The ultimate at-home self tanning guide (Products & advice!)

I’m gonna start this off with a difficult question: Why do people tan? Why am I interested in turning my skin tone into a different shade? And most importantly – why is it worth writing about.

I have way too much personal experience with sun damage. When I was a kid, I was the girl who had tan lines 365 days a year. My skin very rarely ‘burnt’, and my head was always covered, so I thought it was all good. It wasn’t until after moving out in 2014, when I started to actually do research. And believe it or not: the first time I discovered UV rays were damaging was when I was 20 years old. I mean yes, I had obviously used sunblock and knew it was there for a reason. But I never really cared for reapplication, and was taught sunblock only slowed tanning down. For me, being tan was a sign of being very active and outdoorsy, hence why I wanted it so badly. (Now, as an adult, I look for the glow effect. I don’t have to hide the fact that I hate the outdoors.)

Along my stupidly late journey to protecting myself from the sun, I also realized I should be wearing sunblock every single day. I can’t tell you how proud I am to actually be doing it! I found the best product ever, and use it on my face and neck as a daytime moisturizer. So now that my body is safe, how can I still look more bright?




My product recommendations:

Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Tinted Mousse

Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Tan Lotion

Home spa essentials: mousse, lotion – and champagne!

Mousse VS Lotion VS Professional spray tan

Note: these are based on my experiences with these products!

Mousse Lotion Spray tan

+ Goes on smooth and dry

+ Feels weightless and doesn’t clog your pores

+ Applies almost like a thin paint: easy to see which spots you’ve hit

+ Hydrating, fits dry skin too

+ Feels more natural to apply

+ No washing off! You’re immediately good to go

+ Easy to build up: just switch your usual lotion to a tanning one

+ Flawless results

+An excuse for a spa day!

+ Good if you’re insecure about self tanning

–Stops working if it comes to contact with water (i.e. avoid washing your hands)

— Long wait

— Skin might feel dry

— The colour of the product makes it hard to evaluate the depth of the result

— Very liquid, easy to over apply or miss spots

— Since you don’t really wash it off, the result might get too dark

— Inconvenience of booking appointments

— Very costly compared to DIY

— Going out in public with no makeup and only loose, dark clothing

For me, tanning comes with a cute robe and a glass of sparling wine.

What do do:

✘ Exfoliate and shave a day ahead.

✘ Find company! The application is more fun (not to mention easier), when you have your partner/ roommate/ sister there.

✘ Always follow instructions. If you’re insecure about how dark your application will end up, just hop into the shower after a few hours. You can always reapply, but getting the colour out is another thing…

✘ Use a mitt. Please.

✘ To minimize accidents, use a moist towel to clean up problem areas after application. You’ll want to target areas where the product easily builds up: upper lip, palm of your hand, in between your fingers, plus elbows and knees.

Unless you live for stained hands: BUY A MITT.

What NOT to do:

✘ Tan in a rush or when you’re drunk.

✘ Wear tight or light coloured clothing immediately after. Don’t go clothes shopping either – the residue might destroy fabrics!

✘ Wash your hands! (Don’t start kneading bread dough like I did.)

✘ Falling asleep while developing a tan is a horrible idea. If you want to develop it overnight (8 hours), make sure your sheets aren’t light!

If you mess up anyway…

Hop into a warm shower – or sauna – and exfoliate gently. The tan will fade naturally over time, but you can speed up the process with washing and exfoliating. Never use harsh chemicals to remove a tan! I’ve seen tutorials for using stuff like Windex to fade a tan – don’t even try it.


Happy tanning! Be sure to protect your skin from UV rays at all times – especially during the summer, and when you’re near reflective surfaces, such as water or snow.

Leave a Reply