How To Apply Self Tanner Like A Pro

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#MyJergensGlow How to apply self tanner

The first sign of spring in Phoenix, Arizona is our native Palo Verde trees bursting with golden yellow blooms!  Every year in March these trees glow day and night with their bright bunches of blooms against stark green trunks.  They remind me every year when it’s time to transform my pale winter skin and put on my golden glow!

I am so excited this spring with the gorgeous and natural sun-kissed color I got using JERGENS® Natural Glow® products.  While shopping at Walmart, I bought the Instant Sun® Sunless Tanning Mousse.  I spotted JERGENS® Natural Glow® +FIRMING Daily Moisturizer so I also picked that up to maintain my golden glow and get some skin firming as an added bonus.  I’ve been delighted with the results!  The color I achieved looks like I’ve been gracefully tanning out by the pool.  My kitty, Daisy, leaped into my lap for this photo!  I think she agrees too!

How to Apply self tanner

I’m a veteran when it comes to sunless tanning.  Guess why?  It’s not just because I’m a beauty freak and terrorized of premature aging and skin cancer.  About 15 years ago, I developed an allergy to the sun.  How sad is that?  I live in Phoenix and I can’t be in the sun without maximum protection.  Now, I depend on reliable sunless tanners to create my sunshine.  I’m loving the results I got with the JERGENS® Natural Glow® products!  The sunless tanning mousse is ultra light and easy to spread with a fresh and mild scent.  The firming glow moisturizer has the same fresh scent and feels light on the skin.  I couldn’t smell any of the self tanning ingredients in these products.  The scent plus the beautiful tint I got using JERGENS® Natural Glow® make these my go-to products for all sunless tanning.

Jergens Natural Glow sunless tanner self tanner


The Ultimate Guide:  How to Apply Self Tanner Like A Pro

I’ve created the ultimate guide for you!  Now you can apply self tanners from JERGENS® Natural Glow® or any brand with perfect results.  I’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to apply self tanner like a pro.  And you can do it without ever going out in the sun!


Step 1: Choose Your Products

Do you want instant color?  Would you prefer to build color over a few days?  Do you want to maintain color?  Once you answer these questions, you can select the ideal product or set of products to meet your needs.  JERGENS® Natural Glow® has an incredible product line up that you can mix and match to meet your needs.

Observe the shades available and select the appropriate color for your skin tone.  If you are fair to medium, opt for the Light Bronze or Fair to Medium shades. These are the shades I selected.  If you are olive or have naturally darker skin, the Deep Bronze is a good choice for you.

Pro Tip:  For medium skin tones,  if you want a deep bronze, start with a lighter shade.  It’s easier to add color than it is to remove it.

Step 2: Prepare Your Skin (Key Step)

Exfoliation is an essential step in preparing your skin for self tanners.   In addition, remove thick hair from places you want to tan.  Shave or wax your legs.  Gentlemen?  Think about your back or chest and anywhere else you have thick hair and consider removing it.  Hair will disrupt the even application of self tanners so it’s got to go!

Pro tip:  Do not apply self tanners within 24 hours of waxing.  Your hair follicles are open and need time to close.

Pro tip:  If you have had laser hair removal, consult your technician on the ideal time to wait before using self tanners.

No matter what your skin type is, it’s best to exfoliate well in the shower or tub before tanning.  For a really pretty and even finish, the dead skin cells on the surface of your body need to be removed.  JERGENS® Natural Glow® Color Primer In-Shower Scrub will do the trick but you can use any product you like.  There’s a reason this is an important step. The active ingredients in self tanners react with the amino acids in the upper layers of your skin.  Skin naturally sloughs off but if you proactively remove the dead skin cells, you will get an optimal product application and longer lasting results.  Dry and rough skin absorbs tanning products more quickly so give those areas a vigorous scrubbing to ensure the product goes on even.

Exfoliating legs for Jergens self tanner

#myjergensglow self tanning preparing

Pro Tip:  Exfoliate for 2-3 days prior to beginning the use of your self tanner for optimal results.

Pro Tip:  Natural products such as raw sugar or sea salt are great to use as exfoliators.  Add some coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a DIY scrub.

Step 3: Moisturize Your Skin

Some sources advise to put moisturizer all over your body while others say only target your hands, feet, elbows and knees.  I’ve found that applying moisturizer over my entire body produces the best results.  I use the daily firming moisturizer because it has the addition of hydrolyzed collagen and hydrolyzed elastin which are proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite.  I love this added bonus the firming glow moisturizer offers.  Any moisturizer that is light and non-greasy will work for this step.  Moisturizer helps the tanning products adhere to your skin better and achieve an even application of product.

Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer #MyJergensGlow

Step 4:  Apply Your Glow

It’s time to create your sunshine!  For best results, use a moist sponge, tanning mitt, or latex gloves.  Latex gloves are not my favorite but they work and make the clean up process easier.  Using your hands is fine but wash them frequently with soap.  Your palms will absorb the tanning product very quickly.

When applying your glow, work from your ankles upward.  Use broad circular motions and take your time.  If you are applying instant color, it’s easy to see if you missed spots.  With products that build gradual color, if you miss a spot, you can catch it the next time you apply the product.

Jergens Natural Glow Sunless Tanning Mousse #MyJergensGlow Applying Jergens Instant Sun self tanning #MyjergensGlow


Pro Tip:  Sit down on a dark towel or tarp to avoid staining light colored towels or carpets.  Dark towels work wonders!

Pro Tip:  Do not apply self tanner on your toes, heels, or sides of feet.  (We don’t naturally tan there).  On the top of your feet and ankles, go lightly with the tanning product and use a feathering motion to get a natural effect.  The same feathering technique should be used to apply product to your wrists and hands.

Step 5:  Let Your Glow Dry

If you can manage not putting anything on for 15 minutes that’s ideal.  Your partner will love this glorious 15 minutes!  If not, wear a dark robe (or at least one you don’t care about) for the next hour.  Don’t get your skin wet for 4- 8 hours or engage in activity that may cause you to sweat.

Pro Tip:  A cool blast from your blow dryer speeds up drying time.  Standing in front of wall unit air-conditioners or fans also accelerate drying time.

Step 6:  Make Adjustments If Necessary

If you notice an area such as your elbows, hands, knees, or ankles that appear too dark (I call these the touchy zones), use JERGENS® Natural Glow® Color Primer In-Shower Scrub to exfoliate the dark area and it should easily fade.

Another option to fade a dark area is to sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth and briskly rub the area you want to lighten.  Lemon juice applied to the skin for 20 minutes will also lighten dark spots.  In a pinch, if all else fails, apply cream hair bleach to the area for 5 minutes and rinse it off with soap and water  This is a bit harsh but it works like a charm.

Step 7:  Maintain Your Gorgeous Glow

Jergens-Natural-Glow-how to self tan

Remember your new tan resides in the top layer of your skin.  Your skin goes through normal cycles where it sloughs off.  If your glow is starting to fade or appear cracked, exfoliate and continue to apply moisturizers.

To prolong your tan, keep your skin moisturized and use lotion daily.  The JERGENS® Natural Glow® +PROTECT Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20,  JERGENS® Natural Glow® +FIRMING Daily Moisturizer, and JERGENS® Natural Glow® Foaming Daily Moisturizer are all perfect options to gradually enhance your color.  These products gently deposit tint with each application.  When you reach the perfect shade, introduce a regular moisturizer and use a gradual glow moisturizer every few days.

I’m thrilled to share these products and tips with you on how to apply self tanner!  I would love to hear about your secret tips when it comes to using these products.  Which JERGENS® Natural Glow® product would you like to try?

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You can find these products at Walmart in the Health and Beauty section.

Self tanners at Walmart


36 thoughts on “How To Apply Self Tanner Like A Pro

    1. It really depends on your skin but personally, I do it once or twice a week. I have to constantly touch up the tan with maintenance products to keep it looking even. =)

      I hope this helps! Hugs and Kisses and amazing tans! =)

    2. Hi been reading ur post luv it!! very informative, My name is Gwen Im 41,since the age of 18 well really as long as I can remember I have been an avid tanner. The type that needed to b tanned b4 I went out to tan. Which meant tanning beds followed up by hrs. of sun exposure. That was my 1 escape,relaxation & true luv for a very long time.Here goes the bad part,about 4 yrs ago I begin to get foreign spots/sores & odd marks on my body turns out SKIN CANCER!!! Very devastated to finally come down w/what all of my family warned me of. I have had several extensive surgeries even on my face,thought it was the end of the world for me. Luckily by the grace of the good Lord n amazing doc’s & plastic surgeons Im on my way to full recovery w/exception of some pretty bad scaring, I’m working on slowly but surly to diminish . This is the 1st yr I will b devoted to sunless tan lotion so been reading EVERYTHING on how to become an expert @ that now.Now to my main question ….. I get the exfoliates really well prior to application of sunless tan lotion,now what happens when u get ur color jst the way u want it, Do u exfoliate every so often (meaning maybe weekly or so)even when u have achieved color u want?? If so won’t that mess the color u already have? Sorry for such long post,your respond is going to b greatly appreciated
      Thank You Gwen…….

      1. Hi, I’m really glad to hear you are on your way to recovery! That’s wonderful! I used to love being in the sun and at the beach and then about 15 years ago, I actually developed an allergy to the sun! So, I’ve been using self tanners for years. Once I get the shade I really like, I continue to lightly exfoliate every few days and then I use a maintenance product to keep the color where it is. If you were using the Jergens line, it would be one of their daily moisturizers in the Natural Glow line. They are really subtle and just add a touch of color so once I’ve achieved the shade I want, I use a product like that to maintain it. Most of the self tanner lines will have a maintenance product to use to maintain the color you have achieved. =)

        1. Hi my name is Susie Knese, I’m 61. I used to manage tanning salons. So 20 yrs I tanned plus worked in the yard. Long story short, squamous, basal, melanoma, 73 surgeries. 2 moths surgeries on my nose. Now breast cancer.

          I used to feel so attractive when I was tan. I have the Jergens glow but have about 29 places on my legs and arms but I’m still going to try it.

          I don’t know what I need to exfoilliate. I’m on my husband’s social security. He’s a cheap man. I can’t stand how I look and feel without a tan. Please any advice you can give. I value your opinion.

          1. The self-tanners fade away as your skin naturally exfoliates. You can get a better, smoother, longer lasting application if you exfoliate before applying the self-tanner. You don’t have to buy anything to do it, you can just make your own sugar or salt scrub with things in your kitchen. I’m so sorry you have experienced so many problems with your skin. I can’t imagine how upsetting that must be. You may really like the Jergens product that is the gradual tanning lotion. You can just keep applying it every other day after you achieve the desired skin color and maintain the tan that way.

            Also, you can Google vitamin supplements that increase melanin production. I have never tried them but there are some that can make your skin darker. Before taking anything, definitely talk to your dermatologist or a doctor to be sure it’s safe for you. But that may be something for you to check out too. I hope this helps. XOX

  1. I love Jergen’s I have been using their lotions for many years. Enjoyed you tanning post. Thanks so much for liking my blog posts. I don’t know why but I don’t get your blog to my email anymore Tried to signup again but it says my email address is wrong but it is not. Hope your having a great Spring & Happy Mother’s Day Again Beautiful Lady ❤️❤️?

    1. I used to be afraid of it but with patient application… it can be beautiful! I’m allergic to the sun so it’s the only hope for me to get any color in the summer. =)

      Let me know how the tips work for you. The hands and feet are key! =)


  2. Allergic to the sun and living in Phoenix… the higher powers have a sick sense of humour! That being said, this is an awesome article. =) I always skip on the self tanners because I’m lazy, and working outside on roofs, pens, gardens, etc means I’m getting burns and farmer’s tans anyway (strong and frequent applications of sunscreen or no!). I’m going to hate myself when I’m 40! Loving all the tips you put in here, and I gotta say, when I saw that first image, I thought it was a screenshot from a TV commercial. >_> “Janine got on TV?! How cool!”.

    1. Totally allergic, sad right? As a matter of fact, I was at an outdoor meeting and was getting a little more sun than I realized and am now in major reaction mode. I’m broken out all over. It’s just lovely. I had to stay home from work because I can barely keep my eyes open on antihistamines. Uh, no TV. LOL. I’m already camera shy. It’s really hard for me to put any pictures out there let alone have no control over what goes out there. OMG LOLOLL

      1. Oh no!! That’s horrible. D= Can’t you just attend the meetings in a plague doctor outfit? It’s a good thing you got inside before it got too bad.

        Oh hush, you’d probably be a natural on TV. ;P

  3. I just had my first Kybella treatment 5 days ago. Two more treatments are scheduled 4 weeks apart. I have a cruise scheduled for 23 days after my third treatment. Do you think I will be good to go by then?

    1. I found that each time I swelled less. As the fat cells diminished, so did the swelling. I think 23 days after the 3rd treatment, you will be totally fine. If you had minor swelling still, only you would know it. I found each time I did it, swelling was less and less.

  4. I know exactly what you mean! Must be careful on the calories consumption! Not that you need to worry about that. Thank you for subscribing and glad you liked. I have joined your blog too. For some reason it is not letting me post directly onto your comment feed.

  5. As a former spray tan artist, I wanna say great tips! That’s interesting that you have an allergy to the sun. I’m sure you don’t think that’s interesting though! My son has an allergy to the cold, actually it’s an autoimmune deficiency called cold urticaria. Phoenix is ideal for him until he steps into a pool that isn’t ready!! I’d be interested in learning more about your allergy. Limelight by Alcone has an instant bronzer, if you are interested you can order it through my blog.

    1. My allergy developed about 15 years ago but it could have been there longer and I just had no gone out in the sun as I was pregnant and not in bikini shape before that. Well, technically, I never have been. LOL My allergy is called Polymorphic Light Eruption. It’s similar to the heat urticaria which is like the cold urticaria. The really bad part and I’m sure your son would tell you, the itching is so intense. You could really damage the skin itching it so bad. I lay there with ice packs to mask the itching. It’s just horrible.

  6. Good info. I definitely picked up on tips I have never heard before! Your photos are positively stunning.

  7. Hi, Fab blog! I have just set up mine, but still in the very early stages! Just making efforts to link in with fellow bloggers to improve our followers and get the word out there for us both. I would appreciate you having a peek at my blog, as I have just published my first post. Feel free to like, comment, follow or just take a peek. Thank you 🙂

    1. I saw you had been using Jergens as well! You were right, it creates perfect natural looking sun-kissed skin! I guess I can now justify going out and guying some new sundresses! Your post on inspired me to pull together some super cute spring outfits!

  8. It is very painful for me to get a tan, therefore like you, I rely on self tanners too. My favourite is Xen Tan because it actually fades like a natural tan rather than fade in patches like most others, which makes it far easier to maintain.
    Some great tips here on keeping a self tan looking fresh.
    Zoe Beau. xxx

    1. Did you develop issue being exposed to the sun later in life? As a little girl? I never had issues and was at the beach quite a bit. So, far Jergens is not fading on me but that’s because I’m using a gradual tanning moisturizer to sustain the color. If you haven’t tried it, and you do, let me know what you think. I found a coupon at Walmart for 3.00 off when I bought 2 products. The coupons were stuck right to the products on the shelf! Pretty nice!

      1. I developed an issue around 6-7 years old. When I was younger, and in pictures of me as a child, I was always tanned, my hair was lighter in colour (light brown/dark blonde) and curly. Around 7ish my skin just became naturally paler, my hair became darker, almost black, and my hair went dead straight. I think its because I come from a mixed nationality family. On one side I’m French and Portuguese, on the other side, Irish and Scottish. I think some genes switched off at that age, and others switched on, leaving me with Irish skin which hates the sun. Ever since, I’ve been very sensitive to sun, even sunbeds. I burn within minutes. I have tanned since, but I have to burn first and build up on that. Its way to painful so I don’t bother. Same may have happened to you. We inherit genes during development, but they are not always active. Sometimes they stay dormant, sometimes they activate naturally later in life, and other times the activation is triggered by events.
        I have never come across Jergens before here in the UK, but it sounds very similar to Palmers gradual moistening tan, which I love and it only cost around £4. I use that when I have put on a fake tan to build and maintain a nice glow. I’m always searching for coupons! I never buy anything until I find a way to get a discount on it!

        1. I can’t seem to find a doctor who can give me a scientific reason for the change but I get a scientific name for the condition (polymorphous light eruption). I was fine until 15 years ago and then all of the sudden, it struck. Out of nowhere and the itching it so bad I can barely keep from crying. My background is Eastern European so I should be a sun goddess. If you can get Jergens and try it, I think you’d like it. It smells FANTASTIC and I got a perfect bronze tone. I don’t want to look too dark but enough that I can wear a sundress and not look like a bright white light. LOL Coupons are definitely the way to go! I love a good deal!

        1. There are several face products available. Jergens has one and I’ve seen a bunch of others as well. I never tanned my face even when I was really young and I would lay out. I would put a towel over it. I just use a little bronzing powder on my face.

    1. It is best if someone can help you with your back. If not, I can reach mine OK but I have to be very slow and methodical about it to make sure it is even. If you get creative and attach a damp sponge to the end of a back scratching stick, you can more easily reach places. WAIT, maybe that’s a million dollar idea for a product to create! =)

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