Loading ...
Amway logo
Skip to main content
SmartEdit mode only: ShareLink Component
A person wearing a large sun hat sits on a hammock shaded by two palm trees on a beach.

FAQ: Sunless tanning for beginners

We’ve got answers to some common questions about self-tanning so you can get your faux glow like a pro.

July 20, 2022
A person wearing a large sun hat sits on a hammock shaded by two palm trees on a beach.

FAQ: Sunless tanning for beginners

We’ve got answers to some common questions about self-tanning so you can get your faux glow like a pro.

July 20, 2022
A person wearing a large sun hat sits on a hammock shaded by two palm trees on a beach.

FAQ: Sunless tanning for beginners

We’ve got answers to some common questions about self-tanning so you can get your faux glow like a pro.

July 20, 2022

Self-tanning: You have questions; we have answers

The sun isn’t the only way we get the darker skin tones of a summer tan, and for those who enjoy that sun-kissed look, that’s definitely a good thing.

Even though it may feel good to bask in the warmth of the sun’s heat, being in the sun unprotected is not doing your skin any favors. Thankfully there are several sunless tanning options that can bring out those warmer tones without the worry that comes from the sun’s harmful rays.

They include professional spray tans or airbrush tans and a plethora of less expensive, DIY sunless tanning products including bronzers, mousses and tanning waters. But with so many products come an equal number of questions.

Getting a golden glow from the sun is easy: Expose your skin, make sure not to burn. But how often can you self-tan? If you do lay out in the sun, can you still tan with self-tanner on? What is a self-tanning mitt? Do spray tans make you orange?

With the help of Bethany Kaczanowski, an associate research scientist for skin care products at Amway, we’ll try to decipher some of these for you!

Do spray tans make you orange?

It’s a popular joke on sitcoms and movies. Newbies to the spray tan procedure head into the booth without the proper knowledge and end up looking like they bathed in carrot juice. It is possible if the spray tan technicians aren’t doing their jobs and you don’t do your research.

The technicians should guide you on color choice to ensure a tone that looks natural on you rather than looking like a fresh paint job. And they can also guide you on how often you should go to mimic a gradual tan. This is one of those times where patience is a virtue.

How long does sunless tanner last?

The endurance of your sunless tan depends on several things, including your base skin tone, product choice, skin preparation, and what steps you take to make it last.

Artistry Studio™ Bottle of Sunshine Self-Tanning Water – Hydrating + Healthy Glow, for example, will fade gradually over several days. You can reapply it daily to build a deeper color or every few days to maintain your tan.

You can help your sunless tan last longer by carefully following the application instructions, skipping exfoliation for several days and avoiding overly hot baths, showers or hot tubs. That hot water can dry out your skin and speed up the fading process.

Another tip: After your tanner has fully developed, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

What is a self-tanning mitt?

Blending is key when it comes to applying sunless tanning products, and that’s why a self-tanning mitt is so important. They come in a variety of shapes and colors, but most look like an oven mitt or something you would use to wash your car.

They are designed to help ensure a smooth, even application with no streaks or missed spots. Plus they keep the self-tanning product off your hands so there’s less of a chance you’ll have orange fingers! You can even get a self-tan back applicator to get those hard-to-reach spots.

Can I use self-tanner to even out lines?

Even if you’re not spending hours laying in the sun by the pool, chances are you’re going to get some natural sun while you’re out and about—especially if you play sports or enjoy other outdoor activities.

So tan lines will likely be inevitable. Not a big deal unless you have a special occasion outfit that highlights them to the point of distraction. This is where some carefully applied sunless tanning products can help even things out.

Depending on the size of the problem area, you might consider using the edge of your self-tanning mitt or even a makeup sponge or brush to apply sunless tanner only to the areas that need it, blending carefully along the edges.

Start with a light shade and continue applications until you’ve reached the matching shade. Once you have it where you want it, consider applying a light coat of self-tanner all over your body to further blur and even out the lines.

How often can you self-tan?

With most sunless tanners, the more frequently you apply them, the darker your skin will be, but typically no more than once a day.

Artistry Studio Bottle of Sunshine Self-Tanning Water comes in two shades, making it customizable to the level of tan that you want: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark. Depending on your base skin tone, it’s probably best to start with the lighter shade and see if you like the color after one day.

If you do, great! Reapply every few days to maintain your desired color. If you want to build a deeper tan, reapply once a day or move to the darker shade. It won’t take long before you’ll know exactly how to achieve your perfect faux glow!

Can you still tan with self-tanner on?

Your sunless tan may look fabulous, but it does nothing to protect you from the real thing. Your skin will still tan despite the color achieved by the sunless tanner.

That’s why it’s important to always wear sunscreen when you’re headed outside. And if you’re going to be out for extended periods, reapply the sunscreen often.

Try to time your sunless-tanner application so there is plenty of time between using the sunless tanner and needing to put on sunscreen so your tanner has time to develop. Applying any type of lotion too soon can interfere with the progress and possibly lead to a streaky look.

How to prepare for self-tanning

Preparation is the key to success for many things and timing is important, too. Self-tanning is no different. But what is the best way to prepare for self-tanning? Your skin should be clean and dry before applying self-tanner, but there are a few other things to consider, too.

How to exfoliate before self-tanning

Self-tanners work by interacting with the amino acids in dead skin cells on the surface of your skin to give a tanned appearance. It’s important to exfoliate all of your skin before application, but not immediately before.

You want to do it about 12 hours before you apply the self-tanner, paying particular attention to elbows and knees and other areas where skin gathers. This will create a wonderful, even base for your self-tanner.

If you don’t exfoliate, your tanned skin might shed dead skin cells unevenly, creating an uneven color. As we said above, avoid exfoliating after applying sunless tanner to help your color last longer.

Should you shave before self-tanning?

Shaving is a lot like exfoliating. You’re removing more than hair when you glide the razor across your skin. So, like exfoliating, it’s a good idea to do it about 12 hours before your application.

Do you moisturize before self-tanning?

Moisturizing your skin should be part of your regular skin care routine. But when it comes to sunless tanning, the timing becomes crucial.

If moisturize too close to application—either before or after—the moisturizer will interfere with your skin’s ability to absorb the tanner resulting in a streaky or patchy tan.

To be on the safe side, moisturize about 12 hours before application and wait about 6-8 hours after to allow the sunless tanner to fully develop. Then moisturize regularly to help your color last longer.

Learn more about sunless tanning

Hopefully this clears up at least some of the questions you have when it comes to sunless tanning. To learn more, check out our article about the different types of sunless tanning, including self-tanning waters.