How to Prep Skin for Self-Tanner

When spring and summer come around, it's always nice to bump up the glow without risking a sunburn or skin damage. We have found that's where a good, clean self-tanner can be incorporated into your weekly routine giving skin a subtle touch of color sans the risk.

Self-tanners work when the active ingredient, DHA, reacts with skin's amino acids or proteins which causes a darkening of the topical color. It's important to know that DHA or dihydroxyacetone, can be sourced from chemicals or plant-derived from sugar beets or sugar cane for a safer alternative to tan skin.

While incorporating a self-tanner may not be part of your current skincare ritual, these 3 tips can help you achieve a flawless application with results that last if you decide to venture this way.

1. Shave + Exfoliate Skin

Since self-tanners work on the epidermis it's important to shave and exfoliate before applying these types of products to skin. These two steps allow the active ingredient to work on "newer" dead skin cells giving you the most of your product and promoting the longevity of your tan.

We recommend using our Juniper & Lavender Shaving Oil for a hydrating shave before incorporating a body exfoliant to your pre-tanning ritual. Our gentle sugar scrubs are the perfect companion to prep skin as they are powdery and dissolve rapidly into an effective plant-based chemical exfoliant. We love that they give skin a refreshed, smooth feel without irritation or sensitivity. If you plan to tan the face, neck and chest we recommend using our Chamomile & Oats Clay Facial Mask as your hydrating exfoliant in one-step.

2. Follow the Instructions

Take time to read up on the instructions for the brand of self-tanner that you select. Each formulation is different and the manufacturer provides the appropriate steps to ensure best results are achieved. Many companies recommend a mitt for even product application as it cuts down on the potential for streaking.

If you need a recommendation for a plant-based and fragrance-free self-tanner brand, we recommend the following:

Personally I have tried and absolutely love Saltyface. I use the Tanning Water for the face and Tanning Foam for the body, applying it after my weekly shaving and exfoliating ritual. I don't use a mitt for application but I do use a dry washcloth as recommended to help with softening the transition at the inside of the wrists. I love this brand because the formulations are super clean and neither product feels too sticky on skin when dry. I extra love it because there is no need to rinse it off until I shower the next morning.

3. Moisturize

Lastly, keeping skin extra hydrated is going to be a sure way to extend the lifespan of your tan. Another reason why I love Saltyface is because both the face and body tanners work well on top of our Evening Rose Facial Serum and Arnica Massage & Body Oil. After my pre-tanning ritual is complete I like to apply these two products on skin as a lightweight hydrator just before the self-tanner. For deeper hydration, especially overnight, I layer our Chamomile Infused Moisturizer on top to seal in skin nutrients and protect against essential moisture loss.