Sunless Savvy

A Guide to At-Home Sunless Tanners

Applying an at-home sunless tanner can yield amazing results and keep you out of harmful UV rays. But orange, streaky horror stories can cause hesitation. As you start baring more skin this spring, check out these tips and tricks for applying a flawless façade.

Be Picky

Prior to making a purchase, research and pick a form (lotion, gel, mousse, spray) that you’re most comfortable applying. Check how long it takes the color to fully develop, how long before it fades, and what the product recommends for post-application maintenance.

Before a  total body application, test the tanner on an inconspicuous area, like your stomach, to see the color, intensity, and your skin’s reaction.

Don't Skip the Prep

To avoid uneven coverage and over-absorption in extra dry areas (knees, elbows, etc.), you should always do a full-body exfoliation and shower before applying. You can use a body brush or dry washcloth, then step into the shower to rinse away dead skin cells. Just make sure your body is completely dry before you begin, and stay out of steamy, post-shower bathrooms during application.

Bottoms Up

Apply the tanner in sections from your feet and legs upward. The lower half of your body can remain stationary while you finish your torso, arms, décolletage, and so on. This helps prevent any unwanted creases or streaks to areas already covered.

Pro Tip: Use tight fitting latex gloves (available at most drug stores) during application to avoid orange palms!

Tired of that Tell-Tale Smell?

Some sunless tanners’ active ingredient is dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – a sugar that chemically reacts with the protein and amino acids in your top layer of (usually dead) skin, causing increased pigmentation and a pungent smell! A quick online search for self-tanners that do not contain DHA yields a long list of alternatives.

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