Beauty

Our favourite tips for a fool-proof self-tanner application—promise!

5 simple steps to get the best sunless tan

Vita Liberata Author: Alexandra Donaldson

Beauty

Our favourite tips for a fool-proof self-tanner application—promise!

We asked Vita Liberata founder and CEO Alyson Hogg how to get the best guilt-free glow.

Sitting out in the sun to get a tan is a major beauty—and health—no-no, but the desire for a glow (sans UVB rays) has put pressure on the self-tanner industry to up its game. "The biggest barrier to entry is the fear that it's not going to look natural," says Alyson Hogg, founder and CEO of Vita Liberata, "but the colour of all tanners has dramatically improved."

When should you leave the self-tanning to the pros? If you have a big event like a wedding or if you're planing to wear something backless. "I don't know any humans who can self-tan their back by themselves," says Hogg.

Step 1: Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the key to achieving an even, streak-free tan that lasts. "Pay extra attention to the dry areas: knuckles, elbows, knees and feet," says Hogg. "They tend to develop a little darker."

Step 2: Moisturize

The more hydrated your skin is, the longer the colour will last. Some self-tanners already have moisturizing properties, but the less parched the skin, the better the results. Right before you self-tan, steer clear of heavy creams and oils, which can create a barrier between your skin and the tanning product.

Step 3: Get your glow on

For larger areas such as your arms, decollete and legs, Hogg recommends using a tanning mitt to apply the self-tanner, which will help with even distribution—and save your hands from being overly tanned. "Always start sunless tanning wherever the sun naturally hits," such as the tops of your arms and your shoulders, says Hogg. Then, move the mitt in elongated circular motions, skipping the cracks and creases that tend to develop darker (think elbows and hands). Once you have the larger areas covered, gently swipe the parts you skipped.

"I see a lot of hands not [faux-] tanned right—and dark knuckles and dark knees," says Hogg. To get perfect beachy hands, apply product from the nails toward the wrists, and don't go between the fingers. Then, use a makeup wipe to wash your knuckles so the tan doesn't overdevelop.

Step 4: Let it set

Don't sweat, moisturize or shower for four to six hours after you self-tan. Doing so can cause your skin to appear blotchy or impact the longevity of your colour. After you shower, you'll wash away any guide colour (an initial tint in some self-tanners to help you see where you've already applied it) and can return to your normal routine with your new faux glow.

Step 5: Maintain

Adding a gradual-tanning moisturizer to your skin-care regimen will help you maintain your colour; use it every couple of days for optimal results. Stay away from hydrating body oils that aren't specifically formulated for self-tanned skin, as the oils can break down the results more quickly. To keep the flow all summer long, Hogg suggests repeating the process every two to three weeks.

Toolkit:

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Eminence Coconut Sugar Scrub, $48, thefacialroom.ca. St. Tropez Gradual In Shower Lotion, $35, beautyboutique.ca. Jergens Natural Glow +Firming Daily Moisturizer, $13, shoppersdrugmart.ca. Benefit Hoola Zero Tanlines Body Bronzer, $39, sephora.ca. Vita Liberata Classic Tan Mitt and Vita Liberata Marula Dry Oil Self Tan, $55, sephora.ca.

Read more: The best do-it-yourself pedicure tips from Rita Remark

Slideshow

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Our favourite tips for a fool-proof self-tanner application—promise!

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