How To Tan in The Winter – An Effective Guide

tanning in sun

Winter is a time when everyone is looking for that healthy glowing skin that makes them look radiant in contrast to the weather. Many people prefer a tan to give them this sun-kissed look, but with the sun’s intensity being at its lowest, tanning can be hard.

There are several methods of getting a tan in the winter including a suntan, tanning beds and using a variety of products to get a fake tan. With a variety of ways to achieve this, people can now get a winter tan without any serious risks. Out of the three tanning methods, fake tans are the most popular option among tanners in the winter time. 

Keep reading to find out all the ways you can achieve an amazing tan without having to sit in the sun at all!

How To Get Tan in Winter?

Tanning in the winter can be a serious challenge if one relies on the natural method of using sunlight. Since the sun is not as sharp on winter days, it is harder to tan naturally. 

The easiest way to know how to get tan in winter is to use products like tanning lotions, tanning sprays, and mousses, etc. Not only do these products last longer since people sweat less in winters and take baths less often, but they also come with no adverse effects at all. 

On top of these tanning methods you also have the option to try for a natural tan on the sun as well as tanning beds too. Below we will cover each of the different methods and how to actually make use of them this winter!

1. Use Tanning Products

Mousse Tans

Mousse tans come in rich, airy foams that are easy to spread over the whole body. They are highly moisturizing and can instantly be absorbed into the skin. They give an even tan that does not wear off quickly. 

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Tanning Lotion

Tanning lotions are easy to spread due to their runny nature. They can easily absorb into the skin and give crease-free tans. Even though they might not be as long-lasting as other options, they’re great for a quick sun-kissed touch-up. 

We Recommend: Beauty by Earth Self Tanning Lotion

Spray Tans

Spray tans are the most efficient way to get a tan in winters and they tend to last a little longer (typically 7-10 days). They can be applied at home or professionally at a salon.

2. Monitor the UV Index (sun tanning)

If you want to go sun tanning – try to find a day and time frame when the UV index is at its peak during winter.  Mostly, it will be midday on a sunny day. Typically this information is available on weather mobile apps and websites such as that can guide you about upcoming weather conditions so you can plan your tanning session accordingly. When the UV index is active (above 0) means you can actually get a tan anywhere with an index of 1-3 or higher could be enough to offer you a natural tan over time.

3. Apply a Tanning Lotion 

To amplify the effect of a suntan or tanning bed, you may want to apply tanning lotion over your body before a tanning session. How this works is the lotion helps attract more light to the skin which in turn speeds up the natural tanning process. You can make your own home tanning oil using oils such as coconut oil, olive oil etc. Or instead you can opt for a store bought one.

4. Use a Tanning Bed to Tan in the Winter

Tanning beds are another great option to tan effectively in the colder months. These beds use ultraviolet radiation to help achieve a natural sun tan without having to sit in the sun. It may take a few tanning bed sessions to be able to achieve the desired tan on your skin.

5. Exfoliate Your Skin

Winter is a season of dryness where the skin’s outer layer may be too dehydrated. If a tan is applied directly onto this skin, it will wear off more quickly and drier parts of skin can absorb the tan more easily with can lead to darker tan patches on the skin.

Since the top layer of your skin is basically dead skin cells that will fall off soon, it is best to get rid of them before your tanning session by exfoliating. If you don’t, these dead skin cells will be the ones that will tan first and will shed more quickly, making the tan fade more quickly. This applies to all the kinds of tanning.

6. Choose Appropriate Clothing (tanning bed)

Try to wear minimal clothing when tanning in a tanning bed. Most people either like to wear a bikini or go naked to minimize any tan lines. Many also like to go naked to get their tan in a tanning bed. However, it is advised to use a towel to cover the private areas of the body that may be more sensitive to the UV rays.

7. Rotate Your Body

Rotating your body throughout a tanning session (sun tanning & tanning beds) will help get an even tan all over your body in a shorter period of time.

How to Make Your Tan Last Longer (even in Winter)

Generally, staying tan all year requires one to be conscious of their actions between sessions. 

However, in winters tanning gets more difficult since the skin is usually drier and flaky. There needs to be a lot of preparation done to make sure a winter tan comes out perfect and seamless. 

Here are some guidelines if you are looking to stay tan for longer especially in winter:

Moisturize Your Skin Regularly

Moisturizing the skin before and in between tanning sessions is key to the perfect winter glow. Skin in winters can dry up and crack, making tans look creasy and uneven. Make sure your skin is moisturized and replenished before tanning it regardless if it’s a fake or natural tan. 

Use Moisture-Rich Tanning Products

One of the key products to invest in for winters is tanning oil, which replenishes the moisture in your skin whilst giving off a dewy and sun-kissed glow. 

Avoid Wearing Coarse Clothes

Winter clothing often consists of many layers which can significantly reduce a tan due to all of the friction happening between the clothes and skin. It is advised to wear initial layers made of soft and silky material and then layer up. This will greatly reduce the friction between the skin and clothes thus stopping any spray tan from rubbing off as quickly.

Use a Tan Enhancing Product 

Lastly, although tans can look dull as the winter passes there is always an option to use tan enhancing products to make it last longer. These products help highlight the tanning pigment just when it is starting to dull. It’s easy to apply these products since they come in the form of creams and makeup. 

A Tanning Enhancer Trick (bonus)

If you’re thinking about how to keep your tan throughout the winters, then the simple way is that you take all necessary spray tan precautions before and after tanning such as applying a lotion after

One of the fast areas where tan wears off is the face. Hence, it’s a good idea to use a tan enhancer to give yourself a natural glow in the areas you tan the most. If you are tanning in the sun a tan enhancer such as coconut oil can work really well – this is because the oil helps attract more rays to the skin and can help increase the tanning effect. 

Areas you should apply too:

  • The sides of your forehead
  • The apples of your cheeks
  • The bridge of your nose
  • Your T-zone in some cases
  • Your chin area

This will help give the illusion of an overall tan that is not fading anytime soon. You can also try wearing colors that complement the warm tones of the tan.

We recommend not doing this for the first time on the face, instead use a patch on your arm or leg firstly to see how your skin reacts to it and work from there.

Related Questions

How Long Does it Take to Tan in Winter?

If you’re using a fake tan then it can take a matter of minutes or hours to really work its charm. However, if you are planning to tan naturally then you may need to tan multiple days in a row without any guarantee of getting a desired tanning effect.  Furthermore, if the UV index on the day that you plan on suntanning is zero, there is no way your skin will get darker regardless of how many hours you sit out in the sun. 

So basically, the rate at which you will tan under the sun in the winter is directly proportional to the UV index level. 

How Do People Stay Tan in The Winter?

People use tan enhancers and other make-up tricks to stay tan during the winter. They also make sure to take proper care of their tan so that it doesn’t fade faster.

Why is it Harder To Get a Tan in Winter?

The generally dry weather, the flaky condition of the skin, low absorption rate, and lack of sunlight are all the contributing factors to why it’s harder to tan during winter. 

How Can I Tan Faster Without The Sun?

If you wish to tan faster without the sun you can try using tanning oils and serums that naturally promote your skin to change to a warmer color with frequent use. 

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