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how long does self-tanning last

How Long Does Self-Tanner Last?

Having a fresh sunless tan is one of life’s simple, guilt-free pleasures. But, as much as you love your new glow, shortly after application, you start thinking about how quickly your glow might fade away. This guide will help you understand not only how long self-tanner lasts, but also provide pro tips on keeping your sunless look longer.

Understanding Self-Tanner Durability

Before we dive into tips on how to extend your sunless tan, you’re probably wondering, “Just how long does a fake tan last?” On average, your skin retains self tanner for 5-7 days, but this period of longevity can vary based on many factors. Expired self tanning products, sensitive skin, and skin types are a few. But, mainly how you prepare your skin before your tan, the sunless products you choose to use  and even how you treat your skin after applying your self-tanner will help determine the lifespan of your fake tan.

Expert Tips for Prolonging Self-Tanner Effects

Consider your showers

Before you take your first post-tan shower, make sure you give your self tan time to develop. That means waiting at least 8 hours before getting your skin wet in any way. The easiest way to achieve this is to apply your tanner before bed and shower in the morning.

Your first shower after application should be a quick rinse-off to rid your skin of any bronzers and color guides. Don’t exfoliate or use harsh soaps to disrupt your tan and cause skin irritation.

Some helpful tips when showering with a sunless tan:

  • Avoid using exfoliating poofs or sponges, especially for the first few days
  • Use mild and moisturizing soaps
  • Keep it short 
  • Turn down the heat

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

After your first shower, the next key step is to moisturize your skin. Your product choice here is also important. Select a hydrating lotion, but one free of heavy oils that can break down your tan. 

Make sure you’re moisturizing your skin frequently, especially after showering or exposing your skin to hot, dry weather.

Common Self-Tanner Mistakes to Avoid

Before we touch on how to make self-tanner last longer, let’s discuss frequent mistakes sunless users make when applying self tanner.

Not prepping your skin before you tan

To get your longest-lasting tan, you should start with a fresh base. That means, make sure you exfoliate your skin to get rid of any dead skin cells and apply your tan to clean, freshly showered skin. Never apply your self-tanner over makeup or deodorant. The easiest way to exfoliate (and apply) is with our Sunless Tan 2-In-1 Applicator/Exfoliator Mitt, or you can use a regular washcloth. 

Hot showers

While we’re on the topic of showers, let’s talk about temperature. The hotter your water is, the drier your skin will be. And dry skin means a fading tan. If you want to get the longest lasting self tanner take warm showers and try to keep them short.

Not being gentle

After you shower, be gentle while toweling off to ensure a natural looking tan. Rubbing your skin too hard post-shower could result in a patchy tan and skin irritation.

Pools and hot tubs

If you find yourself at a pool or hot tub, consider staying poolside. Chemicals like chlorine can have a stripping effect on your tan, causing it to fade quickly, weakening your longest lasting self tanner.

How to Maximize Your Self-Tan

We’ve talked a lot about what not to do. Now, let’s discuss how to make sunless tanner last longer. 

Pick your perfect sunless products

Again, it all starts with your application. After your skin is well-prepped, make sure you’re using the right sunless products. Look for formulas that keep your skin well-hydrated, like our Organic Sunless Tan Dry Oil Mist or, for the face, our Organic Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum

Exfoliate gently

Once you’re in the second half of your tan, after three days or so, you want to begin lightly exfoliating in the shower. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s better to allow your self-tan to fade evenly and maintain a natural looking tan, than have it wear or rub off in a patchy way.

While showering, use a poof or washcloth to lightly slough off the top layers of your tan. This will not just leave your glow looking more even, but also start to prep your skin for any future self-tanning sessions.

Enhance your tan

The one surefire way to keep your sunless tan longer is to supplement your routine with gradual tanners, like our Organic Sunless Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer for the face and Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion for the body. Not only do these formulas extend the look of your tan, but they also provide skincare benefits that go far beyond your basic self tanning products. Or, if you want an instant bronze boost, use our Organic Sunless Tan Luminizing Body Serum for immediate results.

Wear sunscreen

Wearing high-quality SPF every day is important no matter what, but it becomes especially essential when you’re using a sunless tanner. Keeping your skin hydrated and healthy is what ensures longevity for self-tanners. The sun dries out your skin, causing damage that disrupts your tan. So, make sure you keep applying sunscreen to keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and your glow going strong.

A lasting sunless tan starts with the best products. Shop our Organic Sunless Collection for the ultimate glow.