How to Use Self-Tanners Like a Pro

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We’ve all been there: that moment when you look in the mirror and realize your hands are orange or there is a huge streak in your otherwise perfect tan and you wonder where it went wrong? We turned to Sophie Evans, St. Tropez skin finishing expert, to discuss the self-tanning mistakes you are making and how to avoid them.

Protect Your Hands
When applying self-tanner, it’s best not to use your bare hands whenever possible. “If you have to, I suggest washing them every two minutes in between limb applications or wearing tight-fitting latex gloves or a tan applicator mitt,” says Evans. “Also, do your hands last because the skin on your palms is thicker and drier, so self-tanner will sink in and develop very quickly, leaving them dark orange.”

Exfoliation Is Key
Exfoliating is a great way to buff your skin to create a more even surface for application. Evans says, “The better the condition of the skin, the better the tan will look, as you want to tan fresh skin cells so that the tan develops evenly with longer staying power.” 

Choose The Right Shade
There’s nothing worse than applying the product, waiting the recommended amount of time and then being left to discover that the color you chose definitely wasn’t the right color for you. Avoid making this mistake again by, “Patch testing different self-tanners to determine how the color will develop on your skin and always making sure your skin is free of all products before you start,” suggests Evans.

Stop The Streak
Not using enough product can be one of the causes of streaking and patches in your tan. Evans explains that skin can only absorb a certain amount of tanning agent, so as long as your skin is completely covered, it will always develop evenly. “Make sure you have enough product so that the tan can glide on effortlessly and without force.” 

Fade Flawlessly
Exfoliating before tanning is a must, but exfoliating once your tan is on is nearly as important. Evans recommends exfoliating lightly every two to three days. “This will prevent any color buildup and ensure that your tan is always fading evenly—certain areas will fade more quickly than others.”

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