Take a shower and exfoliate your body with a sugar-based scrub and loofah. You want your skin to be clean and as free of dead skin as possible! Also make sure you shave to remove any unwanted hair BEFORE applying your self tanner. Shaving 12-24 hours before application is usually recommended but we know a lot of people who just shave in the shower beforehand.
Take a normal, white moisturizer and rub a little onto your feet, knees and elbows. These areas are very dry and tend to get a little darker than other areas once your self tanner is applied.
We're going to divide the face into 4 areas as seen in the photo. Start by applying a thin layer of self tanner to area 1. Be sure to take your time and get it right up to the hairline. Then move in a clockwise fashion to areas 2, 3 and 4. Then finish up by applying to your neck (and the back of your neck). Also don't forget your ears! Last thing, be sure to use a self tanner designed specifically for your face. Facial skin tends to be a little more delicate and sensitive than skin on your body.
You'll want to go ahead and wash your hands as this point. If you don't, you could end up with orange palms by the time you finish applying to your body. Definitely not a good look!
A good tanning mitt is an absolute essential to protect your hands and get a smooth, streak-free finish. We'll deal with tanning your hands in a minute. For now, be sure to keep the self tanner off of them by using a tanning mitt!
Start from the bottom and work your way up. This will prevent creasing from bending over. So that means apply to the tops and sides of your feet first (see tips below on hands, they work for feet too), then your calves, then legs, then torso, then arms. Using your tanning mitt, apply in a circular motion making sure to cover your skin completely. Don't worry about using too much; at this point it's just important not to "miss" any areas. Take your time if you have to :)
Even if you're alone, this is very easy if you have the right tool. We HIGHLY recommend having a Body Buddy or similar strap. The way it works is you spread some self tanner over the strap, grab it on either end and then pull it back and forth over your back (see photo). It's actually really easy and extremely effective once you get the hang of it!
There's two different ways you could go about this. The first is to mix a little self tanner with your favorite moisturizer and just apply to the tops of your hands (works well on feet also). The other way is to mix a little self tanner with a lot of moisturizer, and then completely cover your hands (palms, fingers and all). We've seen both methods work pretty well, so it's a matter of personal preference. As a side note, we know some poeople like to skip their hands altogether. That's fine too :)
Using soap and water, just wash your palms and fingers thoroughly. Be sure not to get any water on the tops of your hands where you just put self tanner-- if you used that method. If you used the second method, you can skip this step.
Congratulations, you made it! Now all you have to do is let the self tanner dry completely before putting on any clothes. Ideally, we recommend applying your self tanner at night and putting on loose-fitting clothing before going to bed. When you wake up, just shower to reveal a gorgeous new tan and better-looking skin! To maintain your beautiful glow, be sure to keep your skin very moisturized.