How to Get a Dark Tan in One Day

woman sun tanning

Sometimes impatience kicks in when it comes to tanning, and so I often get asked about how to get tan in one day. Maybe you’ve been invited last-minute to an event, or time has slipped away before a vacation, and you want a bronzy glow, now!

The best way to get a dark tan in one day is sunless tanning, which is your quickest and safest option. If you prefer the look of a natural tan, however, there are some ways to speed up the process, too. Tanning lotions and after sun lotions are going to become your best friends to speed up the natural tanning process.

Let’s take a look a what helps you tan quickly in more detail.

How to Tan Quickly in the Sun

If you want to know how to get tan fast naturally, you have probably found some videos online of people performing very dangerous activities. I saw one woman mixing bronzer into baby oil and lying out in the sun, which made me scream into my phone.

Tanning lotions the best choice here, you can even use oils such as coconut oil or olive oil for a similar effect – they are very easy to apply because they slide seamlessly over the skin, meaning much less likelihood of streaks and patches. You should apply these kinds of lotions just before you lay in the sun. They have the effect of amplifying the tanning effect because the lotion helps attract more sun to the skin which will help you tan faster.

For an even tan, change position every 30 minutes. That means lie on your back, on your front, and on each side, on rotation, to ensure every part of the body gets its sun exposure.

You are most likely to burn in the middle of the day, between 10am and 2pm, because the sun’s rays are at their strongest, or most concentrated and when the UV index is highest. Keep in mind when the UV index is very high it is not a good idea to lay in the sun. The UV index should be around a moderate level as to offer a good tanning effect with less risk of burning. Typically, between 10am-2pm is perfect for this.

Keep a close eye on your skin’s color and temperature to check for signs of burning. Whilst mild burn can turn into tan eventually, most of the time burning will lead to peeling skin, which is not a good look. Not only will it leave raw, red and patchy skin underneath, sunburn is the leading cause of skin cancer.

After sunbathing, have a cool shower to cleanse your skin and then moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The sun dries out the skin, and flaky skin will ruin the appearance of your tan. Choose a tan extender or prolonging after sun lotion for even better results.

Sunless Tanning Options

The fastest, and the only safe, way of how to get a tan in one day is to use a sunless tanning product. Fake tan still has a bad reputation amongst some people, but the orange streaky images that come to mind are long gone and forgotten. Sunless tanning products have come a long way, and you can easily find one to give you an even, natural glow.

If you are worried about applying a sunless tanning product yourself, visit a salon for a spray tan they aren’t usually too expensive. They sometimes use an airbrush gun to evenly apply the tan. The spray contains a cosmetic layer of color that you can shower off, as well as a longer-lasting layer of color that reacts with your skin over a few hours.

The developing layer can take up to eight hours to develop, so plan your spray tan salon visit for the day before your vacation, wedding, or any event that you want the tan for. Once it has developed, it can last up to ten days.

If you don’t have time to visit a salon, there are plenty of at-home sunless tanning options too. There are sprays that only contain a cosmetic layer of color, like a bronzer, which are great for day events or nights out. The color will come off when you shower, though.

There are also sprays and lotions that work like the products in the salons – they contain developer color that takes a while to show up but lasts much longer and can withstand showers and swimming.

There are also tinted moisturizers that slowly build up a tan, but if you want fast results, then don’t opt for these.

It’s best to use a tanning mitt or something like gloves when applying fake tan to avoid color getting trapped in your nailbeds and between your fingers. We recommend something like our very special blackout tanning mitt.

Exfoliate before applying fake tan to give the product a smooth and even surface to get to work on.

Check out our own: Blackout Tanning Mitt

Sunless tanning is a great option for the fastest tanning without any of the risks associated with sun exposure. Modern products can give you a ‘natural’ looking tan, and you don’t need to worry about your health!

Sunbed Option

Sunbeds or tanning beds are a controversial topic, with doctors and dermatologists trying to discourage people from using them because of the associated risks. Sunbeds emit highly concentrated UV rays onto the skin, which is dangerous if overused, but also a huge time-saving option if you want a quick tan.

Because the UV rays in sunbeds are so concentrated, you can spend as little as five minutes in one to see the same results as up to an hour in the sun depending on your skin tone as explained by the tanning bed time chart. Furthermore, because the bulbs surround your body, you don’t need to worry about turning over every few minutes to get an even tan.

Use sunbeds as sparingly as you can. It is certainly not something to do every day even as the FDA recommends! Always protect your eyes with UV goggles and consider using patties to protect your nipples and other sensitive areas if you use sunbeds naked.

Just like spending time in the sun, rehydrating your skin with lotion after using sunbeds is really important to see the best results. There are also tan accelerating lotions you can use whilst on the sunbed.

Related Questions

Do Tans Get Darker Overnight?

Sunless tanning products take around eight hours to develop if they are the most common kind containing DHA.

Natural tans also develop overnight, especially if you apply a tan enhancing after sun lotion before you go to bed. It takes a while for the stimulated melanin to appear as tan on your skin.

Can You Get Tan in 30 Minutes a Day?

Absolutely! 30 minutes in the sun over a few days is enough time to build up a tan. Even when spending a short amount of time sunbathing, like 30 minutes, make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from burning.

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