How to apply self-tanner without streaks

People often look more radiant and healthy with a tan. While a tanned complexion may look stunning, UV rays can be harmful for your skin. A self-tanner is a great solution, allowing your skin to glow while concealing small imperfections and even making cellulite less visible.

Unfortunately, achieving a natural-looking tan with self-tanner without streaks or blotches is not as easy as it might seem. Prepare your skin for that perfect tan with the following tips.

1. Exfoliate. Remove dead skin cells from your body and face by exfoliating your skin in the shower with a facecloth. Then follow up with an AHA or BHA exfoliant, which you apply to a dry skin. Start doing this a few days before you intend to apply the self-tanner. Repeat this every day until you apply the self-tanner.

AHA is intended for normal to dry skin with sun damage. If you have a normal to oily skin that is prone to spots, use a BHA exfoliant. Paula’s Choice has formulated Resist Skin Revealing 10% AHA Body Lotion or 2% BHA Body Spot Exfoliant for exfoliating your body. For your face you can use Resist Pore Refining 2% BHA Treatment or Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment met 5% AHA.

2. Shave the day before, not just before you apply the self-tanner. This will prevent tiny droplets of self-tanner from accumulating in the pores (or follicles, to be precise) where you have shaved the hairs.

Don’t shave just after applying self-tanner as this will make your tan last less long. In fact, shaving is another way of exfoliating the outer skin layer.

3. Use day/night cream. Apply a layer of day cream, night cream or lotion on drier skin (after cleansing) and patches of skin where dead skin cells tend to accumulate (ankles, knees and elbows). This prevents these parts of your body from absorbing more self-tanner than the rest of your body, resulting in blotches.

4. Consider where your tan should start and end. Think about your clothes and shoes beforehand. Make sure that all visible skin areas are evenly covered with the self-tanner.

Important tips for applying self-tanner

Allow plenty of time. Sometimes self-tanners take several hours to develop their final colour. Take the time to check whether you have missed any areas or if there are streaks. Wait at least 15 minutes before dressing or going to bed to avoid staining your clothes or bedding.

Wash your hands every few minutes. If you don’t, you may end up with orange hand palms and cuticles. Tip: rub lotion on the inside of your wrists and hands, as they are continuously in contact with the self-tanner while you are apply it. You can also wear gloves.

Create a convincing colour. Certain skin areas are almost never exposed to sun (like the inside of your arms). You can imitate this effect by applying a diluted layer of self-tanner to these areas. Tip: keep an eye on which areas absorb most of the colour of the self-tanner. In some people, the legs turn darkest. In others, it may be the neck or face. Once you know how your skin reacts, you can perfect your self-tanning application skills.

How do you apply self-tanner to your back. Ask a friend or partner for help, or use an applicator.

Make sure your skin is dry for at least 6 hours after applying self-tanner. This helps your tan last longer.

Solutions if something goes wrong with your self-tanner

  • If you find it difficult to achieve an even colour around your nose, eyes, ears, hairline and lips, apply a thin layer of self-tanner with a cotton bud.
  • Are you worried that your self-tanner may cause spots? Try a self-tanning concentrate, which you can add to your own serum or day/night cream. Another advantage: you can create the exact colour you want with a concentrate, depending on how many drops you use.
  • Creating a natural-looking colour on your hands can be quite difficult. Apply a self-tanner to your hands as if it were a day/night cream and then immediately wipe your hands carefully on a damp facecloth with soap or use a cleansing wipe.
  • Make sure you have a nail brush or nail polish remover to remove self-tanner from your cuticles. Don’t forget your toes!
  • Carefully clean the skin between your fingers with makeup remover to prevent the skin from becoming darker there.
  • If you end up with streaks or blotches, exfoliate them with a wet facecloth or Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. You will have a more even tan the next day.
  • Exfoliants, retinoids (such as retinol) and the topical application of disinfectants can affect how long your tan lasts. Use them less frequently in the days after you have used a self-tanner. In any event, do not use these products on the same day as applying a self-tanner.

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