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A sun-kissed tan has a way of lifting your complexion, concealing skin imperfections and making you look slimmer. But we all know the serious dangers of getting a real tan from the sun. Luckily, there are plenty of amazing a-beauty self-tanners out there that have bottled the Australian sun to bring you the perfect bronzed shade. 


While self-tanners have come a long way and gone are the days of bad smelling, hard-to-blend, and orange-toned formulas, there’s still an art to applying them without ending up with unsightly streaks.

Prep is key and it’s important not to rush the process. Here’s how to apply self-tanner without streaks for a natural-looking golden glow. 

FIRST, EXFOLIATE

“Exfoliation is key to prepping your skin for an even tan,” says Nadine Monley, founder of a-beauty brand Beauty Dept. “Start by using a body scrub in the shower and gently rub with a mitt, paying special attention to rough areas such as the knees and elbows. Weekly exfoliation helps to rid the skin of its top dead layers and leave you with luscious soft skin.” Exfoliate the day before you plan to tan, or if you have extra dry skin, exfoliate daily leading up to your tan application.

PRODUCTS TO TRY: Salt by Hendrix Body Polish; Face Halo Body Exfoliator 

SHAVE THE DAY PRIOR

Exfoliating is the first step in creating a smooth canvas for your self-tan to be applied to. Next up, remove any unwanted hair by shaving or waxing the day prior to applying fake tan. Post-shaving your skin can be sensitive so doing this step the day before prevents your tanning solution from causing irritation or red bumps on the skin.

HYDRATE & SMOOTH SKIN

There’s just one last step for ensuring the smoothest surface possible for your streak-free tan. “One of the most important components for a long-lasting tan is moisture,” notes Monley. Get your skin into well-nourished shape in the lead-up to tanning, but don’t apply moisturiser just beforehand as it may interfere with your tanner’s ability to sink in. 

There are some exceptions though. “Moisturise areas that tend to have lots of creases – the hands, elbows, knees, heels and toes. By moisturising these areas pre-tanning, it’ll smooth out any imperfections and help your fake tan blend better,” explains Monley.

TAKE A COLD SHOWER PRE-TAN

Cold water helps shrink and seal your pores for a seamless application. Just make sure you completely dry yourself before popping on your tan.

BUILD YOUR COLOUR GRADUALLY

The most natural-looking tans are ones that have been built to the perfect level of bronze for your skin tone. “Using the product sparingly, start with your face and gently blend down your neck; remember you can always build up the colour here. Now, work your way down the body, leaving your hands and feet for last,” recommends Monley. Allow the tan to develop, then, if you want to go darker, add another layer. 

“Taking care of your skin is crucial in ensuring your tan looks the healthiest and most flattering it can be. I believe that using products with natural and organic ingredients will always give you the best result.”

Nadine Monley, founder of Beauty Dept.

BLEND, THEN BLEND SOME MORE

When you’re working with an invisible tanning formula, you’re more likely to end up with streaks because you can’t see where the self-tanner has been applied. That’s why you need to be diligent with your blending. Use light, circular motions to buff the formula into your skin. Tanning mitts are great for achieving a streak-free finish.

PRODUCT TO TRY: Jbronze Luxe Application Mitt

WASH YOUR HANDS

You’ve done all the right prep steps and nailed your streak-free tan application, only to end up with orange hands that tell the world that your newfound bronzed glow came from a bottle. Rookie mistake! “Once finished, it’s important to wash your hands and clean your fingernails with a wipe to avoid any staining,” suggests Monley.

STAY DRY

Make sure your tan has plenty of time to dry before getting dressed, and try to avoid getting sweaty or wet for at least six hours after applying your tan. This will help avoid streaks and also increase the longevity of your faux glow.

To further prolong the life of your new streak-free tan, go easy on the exfoliation and keep up the moisturiser.

4 SELF-TANNING PRODUCTS TO TRY

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