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Beauty 4 years ago

self-tanner 101: my routine and how to apply


So I’ve been a huge fan of self tanner for years now…but my appreciation for a good self tanner has exponentially grown this spring lol since none of us are out at pools soaking up the sun! I’ve shared my ultimate guide to self-tanning products, but now that I’ve gotten my self tanning routine down to a science now I wanted to share an updated review of my favorite products with you guys today!

It’s crazy to me how much a bronzed glow can really boost your mood / self confidence! I’m also sharing a tutorial on my instagram stories today showing you exactly HOW I apply my self tanner, so make sure to head over there to watch! (I’ll also save it to a highlight so you can refer back!).

Prep your skin: exfoliate + shave

Before applying self tanner (or get a spray tan), it’s important to prep your skin! Get rid of dead skin cells or scrub off any old self tanner you might have on your skin. My absolute exfoliator for my body is this one from necessaire. Clean ingredients, tons of great vitamins + nutrients for your skin, and doesn’t dry your skin out! I exfoliate my skin in the shower, and then shave with my Billie razor before applying self tanner. It’s best to do this 12-24hrs before applying self tanner, but sometimes I do it just an hour or so beforehand if I have to.

Apply self-tanner

My absolute favorite self tanner for probably a year now is this loving tan 2hr express self tanner (I wear it in shade ‘dark’). I love it because the tan shows up almost right away (a lot of other self tanners take hours to develop), and you can rinse off 2hrs after applying if you want to! I personally don’t feel the need to rinse off because this self tanner doesn’t make you sticky or smelly, so I like to leave it on all day before rinsing off! That way, the tan continues to develop! I also love this self tanner because it has like, bronzy undertones instead of red or orange. It gives you a really natural looking tan, like you just got back from the beach.

So, I apply my self tanner with this applicator mit. Again, I’m sharing a tutorial on my IG stories today as far as HOW I apply it so make sure to check that out (or watch my self tanning highlight). Make sure you apply in circular motions and only use it sparingly on your hands, feet, elbows and knees!

After applying self tanner, I’ll typically just put my robe on for a while until it’s completely dry (I like to wait at least 15mins before getting dressed).

What about the face?

I personally don’t apply self tanning mousse to my face. I’m sure you could but I just prefer not to. (My skin is prone to breakouts and I don’t want to risk it ha). I add a few drops of these tanning drops (in ‘dark’) into my daily moisturizer, and then apply to my face, to get my face tan! You can also use these tanning drops all over your body, but lately I’ve been liking the mousse more for my body. I do like using the drops on my face though! They give your face some color without being too much and they haven’t broken me out or anything!

How often?

My process / timeline for self tanner is typically once a week. So, I exfoliate / shave / apply self tanner (on face and body) day 1. From day 2 on, it’s important to keep your skin moisturized to extend the life of your tan! Again, I use and love this body lotion by necessaire! Clean ingredients and really hydrating! Moisturized skin stays tan longer and also helps your tan not get splotchy.

Sometimes around day 4 of my ‘self tanning window’, I will mix in a few of these tan drops into my body lotion and apply all over…just to make the tan last a little bit longer + give me a little bit more color! Just make sure to wash your hands really well after using the tan drops, since you don’t apply them with a mit.


So, just as a recap, here’s what my whole process looks like! You can click on any product in the collage to shop!


to get the scoop on all my beauty faves drop your email below!

So there you have it! My tried and true self tanning routine! If you guys try out these products, tag me on stories or leave a comment and let me know what you think! I’ve tried out COUNTLESS self tanners and continue coming back to this one and this routine, because both work really well for my skin.

Thanks for reading!


xo Lauren

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