• Clarissa Laws


In my last post, I talked about clean beauty and my transition to an all natural self tanning lotion with Beauty by Earth. In this post, I am going to share step by step tips to get the best results from your self tanner.

In glam world, self tanning is an art, and a no-orange, streak free, long lasting tan is our masterpiece. I have broken the process down into five key phases, beginning with prep and wrapping things up with ways to prolong your color. Without further ado, let's tan!


~1-2 days prior to self tanning, be sure to shave. This window of time is crucial because if you shave too close to when you tan, you risk over-absorption of the product which could cause tiny dots of orange hair follicles all over your legs. N0 thanks. If you shave within 24-36 hours after tanning, you may exfoliate away some of your brand new color!



~2-4 hours before product application, it's a good idea to gently exfoliate the areas you plan to tan. This will scrub away dead skin and help the tanner go on nice and smooth. I use Bare Botanics All Natural Exfoliating Scrub in lavender tea tree, because it smells AMAZING.

TIP: Avoid using oil based exfoliants! The oil can create a barrier between your skin and the tanner.

Exfoliants with salicylic or glycolic acid can aid in removing dead and dull skin

~Immediately prior to tanning, ensure that your skin is totally and completely dry, and then add a light lotion to the key dry areas: knees, ankles and elbows. I use a moisturizer by The Honest Company. If you are tanning your face, it is recommended that you apply a light moisturizer around your nostrils and hairline before the tanner. If you have any other dry/scaly patches in areas you plan to tan, moisturize those as well. This will keep the tanning product from getting trapped in ridges and turning the dreaded orange.

TIP: Avoid using oil based moisturizers to avoid creating too much barrier between your skin and the tanner.



~Time to tan! Learn more about the tanner I use in this post. Focus on your face first, as this is an area that you should do without a tanning mitt to make sure you get in all the nooks and crannies. It may be instinctive to just slather product on your main features, i.e. cheeks, nose, forehead and chin, but face tanning requires a special attention to detail to achieve natural results! Crucial spots that are often overlooked include over the eyes beneath the brows, directly underneath your eyes, tips of ears, backs of ears, behind lobes and 360 degrees around your neck! Be thorough and use extra caution around your hairline to avoid product buildup.

TIP: If you're nervous about going full throttle on your face, there are gentler, more gradual products available, such as the Isle of Paradise tanning drops that I mix in with my morning moisturizer. Just remember that even with these, don't overlook any of the spots mentioned above and always thoroughly wash your hands after applying as you would with any tanning product!


~There are many different ways in which you can go about tanning the rest of your body, but my personal approach is to work from bottom to top following face. I personally hate using a mitt, especially with Beauty by Earth, because it is a lotion formula. I feel like I have so much more control with bare hands. However, you should do whichever you are more comfortable with, and keep in mind that no mitt requires frequent hand washing to avoid orange palms!

>> I start at my lower legs, beginning with my ankles and moving up to my knees. I try to "skim" over ankles and knees to avoid adding too much product to these dry areas. The moisturizer we applied beforehand comes into play here to keep things even. I use any product remnants from my lower legs on the tops of my feet.

>> Work over the rest of your body from here! Remember to use circular motions as you apply rather than vertical or horizontal strokes for a more natural tan.

>> When you get to your arms, don't neglect your underarms but stop at your wrists before you reach the backs of your hands. Work your way up until you blend your body tanner in with your face tanner at your neck.

>> At this point, wash your hands thoroughly, paying special attention to your palms and the skin between your fingers.

>> Then, using a mitt or towel, take a tiny bit of self tanner and wipe it over the backs of your hands, down both sides, down and between your fingers, carefully avoiding your palms and the webbing between each finger! Sounds tricky, I know. Sometimes I don't bother and I swear it doesn't make that much of a difference.

TIP: Wait 6-8 hours after product application to shower or sweat, to allow the tanner to develop fully.

You can brush a talc-free powder over tan between application and the recommended 6-8 hour wait before showering to prevent color from transferring to clothing or surfaces.


4. OOPS-

~So, you made a mistake. That's okay! If you are concerned that you applied tanner somewhere you did not intend to, you can wipe it away immediately with a baby wipe or towel with soap. This trick can also be used to remove any stray tanner from nails and cuticles after tanning.

~If you can see mistakes such as dark streaks and patches when it comes time to shower, exfoliate the area with an exfoliant or with an exfoliating mitt/brush to help lift the color. If exfoliation causes the spot to become too light, after you shower, dry the area completely and trace the outline of the light spot with a moisturizer that is not oil based. Then apply your tanner to the light spot and dab any excess product away with a towel.



~Hydration is key after self tanning. This means inside and outside of your body. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated, which will serve to prolong your color. Daily moisturizer to all tanned areas will also make a big difference in how long your bronze lasts. I use a regular body lotion, as dedicated tan extender lotions contain DHA (a bronzing chemical in most traditional self tanners).

~Lastly, self tanning does not provide any sun protection! Do not forget to apply plenty of SPF to face and body prior to spending time outdoors.


Do you tan at home? Any tanning hacks I may have missed??

XX, Clarissa



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