How to Make Self Tanner Last Longer: Tips and Tricks from an Expert

tanned woman

A common concern that comes with self tanning is how to make it last longer and maintain your self tan as long as possible.

To make your self tan last longer you will need to prepare your skin beforehand and make sure the application and preparation are done correctly.

Below in this article we will cover all the important details you need to know to make your self tan last as long as possible.

How to Prepare Your Skin Before Applying Self Tanner

Before you even think about applying self tanner, it’s crucial to prepare your skin properly. This step is often overlooked, but it can make a world of difference in the longevity of your tan. Here are a few tips to get your skin ready:

Exfoliate: Before applying self tanner, exfoliate your skin at least 24 hours in advance. Pay extra attention to dry or rough areas like elbows, knees, ankles, and feet. This will help remove dead skin cells and create a smooth canvas for your self tanner to adhere to.

We Recommend: Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub

Moisturize: After exfoliating, moisturize your skin to keep it hydrated. However, be careful to avoid oil-based products, as they can interfere with the self tanner’s absorption. Opt for a lightweight, water-based moisturizer instead.

We Recommend: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizer

Shave: If you’re planning to shave, do it at least 12 hours before applying self tanner. Shaving too close to tanning can cause irritation and unevenness in your color. Give your skin some time to calm down before you reach for that self tanner bottle.

How to Apply Self Tanner Correctly and Evenly

Now that your skin is prepped and ready, it’s time to apply the self tanner. Proper application is key to achieving a streak-free and natural-looking tan. Here are some tips to help you get it right:

Choose the Right Shade: Select a self tanner that matches your skin tone and desired level of tan. This will ensure a more natural and flattering result.

Use a Mitt or Glove: To avoid staining your hands and ensure even distribution, use a tanning mitt or glove. This will help you achieve a seamless application without any tell-tale signs.

Start from the Feet: Begin applying the self tanner from your feet and work your way up. Use circular motions to blend the product into your skin, making sure to cover every inch. Remember to use less product on areas that tend to absorb more color, such as elbows, knees, ankles, and feet.

Let It Dry: Wait until the self tanner is completely dry before getting dressed or touching anything. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes, but it’s worth the wait to avoid any smudging or transferring.

How to Maintain Your Self Tan and Extend Its Longevity

So, you’ve applied your self tanner and achieved a gorgeous glow. Now, let’s talk about how to maintain it and make it last as long as possible. Follow these tips to keep your tan looking fresh and radiant:

Avoid Moisture for Six Hours: After applying self tanner, avoid showering, sweating, or swimming for at least six hours. This will give the color enough time to fully develop and adhere to your skin.

Be Gentle in the Shower: When showering or bathing, use a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Hot water and harsh soaps can strip off the color, causing it to fade faster.

We Recommend: Vanicream Gentle Body Wash

Pat, Don’t Rub: After washing, pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing it. Rubbing can cause flaking or fading, so be gentle and treat your tan with care.

Moisturize Daily: To lock in the moisture and prevent dryness, moisturize your skin daily with a hydrating lotion or oil. This will help your tan stay vibrant and last longer.

Reapply as Needed: Depending on the self tanner you’re using and your desired level of tan, you may need to reapply every few days. Keep an eye on your color and touch up as necessary to maintain your desired glow.

How to Fix Any Mistakes or Issues That May Arise

Even with the best intentions, mistakes can happen. If you find yourself with streaks, patches, orange tones, or stains, don’t panic. Here are some quick fixes to help you out:

Exfoliate: If you notice excess color or unevenness, use a gentle exfoliator or a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda to remove it. This will help even out your skin tone and remove any unwanted color.

Use a Self-Tan Eraser: For more stubborn mistakes or stains on your skin or clothes, try using a self-tan eraser or remover product. These are specifically designed to remove self tanner without damaging your skin.

We Recommend: Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

Cover Up with Bronzer or Concealer: For minor flaws or imperfections on your skin, you can use a bronzer or a concealer to cover them up. Just make sure to blend well for a seamless finish.

Correct Orange Tones: If your self tan has turned a bit orange or is fading unevenly, you can use a gradual tanner or a tinted moisturizer to correct it. These products will help balance out the color and give you a more natural-looking glow.


There you have it, my friends! By following these tips and tricks, you can make your self tan last longer and enjoy a flawless and radiant glow.

Remember to prepare your skin, apply the self tanner correctly, maintain your tan with care, and fix any issues that may arise. With a little bit of effort and the right techniques, you’ll be rocking that beautiful tan for days on end!

Important Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Self-Tan Fade So Fast?

Self-tans can fade quickly due to factors like improper skin preparation, excessive exfoliation, frequent showering, and not moisturizing regularly.

How Long Does Self-Tanner Usually Last?

Self-tanner typically lasts for about 5-7 days, depending on factors like your skin type, the quality of the product, and how well you maintain it.

How Do You Keep Fake Tan All the Time?

To keep your fake tan looking fresh all the time, exfoliate and moisturize your skin regularly, avoid harsh soaps and hot water when showering, and reapply self-tanner as needed.

Does Layering Self-Tan Make It Darker?

Layering self-tan can make it darker, but it’s important to wait for each layer to dry completely before applying the next one to avoid a patchy or uneven result. Always follow the instructions on the product for the best outcome.

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