self tanning

California Beach Club logo

Prepare for your Self Tan:

Preparing for your self tan is significantly more important, and somewhat more involved than preparing for a professional spray tan. If you've never had a spray or self tan, we highly recommend a professional spray tan so you can learn from the pros before committing too many embarassing errors you'll be forced to live with for up to a week or more. Whether you've done it before, or this is your first attempt, it's best to read through all the steps to learn or refresh your memory before starting.

First, you'll need to choose your product

Nowadays there is an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to choosing your self tanning product. Products available come in lotions, sprays, mousses, corrective pens, and lightly tinted moisturizers. Multiply this by combining with light, medium and dark tints by some brands. Your choice of form of product doesn't affect your final colour result, mostly just ease of application and degree of possible mess. Here we provide an explanation of the different forms:

  • Lotions:  Lotions are the original self tanning products, but should not be mistaken for the poor quality products they were in the beginning. These products are now usually tinted, pleasantly fragranced, and easy to apply. Combine with an applicator mitt for cleaner results, although spilling is not so common with most lotions.

  • Sprays:  Sprays are probably the easiest products to apply, but also create the biggest mess. As much as you may want all of the spray to land on your skin, some will not, and will require clean up. Combining with an applicator mitt may help even things out rather than using your hands which will cause you very dark palms.

  • Mousses:  Mousses are one of the newest forms available, and are a personal favourite. The bubbly liquid absorbs very quickly and easily, but doesn't spill like most liquids. You'll definitely need an applicator mitt to better control the application, but the results can be great.

  • Corrective Pens:  Corrective Pens are more fixing or accentuating products than something to be used for general full body application. We're yet to get our hands on one, but will update you when we do. They look great for helping mask accidental tan-lines, and accentuate your favourite features.

  • Lightly Tinted Moisturizers:  These are my favourite because the low DHA content permits huge forgiveality to a bad application. In fact, this may be a good starter product given mistakes are not so obvious. Because colour goes on in layers over days, you can easily correct as you go. Applicator mitts are also unnecessary for this product.

  • Preparing for your Self Tan

    If you've already read the section from spray tanning, there will be quite a bit of overlap. The major difference, of course, is the actual preparation for application you are now required to take, as opposed to a spray tan professional doing for you. We've put a star in front of all the new items specific to self-tan preparation to help you skim through.

    • Good time for Me time:  Probably best not to commit to any dinners or friendly get togethers where you may come into contact with others during the showerless waiting time after spraytanning. The solution is easily transferred and I doubt your friends will appreciate the brown stains on their new white clothes.

    • Hair Removal:  Shave or wax the day before, but doing so immediately before your selftan will increase sensitivity. Preparing the skin for any treatment by stressing it with this level of irritation will increase the chances of product reaction, plus the oils in waxes or shave creams can interfere with selftan absorption as well.

    • Mani / Pedi:  Finger and toe nails readily absorb DHA, unfortunately. Nail polish, or at least a clear coat is recommended to prevent toe nail discoloration. If you use a thick moisturizing cream as barrier on your nails, this shouldn't happen during the treatment, but still may happen days later as with spray tans. This happens more commonly in warmer weather when feet sweat, expelling the solution from the inside, onto the toe nail beds.

    • Scrub or Exfoliate:  An exfoliating shower hours before your treatment is a must. This will eliminate dead skin that will interfere with even product absorbtion. Take care to choose a specific self-tanning scrub to help avoid added moisturizing ingredients that may prevent your self-tanning solution from absorbing nicely. These special self-tanning scrubs contain no oils and therefore will not interfere with spraytan absorption.

    • Prepare a Drying Space:  You may want to prepare the areas you will spend your 2 – 6 hours of showerless waiting for possible colour transfer. Place towels on the seat of your car, couch, chair, or other areas you will rest. If you tend to sleep through it, switch the silk sheets and pillow cases to something easier to clean, like cotton.

    • What to wear:  Prepare loose fitting, light weight, dark clothing to change into after the treatment because it is likely some colour transfer will occur. Avoid wool, nylon or silk which can be difficult to wash fabrics.

    • Clean Clean Clean:  Make sure you have no makeup, moisturizer, deodourant, perfume, etc on your skin. All of these products can act like a barrier to product absorption, leaving white spots behind.

    • Turn up the AirCon:  Make sure the room you will perform your self-tan in is nice and cool so you won't break a sweat while applying the solution. Sweating pushes the product out instead of allowing it to absorb.

  • *Prepare your Treatment Area:  We recommend performing your first treatment in your bathtub, if you have one, walk-in shower, or at least your bathroom. This will contain your mess, and generally bathrooms permit much easier clean up in the event of a disaster. Make sure to have; a few hand cloths, tissues, wet naps, hair band or hair cap, flip-flops, moisturizer, barrier cream, one damp cloth, and applicator mitt or rubber gloves if needed. An applicator mitt is sponge-like, thus absorbing the product making it easier to apply the product by pressing against the skin. There will be far less spillage than with rubber gloves, and so we highly recommend the small investment. (They also last more than one application as long as you keep them clean.) As a barrier cream, you can use a carrier oil or vaseline. Bathrooms should also have at least one or two mirrors to help with being able to see hard to reach areas, like your back. Even better, have someone around to help you with your back.