FREE Shipping on orders $199 or more

dermatologist's advice for best sunless tanner

Sunless Tanner and How to Apply It (Infographic)

Sunless Tanner Tips and Insights from the Dermatologist

Do you know how to properly apply self-tanners to achieve a soft and even, sun-kissed glow that looks natural on your skin? 

Looking good while using a self-tanner isn't always easy. In fact, there are a few tricks you need to know to use them successfully. That's why I made an infographic to help simplify the process. Click here to see Infographic or read to the bottom of this page! 

The biggest problem is that self-tanners naturally get stuck in the thicker areas of your skin (like your freckles and over your knees). Self-tanners can also dry out your skin, and the active ingredient can have a funny mayonnaise-like smell.

Still, I love self-tanners and will take them any day over sun-damaged skin. But, there are some tricks to getting the look you want with self-tanners.

Tips for how to layer a really good self-tanner into your Complete Skin Care Routine to get professional results!

How to use self-tanner on the face for best results:

Cleanse: Exfoliate when you cleanse before you begin self-tanning application. My favorite way to exfoliate facial skin is the Bamboo and Clay Thermal Scrub: 

Try this bamboo and clay mask recommended by the dermatologist for healthier skin. Bamboo and Clay Thermal Exfoliating Facial Scrub™


Once you have achieved the desired level of tanner bronze tone, cleanse your skin without daily exfoliation using a cleanser matched to your skin type.  My preference is a pH balanced cleanser such as my Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser:

Extremely gentle pH balanced facial cleanser helps to safely wash your skin. Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser


Correct and Hydrate: Use glycolic acid AHA products to keep skin exfoliated and hydrated to prevent the alligator look.

A multitasking option is to apply your self tanner under a Glycolic Acid Face Cream:

Professional strength glycolic acid face cream to fight aging skind


If you have extremely sensitive facial skin skin that can't tolerate glycolic acid, then use a soothing and antioxidant rich corrective product applied over your self-tanner, such as Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy: 

Green tea antioxidant skin therapy can help you look younger.


Protect: This is really important when you are using self-tanners because the golden glow does not provide ANY protection from UV damage and may even increase your risk of damage for 24 hours!

Wear a good, mineral zinc-oxide sunscreen every day when you use tanners. I recommend tinted sunscreens to add a little more bronze warmth to your skin tone:

Suntegrity BB Cream Sunscreen (hydrates and protects): best daily sunscreen for sensitive dry skin with rosacea

Sheer Strength Mineral Matte Sunscreen (ideal for oily skin and as a makeup primer):Sunscreen that protects your skin and feels great. Sheer Strength Spray Sunscreen (untinted and ideal for all skin types):

Invisible sunscreen that protects you from the sun's damaging rays.

Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible Sunscreen (untinted and great for all facial skin types):

Invisible sunscreen and protection for the entire family!

How to use self-tanner on your body skin for natural results:

Cleanse: Use the Salux Cloth with the Glycolic Body and Face Wash, Triple Action Body Wash or a gentle body wash such as her Natural Shower Gel


Correct and Hydrate: Do this all in one step with Glycolic Acid Body Lotion applied over your self tanner.

My favorite way to prep body skin for self tanner is with my Ultra Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Kit. In this kit you get the Triple Action Cleanser, the Salux Shower Cloth and the Glycolic Acid Body Lotion. Best products to exfoliate for smooth body skin

When you don't want to use glycolic acid in your moisturizer, use a general hydrating moisturizer like Dr. Bailey's Natural Lotion for face and body:Best hypoallergenic, fragrance free natural lotion for sensitive skin


Protect: All exposed skin from UV damage with a good, all-purpose mineral zinc sunscreen that applies easily. My favorite options are:

What are my personal top products that I use for my own self-tanning?

  1. Avene Self Tanner
  2. Ultra Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Kit
  3. Bamboo and Clay Thermal Facial Scrub
  4. Natural Face and Body Lotion
  5. Sheer Strength Spray Sunscreen
  6. Suntegrity 5 in 1 BB Cream Sunscreen

Pro advice to apply self tanner to look natural