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To help you get a natural-looking tan this season, Inspirations & Celebrations’ Beauty Contributor, Alana Mitchell (a licensed esthetician and skincare expert), shares her expertise on how to apply natural looking self-tanners. In today’s sunless tanning guide, learn how to prep your skin, apply the self-tanner properly, and find out how to maintain your faux glow.

Breaking out the shorts and tank tops this time of year is the fastest way to realize your legs and arms have been shielded by the comfort of long sleeves and pants all winter long. For many of us, this means doing a double-take at our sunless skin and maybe feeling a little self-conscious about our paler-than-usual appearance.

Sunless Tanning Guide - How To Apply Natural Looking Self Tanners

While skin that’s protected from the harmful rays of the sun is safer and healthier, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a little bronze glow this summer. Enter: sunless tanner. Using a self-tanner is the quickest, safest, easiest way to look like you’ve been sunning on the beach (without doing any damage to your skin). Now that’s a sun-kissed look I can get behind!

How To Use Self-Tanners

Self-tanner doesn’t always deliver perfect results, but luckily any streaks or tone issues can be easily prevented or remedied with just a few hacks and tweaks. I’ll share tips, tricks, and some of my favorite self-tanner brands so you can be well on your way to bronze summer beauty.

Sunless Tanning Guide - How To Apply Natural Looking Self TannersDo’s And Don’ts of Using a Self-Tanner

What To Do:

  • Exfoliate first. Removing dead skin cells helps decrease the likelihood of streaks.
  • Dry your skin. This helps give you an even application.
  • Apply in sections. Take your time, and rub in thoroughly.
  • Pay close attention to joints. Wrists and ankles are especially prone to streaking or uneven application. Joints tend to absorb more self-tanner.
  • Moisturize after. This helps the self-tanner “set”. Self-tanners shouldn’t be used as moisturizers.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly. Orange palms are just plain yucky!

What Not To Do:

  • Get dressed right away. Let your skin dry fully to prevent staining your clothes, and try to avoid sweating for a few hours.
  • Forget the back of your hands. Also known as “white glove syndrome”, forgetting the backs of your hands is a dead giveaway that your tan is from a bottle.
  • Forget to apply sunscreen. Just because you have a brilliant, bronzed look doesn’t mean you’re immune to sun damage. Use a sunscreen that contains an SPF of 15 or higher!

Sunless Tanning Guide - How To Apply Natural Looking Self Tanners

Alana’s Favorite Self-Tanner Finds

Below are a few different brands of self-tanner I’ve come across through the years that are truly exceptional. Regardless of your skin type and budget, there’s definitely a self-tanner out there that’s perfect for you!

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Self Tanner

This self tanner that not only smells heavenly, but is actually good for you! It contains hydrating organic oils, nourishing vitamin E, and youth promoting antioxidants into a luxurious sunless tanning lotion that provides you with a complete skin enriching experience. Organic sweet almond oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and mango seed butter help moisturize, nourish and soften the skin while organic rosehip oil helps to regenerate and brighten the skin, keeping it supple and healthy.

Beautisol All Seasons Glow Tanning Lotion
This self-tanning lotion gives an immediate light bronzing effect so you look tan and gorgeous instantly. It provides a flawless, natural-looking medium tan that lasts for days, moisturizes and nourishes the skin with anti-aging properties, helps conceal skin imperfections, and hydrates your skin. It also contains an odor eliminating fragrance technology and a color guide to ensure a flawless application.

June Jacobs Radiant Glow Self-Tanning Lotion

You can get a naturally gorgeous glow all year long with this self-tanning lotion. It’s perfect for all skin types, and provides a deep, dark tan while nourishing your skin at the same time for improved health and appearance. Antioxidants protect your skin from environmental damage. Your tan will last several days with regular use.

California Tan Instant Sunless Mousse

Who says mousse is just for dessert? This instant sunless mousse imparts a gorgeous sunless tan that lasts 5-to-7 days. It’s fast-drying with a fresh fragrance to boot. The combination of DHA and Erythrulose helps your skin develop a rich, natural-looking tan.

For more sunless tanning tips and products, check out the Skincare section on Inspirations & Celebrations.

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Contributor Alana MitchellFor over 14 years, Alana Mitchell (a licensed esthetician, beauty & skincare blogger, and mother of two), has sold over 300 lines of the highest of quality skincare lines through her store As a beauty contributor to Inspirations & Celebrations, Alana shares her insight and knowledge about skincare, personal care, and body treatments.



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[Images via Pixabay. Some affiliate links included.]

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