Inside: How to achieve the perfect sunless tan at home. (Part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser).
When I was younger, I used to tan regularly, both in the sun and in tanning beds. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I loved how I looked with a golden glow. A skin cancer scare set me straight, and I decided a few years ago that it just wasn’t worth the risk, so I decided to “create my own sunshine” and switch to sunless tanning.
How to Achieve the Perfect Sunless Tan
I’ve tried just about everything since then, and I’ve definitely learned some tips along the way that can help you achieve that perfect sunless tan that looks like you just returned from a tropical vacation. (No one will be able to tell that you got your gorgeous glow without ever leaving the house!)
Note: This post contains ad links to products I love and use; read our disclosure policy here.
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15 tips for getting the perfect sunless tan:
1- The best time to apply sunless tanner is at night, so the color can develop while you sleep. This will allow 6-8 hours for maximum results.
2- Start with clean skin, free from moisturizer. Ideally, you’ll want to take a shower to wash off any remnants of lotion and/or makeup you might have applied earlier in the day.
3- Exfoliating with a loofah or washcloth will slough away dead skin cells, allowing you to achieve the smoothest tan possible. This is also the best time to shave, as this is extra exfoliation for your legs beforehand.
4- When you’re done showering and exfoliating, towel dry completely. Do not apply any oils or lotions, as these can interfere with the absorption of sunless tanner.
5- You can apply plain moisturizer to act as a barrier for areas that absorb sunless tanner quickly, such as elbows, feet, ankles, and knees.
6- Now it’s time to tan! I love JERGENS® Natural Glow® 3 Days to Glow™ Moisturizer because you see results after the first use. Here’s my skin after just one application:
Since it is still a gradual application formula, there is less chance of messing up. It’s perfect for sunless tanning “newbies!” Oh, and it smells amazing!! (Seriously! I think it smells like cucumbers…very spa-like!)
7- Be sure to choose the product designed with your natural skin tone as the starting point. If you’re fair-skinned (like I am), you’ll want to choose the fair/medium for the most natural-looking results.
8- When applying, start with the easiest areas first: legs, arms, stomach. Apply sunless tanner liberally and work into skin in a sweeping, downward motion.
9- Immediately following application, wash hands thoroughly, paying careful attention to fingernails and wrists. I actually wash my hands twice — the first time removes excess lotion leftover from application, and the second wash is where I am able to scrub away any that might have absorbed already before the color develops.
10- Allow your skin to dry completely before dressing (about 5 minutes). A hair dryer on the cool setting can speed up the process.
11- If you notice later that you got a little too much tanner in one spot, or on your hands, a quick scrub with nail polish remover can help blend.
12- Protect your tan by avoiding exfoliation and shaving until your next sunless tanning application (usually 7-10 days after you’ve achieved your initial tan). Applying JERGENS® Natural Glow® Daily Moisturizer each time you shower will help extend your tan by keeping your skin moisturized AND adding a hint of color.
13- Since you’re using sunless tanner, you probably already know that it’s not good for your skin to tan in the sun and wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors for long periods of time. However, incidental sun (like when you’re out and about running errands) can also damage your skin. I use JERGENS® Natural Glow® FACE Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20 every day after I wash my face to keep my face glowing and protect it from UV rays that you don’t even realize are there!
14- With two little girls keeping me busy, I almost never have time to put on full makeup in the morning, but a golden glow can even out your skin tone. Using a gradual glow facial moisturizer means I don’t spend a lot of time getting ready in the morning, but I still feel confident…enough to take a no-make-up-selfie!
15- Getting a spray tan by a professional looks amazing, but it’s too expensive to do on a regular basis. Whether you’re going for a deep bronze for a special event, or just a hint of color for your day-to-day look, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. JERGENS® Natural Glow® products are easy to find at your local Walmart, and they will give you professional-quality results for a fraction of the cost!
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Do you have any “secret” tips for the perfect sunless tan? Share in the comments below!
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