How to Apply Fake Tan Without a Mitt – 5 Simple Steps

tanning with gloves

When it comes to tanning, fake tans have emerged as a safer and effective alternative. All you need for a fake tan is the product and a mitt to apply it evenly. However, in the absence of the product, certain quick fixes such as rubber gloves and socks can do the trick.

Are you wondering how to apply fake tan without a mitt and if the above methods are even useful?

Dive in to learn more about applying a fake tan without using a mitt and achieving the best results from your tanning process.   

5 Ways to Apply Fake Tan Without a Mitt:

Whether you are a novice at fake tan or a pro, self-tanning mitts tend to make the process much more convenient. They can help make the entire process of fake tan easier and also save time. A tan mitt applicator can also ensure that you apply the product evenly to get a smooth and rich tan on your skin. Of course if you do have the time to get a mitt check out our very own luxurious blackout tanning mitt.

While a mitt proves to be useful, it is not entirely necessary. If you don’t have access to a mitt, you can still apply a fake tan. Here are five methods you can follow in case you don’t have a mitt while using a self-tanner:

Rubber Gloves:

While it may sound absurd, rubber gloves can be the next best solution if you don’t have a mitt for a fake tan. Not only that, but a majority of people also prefer using rubber gloves over self-tanning mitts as they believe it offers better results. In case you have misplaced the mitt, opt for rubber gloves.

A rubber glove has separate holes for your fingers which ensures that the process of applying the tanning product becomes easier. It can help you reach areas that require more detail to achieve a smooth tanned look overall.

Rubber gloves don’t absorb any product, implying that there is significantly less waste, and you get maximum benefit. Moreover, using rubber gloves ensures a smoother application.

Once you are done with the tanning process, you can simply rinse and keep them for future use. The ability to reuse them makes it a sustainable option as well since you can use them again and again.

When you are using these self tanning gloves, you can also let go of the worries about getting the product and color on your hands.

We Recommend: Segbeauty Rubber Gloves


If you can’t seem to find a mitt for applying fake tan, a sock can come in handy here. You can find an old sock that you don’t wear anymore and use it instead for the tanning process. Since the sock can be worn on the hand much like a mitt, it is among the favorite tanning mitt alternatives for tanning enthusiasts.

When you start using a sock for applying fake tan, it is best to turn it inside out. Then, you can apply the self-tanner product directly to your skin and use the sock to spread it out evenly.

Since some of the product will be held on by the fabric, the process might go a bit smoother than it will while using a rubber glove. It will make sure the sock can spread the product nice and evenly.

In case you don’t have a spare sock, you can also opt for slipper socks. They tend to be thicker than the normal ones and inexpensive, allowing you to replace them easily.

If you’re going to use a sock, make sure it’s an old one and you don’t have to wear it again. Your socks will have residue of the product left on them, so you might end up with extremely tanned feet.  

Cling Film:

Although it may sound weird, a cling film can work wonders while applying a fake tan on your skin. It might even end up working better than you think. You can create a makeshift DIY tanning mitt by taking a simple cling film and wrapping it on your hand completely.

The smooth surface of the cling wrap will enable you to apply the fake tanning product smoothly. You might even get better results than what you get while using a mitt. 

While using cling film for fake tan, ensure you cover your entire hand with the cling film. If you leave any exposed spot, you might get tanned there. Don’t wrap the cling film too lightly, as it will cut off the circulation.  

Self-Tanning Wipes:

Another great way to apply a fake tan without the mitt is by using self-tanning wipes. These wipes are gaining immense popularity as because of to the convenience they offer during the tanning process. In case you don’t have a self-tanning mitt and do not like any other option, you can opt for these effective wipes.

It is basically a towelette with a high-grade tanning product on it. Since the product is already on the wipe, you just have to apply it to your skin. It ensures a smooth application of fake tan and gives you a dark and smooth tanned look.

You don’t even have to use your hands while using the self-tanning wipes. Although, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and scrub them well to avoid any discoloration.

The wipes tend to work great for people who are on the move. You can easily use them to get a tanned look, even if you are short on time. While self-tanning wipes offer convenience, they might not prove to be a budget-friendly alternative in the long run.  

We Recommend: Tan Towel Self Tan Towelettes

Use Your Hands:

Applying a fake tan using your hands can sound scary to most people; however, this is how a majority of enthusiasts start their tanning journey. Using your hands can prove to be an efficient and effective way of applying fake tan.

If you do it correctly, you can achieve great results by merely using your hands. It allows you to achieve a detailed application.

Make sure you prep up your skin well before you apply fake tan by merely using your hands. You must follow your normal routine of shower, exfoliating, shaving, and then moisturizing. Once the prep-up is complete, you can take the self-tanner in your hand and apply it liberally and evenly to your skin.

According to The Healthy, certain areas of the body are already dark in color due to the chronic friction from rubbing of clothes, which can lead to inflammation. Try not to apply too much fake tan to these dry body parts, such as ankles, elbows, and knees.

Top 5 Tanning Application Tips:

No matter which method you choose for applying a fake tan or a spray tan, it is how you prepare the skin beforehand that can significantly affect the results. If you’re planning on using a fake tan, there are a few tips that can help you get better results. They are listed below.

Moisturize Well:

A key factor that determines the success of the fake tan process is whether your skin is moisturized or not. You must use a non-scented and oil-free moisturizer on your skin after you have washed off the fake tan.

In case your skin dries out, it may lead to flaky, uneven, and unnatural tan. You can wait 20 minutes after washing off the tan and then apply a moisturizer to your skin. Though ideally you should be waiting 4-6 hours before applying moisturizer or lotion after a spray tan.

Make sure you take extra care of body parts that tend to have dry skin like elbows, wrists, and knees as they may absorb more color and turn out darker than the rest of the body.

We Recommend: Everyone Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion

Apply in a Cool and Dry Area:

Water, sweat, and humidity can result in the self-tanner breaking quickly, which may lead to a whole mess.

Whenever you are going to apply a fake tan, make sure you leave any steamy place before applying it. Always do it in a cool place and keep your skin dry.

Wait Before Washing:

Ideally, you must wait for a period of 4-6 hours before you take a shower after applying a fake tan as we explained here – washing off spray tan too early. It will give the product enough time to interact with the dead cells present in the top layer of your skin. You will get a dark, smooth, and even tan if you wait for the required amount of time.

Use Masking Tape:

In case you don’t want to get tan on body parts, such as the soles of your feet, masking tape can come to your aid. Use the tape to cover up the body part completely and then apply the fake tan.

Since masking tape is thick, it can protect your skin from getting tanned. It is also easy to remove and will not cause any discomfort.    

We Recommend: Outus Body Beauty Tape

Be Careful with Waxing and Shaving:

It is imperative to be careful with shaving and waxing, especially if you are applying the fake tan without a mitt. When you shave your skin, your skin can get inflamed and lead to micro-cuts. You can do the hair removal a day before the tanning process as it will give your skin the time needed to calm down.

Avoid shaving or waxing immediately after you have applied the fake tan. Ideally you should be waiting at least 12 hours to shave after a spray tan. The DHA present in the fake tan will interact with the top layer of the skin. If you shave or wax, it will remove the tan and defeat the whole purpose of the process.

Don’t forget to check out our very own luxurious blackout tanning mitt.

Related Questions:

Can You Apply Fake Tan with Your Hands?

While a self-tanning mitt is an ideal way to apply a fake tan, you can also use your hands for the same. You can simply take the fake tan product in your hand and apply it generously on your skin. Apply it evenly to get a smooth tanned look.

Can You Use Rubber Gloves to Apply Fake Tan?

Rubber gloves prove to be a great alternative if you don’t have a mitt. They can even offer a better and smoother application that enables you to get great results.

Can You Use a Sponge to Apply Fake Tan?

You can also use a sponge to apply a fake tan. Dispense the fake tan product on an edgeless sponge and then apply it carefully to your skin. Dot on your body with the sponge to get an evenly tanned look if you don’t have a mitt.   

What Can I Use to Put on a Self-Tanner?

Tanning professionals often recommend using a tanning glove or mitt to put on a self-tanner, but there are plenty of other alternatives. You can use a rubber glove, cling film, socks, self-tanning wipes, sponges, and even your hand to complete the process.

All of them can help you apply a smooth layer of tanning product on your skin and get a darker look.

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