Less and less sun leaves us wishing that our golden tan from summer could last all year long. While many women are driven to tanning beds to maintain a golden brown hue, smart moms know that UV rays from tanning salons can cause premature aging and even skin cancer. Thankfully, there are a variety of self-tanners on the market that are easy to apply and create a beautiful, natural-looking tan. Self-tanners contain an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, that reacts with proteins in the skin to create an overall bronze tint. Follow these self-tanning tips to achieve a streak-free application every time. You’ll be able to have that beautiful summer glow all year long!


  1. Exfoliate first: It’s important to slough off any dead skin cells before applying self-tanner because dry, dead skin will absorb excess product leading to uneven streaks and spots. When exfoliating, concentrate on the feet, knees, elbows, and wrists, as these tend to be the driest areas of the skin and the most prone to streaking. If using an exfoliating scrub, make sure it’s oil-free, as oily scrubs can form a film on the skin that prevents the absorption of self-tanner.
  2.  Correct application: When using self-tanner in the winter, applying as little product as possible evenly over the skin is the key to a natural-looking tan. A lotion containing a gradual self-tanner helps to ensure even application, and the added moisturizers help to prevent streaks by smoothing any patches of dry skin, which commonly occur during the cold winter months.
  3. Maintenance: With proper self-tan maintenance, it’s easy to keep a healthy glow throughout the winter with only a few self-tanner applications per week. Limit hot showers and baths to under 15 minutes. Hot water can strip your skin of essential oils leading to dry, scaly skin. Apply a thick lotion immediately after showering to help seal in moisture and preserve your self-tan.  Most importantly, drink plenty of water. Remember that a hydrated body is imperative to hydrated skin.
  4. Protect yourself: Put on a pair of latex gloves before you start so you can protect your hands from looking like an oompa-loopa when you’re finished. Get your hair out of the way, especially if you have blonde hair. You’re trying to get a tan, not dye your hair! Make sure you put on loose clothing when you’re done because tight clothing can rub your color off. Also, push your workout back at least a few hours so you don’t sweat and wear your color off!

There’s no shame in wanting a “faux glow” all-year long, as long as you self-tan responsibly. While a properly applied self-tan can help you appear younger and healthier, not to mention give your self-esteem a boost in the midst of a cold, pale, and pasty winter, no one looks good sporting the dreaded orange-and-streaky look. Follow these tips and you’ll be radiant in no time.

Are you interested in self-tanning, but unsure of what products to try? Check out our article, “Get Your Glow On With the Season’s Best Self-Tanners,” to get the down-low on what products will give you the best looking tan every time.