14 easy to fixes for self tanning mistakes 2021

Are you looking for the perfect summer glow? Fake tanners are a great way to get that bronzed look, but they can be tricky. You might not know it, but there’s actually a lot of ways you’re probably messing up your self tanner and making your skin turn orange or streaky. Don’t worry though because we’ve compiled 14 easy fixes for these self tanning mistakes!

Do You Know What Causes Self Tanner Streak?

If your self tanner is splotchy and streaky, the main culprit could be DHA (dihydroxyacetone). This is a colorless sugar derived from plant sources that interacts with the dead layers of skin cells to darken them and create an overall bronzed appearance. Heat, humidity, and time can activate this process so if you have been sweating or in a humid environment for hours then your color may not be as even as it should be. Try applying a thin layer in the morning before work and see what happens when you come home later in the day! Also remember to store your self tan in a cool place because heat will also cause it to darken unevenly.

You Applied Self Tanner Wrong

Lots of people ask us, “How long do I leave self tanner on before rinsing it off?” This is a great question and there are many different answers. Some may say five minutes or ten; others will recommend waiting until the next day to get the best results. It really depends on your skin type, how much time you have, and what product you are using. Follow the instructions for whatever fake tanner you choose if you want to make sure your results look natural!

Fake Tan Rubs Off  

If it seems like your self tanner isn’t lasting very long, maybe it’s it rubs off easily when you go out at night, this could be a sign you didn’t exfoliate first. Your dead skin cells may have been removed from the surface too quickly and your tan could be clinging to those instead of lying flat on your fresh layer of epidermis. Make sure you’re using a good exfoliator that won’t leave behind any residue then wait awhile before applying fake tanner or spray tans for best application!

What Can Cause Self Tanner Streaks?  

Another common mistake is not moisturizing enough before or after self tanner application (or both). You need to always moisturize before putting on water resistant self tanner because it needs some extra moisturizer in order to look even and stay put Then after you wash off all the self tanner, it’s important to moisturize again because your skin will be thirsty! Sometimes people try to do this part in the shower but you’ll see much better results if you apply lotion immediately after drying off.

Self tanner is Stinky  

Did you notice that fake tanner smells? No need to worry! The odor goes away as soon as the product is washed off so just breathe through your nose and don’t worry about smelling funny for a while. If this doesn’t work then there may be an ingredient or two in your self tanner that doesn’t agree with you (or maybe it does!)

Self tanner Smells Like Chlorine 

If it smells like chlorine when you first put on fake tanner, don’t worry because it may smell up the room for a while but the smell will dissipate it is washed off. This smell can also come from an ingredient called DHA which is a sugar that reacts with the skin to create color. Fake tanner contains other ingredients besides just DHA so if you are really sensitive try buying products with less additives to keep it simple.

Was Your Tan Overnight?  

It seems like everyone is following the One Shade Fits All trend these days but what happens when you do this and it turns out too dark or too light? If you put on fake tan then went to bed, there may be a chance that tan was activated overnight! The more time any self tanner product has to work on your skin, the better results you will have. Therefore you should always wait at least eight hours before rinsing off your spray tans no matter how dark they are. Then after another eight hours of sleep, apply some more if needed!

Tanning Bed Goggles  

Are you still putting on self tanner at night after reading about all these mistakes? Now it’s time for your tanning bed goggles again! Make sure they are tight fitting because loose goggles will pull outside light in and give off a weird, green glow inside of them. This made us chuckle when we first heard about this mistake but apparently it does happen so be prepared! Also make sure that your eye shadow doesn’t have glitter or shimmer to match your goggles, it will show up in the goggles and make your eyes look extra bright!

Self tanner Blotches  

If fake tan is patchy rather than laying down smoothly on the skin, this can be a sign that you are using too much. Wash off whatever self tanner you have on now then re-apply more slowly by spraying some fake tan onto your hand first to test out how long it takes to set. You can also do small sections at a time, just remember that if you want all-over color then you need to put on even amounts of self tanner with each application.

Owning More Than One Self Tanning Product  

Sometimes people decide to try out different brands for their fake tans because different products have different ingredients and work in different ways. However if you try too many products, it can be a sign that the self tanner isn’t doing what you want it to do! First take a look at your skin type and see which self tanner product works best for your skin before trying others.

Hanging Out In the Tanning Bed Too Long  

If you are getting too much color from your tanning bed experience, there is something called “tanning bed inertia” where people tend to stay in the beds as long as possible without realizing they’re going overboard with how long they’re exposed to UV rays. When this happens, the body starts producing melanin even resulting in an orangey color! Make sure to never stay in a tanning bed for more than 15 minutes if you are looking for a base tan and 30 minutes with a little color.

Tanning Too Much Every Night  

This is another mistake people tend to make but it is one of the most common self tanner mistakes out there, so watch out! If you get too dark too fast your skin will get super dry and flakey because the cells need time to rejuvenate after UV light exposure. Allowing your skin to breathe every other day is the best way to build up gradually while maintaining healthy skin.

Always Wearing Your Fake Tan  

People think that once they put on that fake tanner it needs constant attention or else risk fading. However this is not true, if you want to take it off simply put on some face washing lotion, 10 minutes later wash your face with some cool water followed by a moisturizer. Don’t use soap because it will strip the skin of all its moisture and oils which are needed for healthy skin!

Tanning Before a Big Event  

We don’t know what to say on this one…If there is an important event coming up like your wedding day or first date, DON’T self tan days before! If you’re really pale then give yourself at least 4 days head start with self tanner so that by day of event you just need to touch-up. If you don’t then people might be staring at you all night because you look so awkward standing next to your date in glittery eye shadow and no tan! Tanning mistakes are common, but don’t forget that they can be avoided with the right knowledge.

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Sarah Jay
By Sarah Jay

Sarah Jay is a beautician that loves to write about the fashion and beauty industry. This love of writing led her to start her own blog, where she shares articles on everything from hair care tips to how-to guides. She's also passionate about gadgets, and has knowledge of the latest trends in her field. Sarah knows what people want when it comes to caring for their skin and hair.



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