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How to Use Self-Tanner from Head to Toe

mayo 22, 2020

What good is a tan if it doesn’t go from your head all the way to your toes? Surely, no one will be convinced you’re fresh from a trip to a tropical island if your bronzed body doesn’t match your face and neck. Amateur skin care mistake! When it comes to tanning—sunless only, of course—it’s a must for your skin care routine to know how to tan not just one part of your body but everything that falls between your scalp and the soles of your feet. Ready to learn? Read on to find out how to use self-tanner from head to toe—plus our favorite sunless tanning products (from serums to towelettes to sprays) for your face and body. It’s time to add a few of our best self-tanners to your beauty regimen!


Rather than covering your face in a boatload of bronzer to make it match your sun-kissed body, rely on self-tanner. Here’s how to use self-tanner on your face.


Are you sure your face doesn’t have a speck of makeup left on it? Really sure? Either way, it’s best to cleanse just to be safe. You wouldn’t want to apply self-tanner over top of oil, dirt, or lingering makeup. That’s just asking for a patchy tan, which we all know is no good. Saturate a cotton pad with the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof - All Skin Types and sweep it over your skin until you’re completely clean.

Sublime Bronze

Self-Tanning Water Mousse


Cleansing isn’t the only step that’s essential in avoiding an uneven tan. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliating to remove dead skin cells is a must, too. Massage the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Resurface & Energize Kona Coffee Scrub onto your skin with wet fingers, then rinse off with lukewarm water.

Editor’s tip: You won’t be tanning your lips, but you can use the scrub to exfoliate and soften your pout, too!


It may seem apt to apply self-tanner to totally bare skin, but that isn’t actually the best decision. Smoothing on a light layer of moisturizer before using self-tanner provides a smooth base that’s much-needed. Try the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Oily SkinL’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Dry Skin, or L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Extra Dry Skin.


Remember, not every self-tanner is suitable for your face. Select one that is, like the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Self-Tanning Serum. When you have your product pick, pump the serum directly into your palms and apply it evenly to your face. Let your skin dry completely before applying makeup or getting dressed—no one wants stained clothes.


Self-tanning isn’t a one and done situation. Follow these steps daily, using our self-tanning serum, for three days to get your gorgeous glow.


This step is totally optional, but why not complete your look with a little makeup to match? We’re talking about sun-lit bronzer and bright blush. For bronzer, reach for the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. This liquid glow lotion works to hydrate skin and give it a luminous sun-lit glow. Use a shade deeper than your skin tone for a bronzed look, smoothing it onto your face and décolletage.

Finish off your makeup with a swipe of the L’Oréal Paris Summer Belle Makeup Blush Please! on your cheeks. The rosy blush will make it look as if you have natural, sun-kissed color.


Ready to get a bronzed glow from your neck down? Follow our step-by-step tips for using self-tanner on your body.


Break out a body scrub and slough your skin. Be sure to pay extra attention to areas with thicker skin, i.e., your knees, elbows, and ankles.


You may be picking up on the fact that applying self-tanner to your body isn’t so different from using it on your face—the steps are actually extremely similar. Just as you followed using a face scrub with a facial moisturizer, it’s essential to use a body lotion or cream after exfoliating your body.


When it comes to (fake) tanning your body, there’s no shortage of product options. As you might expect, how you should apply self-tanner depends on the product you use. Here are a few of our best self-tanners (and how to use them):

If you prefer a gradual tan…try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium. To use, smooth evenly over the entire body. Use sparingly around joints. Wash hands thoroughly after use and allow skin to dry completely before dressing. (If you use this gradual self-tanner, you can skip moisturizing beforehand and consider this your body lotion.)

If you prefer a travel-friendly option…try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ Towelettes for Body. To use, smooth a towelette all over your body, unfolding as needed. Use sparingly around ankles, knees, and elbows. Wash hands thoroughly after use and let skin dry before putting on clothes.

If you prefer an airbrushed look…try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze™ ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Mist Deep Natural TanTo use, spray the mist slowly and continuously at arm’s length without rubbing in. Use sparingly around ankles, knees, and elbows. Let skin dry completely before putting on clothes.

If you prefer a clear formula…try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse. To use, shake the bottle well, pump the product into your hands, and smooth evenly over your skin. Wash your hands thoroughly after use and allow your skin to dry fully before putting on clothes.


How often you should apply self-tanner also depends on which product you choose. Follow these guidelines for the products we shared with you.

Gradual self-tanner: Use as a body lotion three times a week.

Self-tanning towelettes: Use daily until you have achieved your desired level of tan, then one to two times a week to maintain your tan.

Self-tanning mist: Use every day until you have achieved your desired level of tan, then use one to two times per week.

Self-tanning mousse: Apply three times over 12-24 hours for a longer-lasting tan.

Face it—sun-kissed skin isn’t quite as nice when it’s dull and dry. Avoid such a circumstance altogether with help from our article, How to Moisturize From Your Face to Your Toes.

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