How To Get Glowing Skin Using Self-Tanner At Home

Celebrity tanning artist Sophie Evans shares her tips and tricks for getting sun when you can't get the real thing outside.

Beaches have opened for business in some parts of the country this Memorial Day weekend, but the coronavirus pandemic is still very much a global crisis. So rather than risk spreading COVID-19, many people will be avoiding public spaces.

What, then, for those of us stuck at home? There’s always self-tanning, right?

Intimidating, scary, tempting self-tanner. There’s a fine line between achieving a summer glow and ending up like Ross Gellar in the aptly titled “Friends” episode “The One with Ross’s Tan.”

Celebrity tanning artist and St. Tropez skin finishing expert Sophie Evans is here to help. Evans’ clients have included Halsey, Winnie Harlow, Bella Hadid — and now us, too.

Below are some of Evans’ expert tips and tricks on how to achieve the best sunless glow at home.

Prep, prep, prep.

“A tan is only as good as the skin you’re working on,” Evans told HuffPost. She recommends exfoliating, removing all old self-tanner and any other products like deodorant and makeup, and being scrupulous with your moisturizer.

“Only apply [moisturizer] to dry, problem areas, never the whole body, as it will make the tan lighter,” she said. Evans recommends moisturizing elbows, knees, hands, feet and any dry patches.

Cover up.

When asked what the “absolute” worst thing you could do when applying self-tanner, Evans stressed the importance of keeping your hands covered. “Always use an applicator mitt or latex glove to prevent staining your palms and make application clean and easy,” she said. “Always work with a packet of cleansing wipes too, to remove tan from unwanted areas like nails and foot heels.”

Don’t be shy.

Evans said a common mistake people make is skimping on product during application. “Self tans are like hair dye,” she said. “You have to apply a decent layer so all the tanning ingredients can absorb into the skin and develop to their full potential.”

As a rule of thumb, Evans recommended two pumps per limb, working in sections and overlapping those sections.

“People who are scared of self tan apply such a small amount that it actually creates patches and streaks,” she said. “They have disrupted the tanning ingredients being absorbed. You can never use too much product. As long as the skin is covered, you will be fine.”

Start from the bottom.

While you might be inclined to go face-first, Evans suggested working your way up. “The last area to tan will always be the hands,” she said. And if those hands get stained in the process?

Hair removal cream is your secret weapon.

“For really stained palms, I would use a hair removal cream like Veet,” Evans said. “It takes off the top layer, so will remove the self-tan.” The same method, though, is not recommended for streaky tan jobs.

Don’t stress.

It’s easy to panic over a botched tan job, but Evans stressed that streaks are no big deal. “Take a hot shower or bath and exfoliate using an exfoliating mitt or glove to lift off the dark streaks.” Once the skin is even, you can reapply the self-tanner.

Don’t plan a workout right away.

Different tanning products need to be left on for different lengths of time before you shower, sweat heavily or swim. “A traditional self tan formula you leave on for a minimum of 4-8 hours,” Evans said. After you shower, you can do whatever you like.

Also, know the spots where you’ll need to reapply and when.

“A darker self tan only needs to be applied every seven to 14 days,” Evans said. However, the first places that will need reapplication are the face and hands. Evans recommends St. Tropez’s self tan purity bronzing face mist.

Other options include Isle of Paradise self tanning water and Coola organic sunless tan anti-aging serum. For more tips and tricks, check out Evans’ Instagram, where she has been sharing videos and tutorials.