The Ultimate Self-Tan Guide: How And Why Applying Self Tan Can Be Sexy.



A step by step guide to the easiest, best, flawless, natural self-tan for the first of the season or the first of your life.

Need a pick-me-up after this icy weather we have been having in Sydney?

In summer or winter, self-tan makes you look healthier, thinner and can put a spring in your step. But getting the application right is not always easy. These are some insider hacks and pointers to ensure you look amazing.

Before you tan, you will need to buy a tanning mitt, as well as self-tan.

I recommend a foaming tan, such as b.tanforever+ever self tanning mousse from Minetan RRP:$14.99 or St Tropez Watermelon Infusion Bronzing Mousse RRP: $59.99 (smells heavenly) or Bali Body Self Tanning Mousse $29.95 as well as a face tan product like Elle Bache’s cult product, Great Face Tan Without Sun RRP:$40.00.

These can all be purchased on-line and delivered within days.

Foam self-tan is much easier to apply for the novice, and a mitt makes the process quicker and easier and a lot less messy than your hands.

A different self-tan product made specifically for your face ensures your face will glow and look smooth but not overdone, and that it won’t dry out your skin. Some tanning products can be too dark or too strong (drying) for the face.

There is nothing worse than dark skin that is dehydrated as the skin can look aged and wrinkled, even when it isn’t.

You will also need a full length mirror and lots of light.

Summary of tools you need before you tan up: Tanning Mitt, light body moisturiser, foam self-tan, face tan, full length mirror

Self-tan when you have plenty of time, and preferably when there is no-one else at home. That takes the pressure off having to put clothes back on before your tan dries. This is a slow process and you do not want to be in a hurry.

Have any hair removal done well before you tan. After hair removal, you ideally need a day in-between so ensure the skin is calm.

Exfoliating dry skin is a great way to create the perfect base for your tan, which will make it last longer.

You can do this the night before you tan (preferably), or on the day if you have to. Doing it the night before will give your skin sufficient time to calm down. Use an exfoliating brush or mitt and/or an exfoliating body product like Frank Body original coffee scrub RRP:$16.95 .

Insider Hack: If you must exfoliate on the same day as your tan, put cold water on your body at the end of your shower so you close your pores, before you apply your tan.

Apply a light moisturiser to your knees, hands, feet and elbows. These are locations where self tan can accumulate and end up looking too dark.

Insider Hack: Also apply moisturiser to the insides of your wrists and inner thighs.

girl in white bikini on beach looking down
Apply a light moisturiser to your knees, hands, feet and elbows. These are locations where self tan can accumulate and end up looking too dark.

Shake the self-tan well.

Stand in front of a mirror and pump self-tan onto the mitt. Start slowly and with small amounts – 2 pumps. Apply tan to your lower body first.

I like to turn around and start with my backside and work down the back my leg. Then I move to the front of the leg, then the inside. I go slowly and check each area in the mirror before moving to the next to ensure I have not missed any spots, and the colour is even.

Slow and steady wins the race here. Go lightly on feet and knees. Note, you have to change the mitt to the other hand for the other side of the body.

I then move across the body doing my lower stomach and then change hands with the mitt and do the other leg and go through the whole process on that side.

I then self-tan my upper body. Again 2-3 pumps on the tanning mitt and I move the mitt in circles over my skin so that there are no lines or dark spots. My skin colour looks even and I go gently around my under arms so it is not too heavy. Brown rings under the arms are not a good look.

This is where a darker tan such as Mine Tan Double Dark self tanning mousse (works in just an hour!) RRP $21.99 or Byron Bay Bronze self-tanning foam dark RRP: $29.95 works well as you can see it on application.

Some self-tans are clear which I would not recommend for a beginner or even for the first tan of the season as it is so easy to leave huge white patches the first time as you cannot see the patches you have missed.

girl in pale blue bikini on beach.
Once you have applied your self-tan, you need to wait at least an hour, sometimes 2-4 hours before showering (check the packaging for confirmation). Self-tan will come off on your clothes at this point, but it will wash out. Image from Minetan.

Insider Tip: Don’t put self-tan on your nipples, as it will seriously dehydrate them which can hurt, and darker nipples are generally not a good look.

There are different tanning products to use on the face, such as Ella Bache’s Great Face Tan Without Sun, RRP: $38.00, or Bali Body face Tan Water RRP$29.95 which have added moisturisers to ensure your soft, facial skin doesn’t dry out and remains soft.

These really are a worthwhile investment if you plan to tan throughout spring/summer, as dry tanned skin is very, very ageing.

Some days you may only want to tan your face, so having a specific product for the job on hand is a good idea.

Face tanners can be applied with your hands as this takes less than 60 seconds, just wash hands well after application, and don’t worry if some tan gets into your hair line.

Insider Tip: Using facial tanners on a regular basis negates the need for foundation, and gives you a fresh young, glow.

Once you have applied your self-tan, you need to wait at least an hour, sometimes 2-4 hours before showering (check the packaging for confirmation). Self-tan may come off on your clothes at this point, but it will wash out.

Don’t dress until the tan is totally touch dry (up to 20 minutes depending on the brand). A pair of dark pyjamas, or a black t-shirt and loose leggings works well. You can sleep in your tan, but you will have to wash your sheets.

When you shower, ideally use a hand held shower spray, and go very lightly, and not too hot over the skin to wash off the excess. Don’t use shower gels or soap, just rub your hand gently over your skin

Insider Tip: Never use super hot water when wearing self-tan as it will wash it off.

I prefer not to moisturise straight away, but to moisturise at night.

Now head back to that full-length mirror and check out how energised and fabulous you look. So worth it.

Tans last differently, depending on the brand, how long you let it dry before washing it off and how moist your skin is.

We are currently road testing all of the self-tans in this story to bring you the best and easiest brands to use. Results in soon.

Natural Lip Gloss from Luxe to Less

Natural lip gloss is a sexy accessory, especially in summer, when there are balmy nights you want to go bare.

So take the time to find the right one for you. And given how often these slippery suckers get lost, it is an item to consider paying less for, especially for your spare. I love both of these luxe to less products.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb

This cute 9ml gloss is compact but packs a punch. The glass slipper colour is clear so as natural as it gets or sweet mouth has some pink glitter, and is just gorgeous. So sexy and fun to wear. $31.00

Fenty Lip Gloss in Sweet Mouth $31.00
Fenty Lip Gloss in Sweet Mouth $31.00

Elf Liquid Matte Gloss

Elf Cosmetics is a little known brand, and their make-up packs a fabulously sexy punch. The liquid matte gloss stays on, looks hot and doesn’t catch my hair in the wind. $14.99

Rose $14.99
Elf matte lip gloss in Tea Rose $14.99
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Renae Leith-Manos


Renae Leith-Manos travels the world writing ( She has had a colourful media career as a journalist in many magazines and newspapers, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling.
She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips.
She spends most weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins.

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