling wrap found in your kitchen is a cost effective option if you need an applicator in a pinch. 

Wrap a sheet around your few times to protect your hands from being stained, and apply your product in circular motions. Just make sure you do not wrap it around your hand too tight. 

When you use cling wrap, you will have to throw it away every time since it is not a reusable item for tanning application. We can’t say we recommend this method too much, as the potential for streaks is high. However, if you really need to use your traditional tanner and don’t want orange hands (wouldn’t it be easier to buy Naru Organics self-tanner at this point?), this may have to do. 

Slipper Socks

For something that more closely resembles an applicator mitt, your old slipper socks can do the trick. Slipper socks are the most similar to applicator mitts in texture and how well they absorb product and spread it on the skin.

You can reuse the slipper sock you choose to use as a mitt for every use, but it’s better to find a thicker sock so the self tanning product does not stain your skin, or wear a vinyl glove underneath for extra protection. 

If you opt for no glove, and notice that your hands are semi-stained from the product after each use, wash your hands once you’re finished rubbing the product on your entire body. 

​How To Make The Most of Your Self-Tan

Once you have acquired the applicator mitt you want to use, there are several steps to do beforehand to ensure your tan is flawless and perfect. It, of course, all starts with your skincare.

You should exfoliate in the shower with the a scrub that moisturizes the dry areas of your skin and removes dead skin cells.

Exfoliating before applying your self-tanning product makes the top layer of your skin primed and ready to hold the product. 

After exfoliating and stepping out the shower, you should wait until your body is completely dry before applying the self-tanning product. If your body is still wet, the sunless tanner can dry in streaks thanks to the water droplets. 

Some people think they need to use their moisturizer after showering to hold the softness of their skin before applying their tanning mousse. Luckily, some self tanning lotions are made to include moisturizing ingredients to ensure you have silky smooth skin that your original moisturizer gives you. 


Traditional self-tanners need a mitt to be applied properly, but other household items can do the job in a pinch. Without a mitt, you are at risk for stained orange hands and nails, streaky skin, and weird build-up. 

Wouldn’t it be easier to skip all this and use Naru Organics self-tanner instead? 


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

Ashlyn Noah

Ashlyn Noah is an author in the skin care industry.