3 ways to get the most out of your fake tan at home

how to tan at home

The small changes that can make a huge difference

Beauty Crew Editor / November 21 2017

Ever since daylight savings kicked in (sorry, Queensland), that sense of an impending summer has heightened. And so our sleeves have gotten shorter, and suddenly our legs are a little bit more on show. In other words: fake tanning season is here in full force. 

And while a professional spray tan is always an excellent idea in theory, in practice it’s so, so much easier (and cheaper) to get that faux glow at home. 

As much as we wish it could be a simple case of apply and marinade, there are a few extra steps and considerations to factor in when you’re looking to nail a flawless fake tan. 

Here are our not-to-be-missed tips for your best DIY fake tan ever.


Prep, prep and prep again

For a fake tan to look as natural as possible, your skin needs to essentially be the smoothest canvas it has ever been. 

In the lead up to your fake tan application, make sure you regularly exfoliate. When using Jergens® Natural Glow® Colour Primer In-Shower Scrub, simply use once a week before your tanning session. The dual-action formula will exfoliate and resurface skin to leave it polished and primed for a streak-free tan. It’s also a good idea to moisturise your limbs daily in the lead up to your fake tan to maintain that smooth surface. 

When it comes to hair removal, you’ll want to do that about a day before your fake tan date. This will ensure the fake tan doesn’t settle into open pores, which can result in those tiny dark dots. Try Gilette Venus ComfortGlide Razor.

Jergens Color Primer


Be smart with your application

You can go one of two ways with your fake tan application: you can pick a tan that will develop into a deep colour within a few hours (ideal for those times when you need an immediate glow, such as for a last-minute event), or you can take the gradual route by using a lotion that takes a few days of applying to build your golden colour – perfect for when you don’t want others to be any the wiser that your tan isn’t the real deal. 

On the gradual front, the technique isn’t too different to how you’d apply your daily moisturiser, but you still need a tactic to ensure a steak- and patch-free finish. Using Jergens® Natural Glow® + Firming Daily Moisturiser – a nourishing formula that works to improve skin elasticity and the appearance of cellulite while it gradually adds natural colour to develop your tan each day you apply it – rub in circular motions, focusing on a small section at a time (instead of using the large rubbing motions you may use with moisturiser). Be systematic about where you apply the tan so you can remember where you have (or haven’t) applied it. 

Once you’ve massaged in the gradual tanner, don’t forget to wash your hands. Then, simply apply for another day or two to build the colour you desire.

Jergens Natural Glow
TOP TIP: Make sure you apply the lotion in thin layers for a smooth, even finish.

As for a fake tan that’ll develop in hours, a mousse is one of the easiest formulations to try if you’re a beginner. Jergens® Natural Glow® Instant Sun makes your at-home fake tan application a lot easier thanks to how seamlessly it glides over skin, and how it deposits colour as you go – so you can see where you’ve already applied the formula. 

While your hands are certainly an excellent tool for applying your fake tan, do yourself one better and use a mitt instead. An oven glove-looking mitt, like JBronze Luxe Application Mitt, will help buff and blend in your product so there are no obvious lines, streaks or patches. 

For a flawless application when using a self-tanning mousse, simply deposit one to two pumps into your mitt and blend your tan – limb by limb – in circular motions. When it comes to those tricky areas (namely your ankles, feet, knees and elbows), use whatever residue is on your mitt to buff in the tan.

TOP TIP: Need some help tanning your back? Use ModelCo Self-Tan Back Applicator for an easy application.


Maintain the colour

Nothing feels quite as good as when you nail that natural faux glow, so keep the good times rolling by maintaining the colour as best as you can. 

Keep your skin hydrated by moisturising daily to maintain the longevity of the fresh colour, and if you notice it’s starting to fade, replace your moisturiser with a tan extender.

TOP TIP: After a few days of this, you might want to give your skin a healthy exfoliation to scrub away any old tan residue, and start fresh from the beginning.

Want to try your hand at gradual tanning? See what our members had to say about the Jergens® Natural Glow® + Firming Daily Moisturiser

Do you have any DIY fake tanning tips to share? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Image: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.