CV Skinlabs Recommendations

My 7 Tips for Making Your Self-Tan Last! AND 3 Tips to Prolong a Natural Tan

+ Rebecca

We all love that summer glow, right? I’m no different. But of course I’m not going to subject my skin to damaging UV rays or heaven forbid, tanning beds.

Most of us like that healthy, tanned look, but we don’t have to risk skin cancer or premature aging for it. I love to self-tan. The drawback, as you know, is that we have to keep doing it every couple of days.

Sick of reapplying your self-tanning product? I was too, so I found a way to make my self-tan last up to 10 days! Hello sun-kissed look, goodbye time-wasters!

My Favorite Ways to Extend Your Tan

If you look up most self-tanners, they advertise that they’ll last three to five days. In my experience, that’s optimal! If you happen to take a nice, warm bath during that time, you’ll significantly shorten the time your color lasts.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep the glow going for a little longer. Here are my favorite steps. Let me know if you have others!

  1. Shave/epilate/wax beforehand: Shaving/epilating/waxing naturally removes some of the dead skin cells at the very top of the skin. If you wait to do this after tanning, the process will take the color away with it. Once you’ve removed the hair, wait at least one hour before taking the next step. Also, be sure to wash off all the residue when you’re done-any grease or oil-based product can interfere with the tanner.
  2. Exfoliate first: Self-tanning methods stain the very outer layer of your skin. This is made up of old and dead skin cells, so if you don’t exfoliate first, those skin cells will slough off after you tan, taking the color with them. I love Wildbath Cacao Exfoliating Shower Whip Wash & Scrub. It’s all-natural, with coconut butter and essential oils that smell great. I like to dry-brush my skin beforehand, and then slough it all off in the shower.
  3. Wait until your skin is dry: We like applying moisturizer to damp skin because it helps retain hydration. But this isn’t what you want to do before applying self-tanner. Instead, make sure skin is completely dry.
  4. Apply moisturizer sparingly: Now that you’re dry, it’s time to turn to your artistic side. You’re going to be “painting” on your tanner, in a way, so you want to “prime” areas that are problematic-knees, elbows, ankles, heels, any areas that are likely to turn too dark with the application of tanner.
  5. Your product matters: If you’ve tried self-tanning at all, you know that all the products are not the same. Some leave you looking orange. Some never get you dark enough. Some make you look too dark. Did you know that some last longer than others, too? I have experimented quite a bit, and I’ve found two great options, both from Vita Liberata: the medium tanning mousse and the tan lotion in warm. I use a mitt with it to protect my hands, and apply the medium mousse for one night, then follow up with the warm lotion for two nights in a row. Finally, I apply our CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion (see step #10) every day after until I start the process again. Eureka! A tan that last 10 days or longer.
  6. Apply tanner to smooth skin first: You want to use self-tanner sparingly around those areas you just moisturized, so start in places like your thigh and your lower leg between your knee and foot. When you have just a little tanner left, smooth it lightly over the bumpy areas.
  7. Wash your hands: Even when you use a mitt, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done, or you’ll have stains the next morning. The tanner has a way of getting onto your palms somehow!
  8. Fix dark areas: If you find that you have some dark areas, like on your knees or ankles, you can fix these with a little extra exfoliation in the shower. Just be careful not to scrub off other areas that look good.
  9. Improve your technique: The more you self-tan, the better you’ll get at it. Have you tried applying a little more where the sun would naturally hit your skin? Consider a second application on the tops of your arms or legs. If you want more color, use more product, and vice versa.
  10. Make it last with Body Repair Lotion: Okay, now that you’ve taken all these steps, how do you make it last? My Body Repair Lotion. I’m serious! It’s my product, yes, but this stuff holds the color on your skin. You get double the benefits here-the lotion is extremely hydrating, so it will help keep your skin moist and healthy, which naturally helps it to hold onto the color. But you’ll also enjoy the most attractive, alluring and radiant sheen! This lotion naturally makes your skin look celebrity-smooth (celebrity makeup artist Julie Harris loves to use this on models skin on photo shoots). You have to try it to believe it! Apply the lotion morning and night. If you’re going to take a warm bath, apply a little bit beforehand for a protective action.

Prolong Your Natural Tan

If you got a little natural sun this summer, obviously you want to make that last as long as possible!

A natural tan will normally stick around for a couple weeks, but then start to fade. The skin cells in the top layer of skin were darkened by color pigments activated by the sun. But as these skin cells die and slough off, they will take that color with them.

Prolong that natural color and maintain that summer glow with these three tips:

  1. Moisturize: Moisturized skin is healthier skin, and healthier skin won’t slough off quite as quickly as unhealthy, dry skin. Keep skin hydrated to prolong natural color. (CV Skinlabs has a high-quality face lotion and body lotion to deeply moisturize and protect skin to prolong natural color.)
  2. Protect: More sun exposure may deepen your tan, but it can also cause it to burn, dry out, flake, and peel. For the best results, make sure you aren’t over-exposing your skin to damaging UV rays. Use safe sunscreen (zinc oxide is best) with an SPF of at least 30.
  3. Smooth on the self-tanner: This is the time to gradually ease back into your self-tanner. As your natural color fades, you can apply a self-tanner so that no one can tell the difference. Then when your tan fades, you’ll be set up to continue with self tanning as outlined above.

To Even Out a Natural Tan:

Natural tans are typically uneven, leaving you dark in places and lighter in others, and giving you those unsightly tan lines.

  • Don’t “even out” your natural tan by exposing yourself to more sun. UV rays are damaging, aging, and can increase your risk of deadly melanoma. The risks are greater every time you burn.
  • Use a mild exfoliating body scrub on your skin every one-to-two days. You’ll remove the dead and damaged skin cells and allow new ones to come to the surface. You can then tan your skin more evenly with your self-tanner.
  • Keep your skin moisturized always-it will look more smooth and radiant. (CV Skinlabs gives your skin a natural radiant glow immediately-try it and see!)
  • Apply sunless tanning lotion to camouflage tan lines and even out your skin’s appearance.

Do you have tips for extending a self-tan or natural tan? Please share with our readers.

Mackenzie R. Wehner, et al., “International Prevalence of Indoor Tanning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” JAMA Dermatol., April 2014; 150(4):390-400,

“Study Finds More Skin Cancer Cases Due to Indoor Tanning Than Lung Cancer Cases Due to Smoking,” Skin Cancer Foundation, January 29, 2014,

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