What To Do After Using Self Tanner (7 Tips)

Two Women Feature

By Ashlyn Noah
January 20, 2022

New to using self-tanning products? While they are beneficial for giving you a natural glow, there are certain steps you need to take in the after-care process to make sure your tan lasts. 

Self-tanners are thought to be great alternatives to tanning beds and natural sun tanning, which can cause sun cancer from the harmful UV rays (your dermatologist will thank you). However, many of them contain harmful ingredients, known toxins, and carcinogens, making them another major health risk. Another tanning option, tanning beds, can cause you to come out looking as if you belong in the chocolate factory in addition to their UV exposure. 

We, of course, recommend trying non-toxic Naru Organics self-tanner instead. You get a natural looking gradual tan, with no toxins, harmful chemicals, or UV exposure. 

No matter which product you go with however, if you are new to using self-tanner products, there are key steps to take before and after your application to ensure you have a flawless go wherever you go. 

Self-Tanning Basics 

Self-tanners do require some work to optimize your experience when it comes to skin prep and aftercare. Where self-tanning products only sit through the first layer of skin, they are very easy to wash off and remove if you make unknowing errors such as showering and shaving before the product has had time to set. 

If you were to look on the market, here are the common sunless tanning skincare products you can expect to find:

  • Tanning mousse
  • Self-tanning body lotion
  • Mist
  • Towelettes
  • Gel

For spray tans and UV tanning, all you have to do is show up to the salon or outside and put on SPF at least. Self-tanners require more effort. 

DHA, dihydroxyacetone, is the main active ingredient in self-tanning products. DHA is completely safe to have in skincare products and rub on your skin. 

When you apply self-tanners, DHA blends with the amino acids in your skin to create a (safe) chemical reaction and change the pigment of your skin to a deeper shade. 

Now that you know a little bit about the background of self-tanner, here are 7 tips and hacks to help your self-tanner application go smoothly!

1. Take Care of your Skin (And Exfoliate!)

One of the biggest tips when it comes to aftercare to self-tanning is to have excellent skincare routines in place beforehand. 

The best thing to do to prep your skin to hold your self-tanning product is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!

Exfoliating your skin with a high-quality body scrub opens up your pores and cleans off your dead skin cells to put your best self forward for your upcoming self-tanner application. 

When you exfoliate, it’s recommended to use an exfoliating mitt instead of a traditional washcloth to gently scrub your body if you aren’t using a sugar scrub, for example. This process helps prep your body to hold the self-tanning product for longer. 

2. Give Yourself Time To Dry (And Don’t Moisturize)

If moisturizing as soon as you step out of the shower is a part of your normal skincare routine, it’s time to break yourself out of that habit. It will be tempting to scrub your lotion on your face and the rest of your body to lock in the moisture from your shower, but this can actually damage the final result of your faux tan.

Some tanning lotions will contain moisturizing and hydrating ingredients that can make up for what you typically get out of your normal body lotion. Naru Organics self-tanner contains almond oil and other moisturizing ingredients so your skin will be supple and glowing after application. 

Additionally, when you step out of the shower, it’s important that you do not apply your tanning lotion or mousse right away. Any leftover water could run through the tan and leave behind streaks. These products work better with dry skin, so you should wait until you are completely dry to apply.

Tan Woman Looking at Face

3. Use Your Applicator Mitt (if Using a Traditional Self-Tanner)

An important rule to follow in apply a traditional self-tanner is to never apply your product with bare hands. Whenever you apply your self-tanning lotion or mousse, use your application mitt and rub the product in a circular motion to prevent streaks and stains. 

Application mitts help to protect your hands from discoloration and also help spread the product more evenly. 

If you know someone who has used self-tanning products without an application mitt, then you’ve probably seen the rust-colored cuticles they are sporting for days. You can find application mitts online or wherever it is your normally pick up your sunless tanning product. 

However, 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! Just give your hands a little wash after application to get excess product off, and you are good to go. 

4. Avoid Shaving After Application

Once you’ve applied your self-tanning lotion or bronzer, you should not shave to ensure your glow lasts as long as possible. 

These products can be easily washed off or shaved off if you decide to do any hair removal within 24 hours of your first application. 

When you shave, you are not only removing the unwanted hair on your legs, but also scraping off the first layer of skin cells where the self-tanner has soaked into.

You should shave before you apply your product and then wait a few days after your first and second application before you shave again. 

5. Buff Out Any Bronzer

With traditional self-tanners full of dyes and other questionable ingredients, it’s impossible to avoid applying too much product every now and then, even with your tanning mitt. If and when this happens, it’s totally easy to buff out your bronzing product.

All you need to get is a warm wash cloth and gently rub the affected area before patting your skin dry and reapplying your self-tanner to match the amount you have put on the rest of your body. 

If you realize you over-applied too late, and the product has already set, try one of these tips to remove a self-tanning streak

6. Don’t Wear Tight Clothing

Once you put your self-tanner on, it’s important that you let the product soak in completely before you go about your day. 

After you’ve put on your product, let your body dry for at least 10 minutes or until it’s dry to the touch. If you are going about your day and going out to work or somewhere else, do not wear tight clothing! This is especially critical if you are using a self-tanner with dyes that could stain your clothing. 

The best time to put on self-tanning products is at night. The nighttime application allows for you to have the right time to let your body dry before and after application and not worry about tight clothing or coming into contact with elements that could leave behind streak-free results. Just wait a few minutes before climbing into bed if you are using a traditional self-tanner — you don’t want orange sheets. 

7. Stay Away From Water From Streak-Free Results

Self-tanners usually take about 6 to 8 hours to give you a tan, which means in that time frame you should not visit the sauna, workout, or swim. 

Most self-tanners last for up to 7 to 10 days after there has been a noticeable change. To keep the color of your tan consistent, you should reapply every other day at first to build up color consistency, depending on your product. 

Keep Your Beautiful Golden Glow

The best part about self-tanners is that you can have a gorgeous tan all year round with these easy-to-use products!

The worst part is that most of them are terrible for your health. When you start to look for a self-tanning product, be sure to pay attention to the ingredients that are used. Some of the main market products contain harmful ingredients whereas Naru Organics Self-Tanner uses organic and natural ingredients that are hydrating and safe for your skin. 

Practice self-care for your current and future self by trying Naru Organics self-tanner instead.

Ashlyn Noah

Ashlyn Noah is an author in the skin care industry.