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The 6 Best Self-Tanner Tips for Beginners

Chances are, you’ve tried to self-tan at least a few times before in search of a perfect faux glow that’s summer ready. But unless you prepare your skin properly, your color may come out blotchy, orange, or well, a combination of both. We tapped St. Tropez Brand Ambassador and Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans to find out the best tricks, tips, and need-to-know solutions to give yourself a perfect bronze glow every time you self-tan. Hint: You’re going to want to have your Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask handy.

Tip #1: Use lukewarm water in the shower

“Hot water dehydrates your skin,” explains Evans, “and in turn, means your self-tan that won’t last quite as long.” Stick to cooler temperatures when rinsing off to avoid color that fades quickly.

Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

Tip #2: Make sure your cleanser is 100 percent oil-free

“Cleansers with a high concentration of oils can remove your self-tan color fast as they leave behind residue on the skin that over time will fade your glow,” explains Evans. Grab a clarifying cleanser like the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, which gently exfoliates as it cleans. She also recommends being extra gentle when drying off. “Toweling the skin too vigorously after can ruin color application,” and can be too abrasive on more sensitive skin.

Tip #3: Exfoliate before application — and every few days thereafter 

“This so important,” declares Evans. “Fresh clean skin helps your self-tan to last longer and also fade down evenly. Think of your skin as your self-tan canvas! The better condition your skin is in, the better your glow will look and last.”

She also recommends keeping up the exfoliation process every few days while the self-tan is still adhered to your skin. “This will keep your color even,” Evans explains. 

Tip #4: When choosing an exfoliant, know that chemical versions are superior to manual ones

“Chemical exfoliators that contain AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) or BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) are excellent at creating smooth skin, and are therefore fantastic to use prior to self-tanning,” she says. That’s where the AHA- and amino-acid rich Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask comes in. Apply it the night before you plan on self-tanning to ensure a perfectly smooth and primed canvas. However, she recommends that once you’ve applied color to “stick to a soft and gentle manual polisher with micro granules while your color is on.” Too much exfoliation will dull the color and make it fade faster. 

Tip #5: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

“The more hydrated your skin, the longer your self-tan will last,” says Evans. While you should apply after bathing or showering, the best time to moisturize is before bed. “When you sleep, your body temperature heats up, your pores open up and the product — infused with skin-loving watermelon extract and hydrating hyaluronic acid — can really get into the skin and get to work.”

Tip #6: Lube up dry spots extra carefully 

“If you have any severe dry problem areas like the knees and feet, a little oil-free lotion can be applied beforehand to prevent these areas developing darker,” Evans says. Let it soak in for a few minutes, and then you’re set.

Safe summer glow, here you come!


Glow Recipe

Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream


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