How to Prepare Your Skin for a Fake Tan

As a young girl, I was blessed with wide-open and safe spaces to play. I would often leave the house after breakfast and not come back until the sunset, and even then, I had to be coaxed inside by my mother. At the end of each summer, I had a beautiful tan, and we never thought about what that might mean to my skin.

Today, we all know that the sun can be dangerous and it is best to wear sunscreen when spending any amount of time in the sun. This is great for our health, but what does that do for the golden glow many women wish to achieve?

Many new alternatives have come about in recent years, including tanning booths, and tans that can be applied to the skin in the form of a lotion or a spray mist. Tanning booths might not be any better for your skin than direct sunshine, but lotions and sprays are definitely a good idea. The only problem with those is the way they can look on some skin types.

Fake tans have advanced to the point where they can look completely natural. When they first came about, people were usually disappointed with the results. Many had stripped looking skin, or were covered with blotches, while hands and knees turned a bright shade of orange.

The formulas have gotten better, and the results are often very natural looking, but there can still be problems. If you want to do a fake tan from a bottle or with a mist, you have to prepare your skin to ensure a more natural looking tan.

The Brand

When choosing a home tan product, don’t skimp to save a few bucks. This is one time when the more you pay, the better the outcome. Decide if you want an instant dark tan or a gradual tan. There are lotions that will do both. If you are trying it for the first time, the gradual tan might be a better bet for you.

There are also kinds that can be sprayed or airbrushed onto your body. You can get this done commercially if you wish to pay for it. This may require some practice and you may not get it right the first time.


Before you apply any type of tanning product, or go for an appointment, you want to make sure your skin is in good shape. Exfoliate your entire body at least a few times leading directly up to your appointment. Give dryer areas like your elbows, knees, ankles, hands, and feet extra attention. The pigments will gather in dry spots and appear darker then the rest of you.


Keep your skin supply and moist by moisturizing everyday after your exfoliate. This will help the self-tanner to apply more evenly. Skip it the day you plan to apply the self-tanner however, because it may affect the tanner.

Take Your Time

This is definitely not something you want to rush. Use even pressure when applying the product and follow the directions on the package to the letter. Remember if may take a bit for the color to develop, so don’t apply more just because you have become inpatient. Many brands will require you to do a few applications before your tan appears to your liking.

Clean Up

Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands after applying a tanning lotion. If you don’t, you may end up with orange palms. The same can be said for the area around you. The lotion may stain your furniture or floor, so make sure you wipe everything up.


After you have gotten your tan just like you like it, you’ll have to reapply as needed. Remember to keep your skin in good shape by exfoliating your entire body each time you shower. Also remember to moisturize.


Remember that even though you have a tan, you need to use sunscreen. Your skin is just as susceptible to burning as it was before you applied the self-tanner. Always take the time to protect your skin.


– Apply lotion to dry areas right before applying self-tanner. This will help keep the pigment from gathering there unevenly.

– Have a large mirror handy so you can see behind you.

– Start from the ground up for best results.

– Sweating can cause runs just after self-tanner has been applied.

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