How To Avoid Self Tanning Disasters

Many of us know the nightmare of a self tanning experiment gone wrong. Hello, blotches and streaks galore! But that’s not the only pitfall associated with an at-home glow. From tanned hands to stained clothes, there’s no problem we haven’t seen. Here’s how to avoid every single self tanning disaster so you can get through summer without worry.


Blotchy Hands and Feet: Is there anything more obvious than the terribly visible signs of a self tan gone wrong? Avoid blotchy hands and feet by adhering to two very simple guidelines. When applying self tanner to your feet, use a small amount—a little bit goes a very long way. Blend, blend, blend, and make sure that your feet are well exfoliated before you apply any product. As for your hands, just a touch on the backs and fingers is enough. Again, just a little bit is all you need. Skip your palms and soles—these areas don’t tan well.

The Dreaded Stain: I feel your pain, fellow self tanners. There are some products out there that work like a dream and leave your skin with the most enviable, island-worthy glow around, but often at the expense of your clothing or bed sheets. Nip this issue in the bud. It’s great to apply your product at night so you’ll wake up golden, but be sure to lay a beach towel on your bed if you’re using something darkly tinted. These tints act as a guide for users; while very helpful, they can leave a mess behind. And slip into lightweight cotton clothes 15 to 20 minutes after you’ve tanned to avoid destroying your favorite attire.

Orange You Lovely: Oh, the lovely dead giveaway. Nothing says Jersey Shore reject like an orange tan. If you’re new to the self tanning game, start with a gradual tanner, like Jergens Natural Glow. It develops slowly, so you can monitor the color instead of jumping headfirst into something that may not work out. It’s also available in two shades (fair/medium and medium/tan) and is infused with moisturizing ingredients to keep your skin soft. If you prefer a regular self tanner, opt for the lighter shade and build on that—remember that it’s much easier to darken a light shade than vice versa.

A Total Mess: This is the risk you take when going the DIY faux tan route. If you end up with a tan you simply can’t stand, apply a light layer of coconut oil to your skin. Then exfoliate with a loofah or scrubby sponge until all traces of color are gone. This can be a tedious process, but if you’re unhappy with your color it’s a fool-proof solution. If you only want to “erase” one or two spots, cut a lemon in half and massage it on those areas. This is a natural method that really works in a pinch.

Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t get too down on yourself. Just like waxing your bikini line or mastering a curling iron, this is a learning process that may take a few attempts to get completely right. Once you develop a routine and schedule that works for you, you’ll find it gets much easier. Go on and get glowing!

More Tanning Tips: