Years ago I threw the tanning beds and spray tan memberships to the side and decided that was no longer for me or my wallet. Self tanning at home has been so much more efficient for both my schedule and my bank account. I don't know about you guys, but finding the right self tanning solution and routine has taken some trial and error. I've finally gotten in a groove and found what works for me consistently - YAY! If you're someone looking to explore self-tanning at home or already are but just need a new product, or some tips + tricks, then keep on reading to learn more about my routine and what I've been loving!
WHAT I USE
Lately, my go-to product has been the NKD SKN Self Tanning Mousse in dark. There's a few reasons why I absolutely love this product aside from the fact that they are non-toxic, organic and cruelty-free. The product essentially has no smell which is an automatic two-thumbs up for me! It dries incredibly fast and is not streaky whatsoever. I'm a huge fan of the color, which starts off as a nice glow and then develops over 4-8 hours into a gorgeous natural, but bronze finish. OH, and did I mention that all of the NKD SKN products are $20 or less? Talk about a WIN.
Since using the NKD SKN Mousse I've found that getting in a routine to self tan once a week works really well for me. Of course, depending on other factors like events and travel, shaving schedule and such, I may need to double it up. But, for the typical work week once is perfect. I've found that tanning Friday night or Saturday morning works great. Applying it around this time makes me feel like I'm ending the week and starting a new one prepared and prepped with my faux glow. If I do it Friday, then I'll apply it at night and sleep in it. If I do Saturday, then I'll apply first thing in the morning and leave it on all day.
A few things to definitely keep in mind if you're going to test out applying in the morning and wearing throughout the day:
- DON'T try this if you plan on being outside + it's hot. You will sweat off the color guide.
- DON'T try this and then wear white, similarly for the same reason as above. If you end up sweating at all, the color guide will come off.
- DON'T try this if your plans involve you being around or in water - the color guide and entire tan will 110% come off.
Basically, make sure before you are doing any activities where you'll be sweating or in water that you shower first. If not, you'll still have on the color guide which will be the first thing to come off.
To prepare myself for tanning and ensure I'm getting the most out of my application there's two things I always do beforehand - exfoliate and shave! Both of these steps are super important and not only help get rid of any patchiness that's left over from the prior weeks tan, but also makes sure the new tan is going to glide on and apply seamlessly.
Keep in mind, if you plan on doing these two steps immediately before applying your tan solution, don't use anything that's oily or heavy on the skin. Your tanning mousse or lotion will not be able to apply evenly and will get stuck.
APPLICATION TIPS + TRICKS
I always, always, always use a mitt! I love the one that I have from NKD SKN, but you can use any one you want. I usually start out by doing my legs, and pump out 2-3 pumps each time. I apply it in a straight downward motion - you do not need to do any sort of circular motion for this whatsoever.
Once my legs are done, I work my way up and tan my stomach, then chest/lower back, then arms and then the rest of my back. I got an incredible amount of questions about how I tan my back, haha. The answer is pretty easy: Chris. But seriously, I can get my back by myself for the most part (I'm double jointed) but if I do need some reinforcement, I summon Honey Bunny.
Another hot topic so many of you were curious about, is getting those tricky areas like wrists, hands, knees, elbows, feet. I know with so many tanning products those areas (especially knees, ankles, and elbows) will streak and crease really bad. Truthfully, I have yet to have that problem whatsoever with this mousse. It's a total dream! I haven't found this to be streaky in general, but those areas are always the true test. For me personally so far, it's been great! A trick that I use if I am worried the product went on funny, is I'll take my mitt with no added product and I'll pat the area - similarly to stipling with a beauty blender. To me, this helps soak up any extra product and blend in any weird areas.
For my hands and feet I NEVER go in with full mousse or product on the mitt. I always go over those areas with whatever product might be left over after fully applying on my legs or arms. This helps blend and build any color you want in those spots. I'll also use the same technique as mentioned above, and pat with the mitt if anything looks funny.
The formula of the NKD SKN mousse specifically is awesome because it dries incredibly fast. I try and wait a minute or two before getting dressed, and if I'm able, I throw on my robe or a baggy tee shirt. Anything that isn't form fitting or tight is ideal.
As far as longevity of my tan goes, I'm going to be honest with you guys -- I don't shave my legs every day. Aside from the fact that my skin is just too sensitive for that anyways, I would totally have to reapply my self tan way more frequently if I did. Depending on what I have going on, I shave my legs every 1-2 days. Doing this really helps me be able to go a full week with one application.
Also keep in mind any lotions, body washes and oils you're using. Products that are heavy in alcohol and scented will more easily strip the color, so if you're trying to get the most out of your application, it's best to avoid those.