How to Apply an Instant Fake Tan

Written by monica patrick
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How to Apply an Instant Fake Tan
Avoid getting orange legs by allowing your tan to dry between coats. (getting a tan image by Leticia Wilson from

A fake tan is a quick method of getting a bronze glow without exposing your skin to the sun's damaging rays. There are several ways to get dark, glowing skin in just a few minutes or, at most, a couple hours. Regardless of your skin type or how fair your skin is, a good tan is just an application or two away. Apply your fake tan correctly to avoid streaking and irregular staining.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Razor
  • Loofah
  • Towels
  • Sheet
  • Bikini
  • Hair elastic
  • Spray tan
  • Tan lotion
  • Staining tan
  • Sponge applicator

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  1. 1

    Shave your legs and any other areas that require hair removal. Exfoliate the rest of your body with a loofah to remove dead skin cells. Dry patches will make your spray tan cake up and cause discolouration. Shaving before you tan will also keep your tan from fading prematurely.

  2. 2

    Pat your skin dry with a soft towel, removing any moisture from the surface of your skin.

  3. 3

    Remove all jewellery like anklets, bracelets and necklaces.

  4. 4

    Place a large towel or old sheet on the floor of the room where you will apply the spray, lotion or stain.

  5. 5

    Wear any undergarments you wish to create tan lines. If you like a tan look without lines, go nude.

  6. 6

    Pull up your hair away from your neck and face.

  1. 1

    Stand on the towel or sheet and spray the fake tan over your legs in a even sweeps. Avoid spraying your feet more than once as they will "catch" falling sprays anyway.

  2. 2

    Spray the front and then the back of your legs. Spray your abdomen, arms and your back. You may need a friend to help you reach your back.

  3. 3

    Allow the spray tan to dry completely before applying a second coat. Skip the second coat if you just want a light tan.

  4. 4

    Wash your hands and between the toes to avoid getting an orange look.

  1. 1

    Sit on the towel or sheet. Apply the lotion to your legs, abdomen and arms. Stand to reach your back area. You may need a friend to apply a good application on your back.

  2. 2

    Coat the tops of your feet and hands lightly, and then wash between fingers and toes immediately.

  3. 3

    Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat of tanning lotion.

  1. 1

    Use the sponge applicator that came with your stain kit. Pour the stain in a disposable plastic cup if one did not come with your kit. Only pour out 2 tbsp at time to avoid waste.

  2. 2

    Dampen the sponge applicator by placing it in the stain. Push down the sponge to remove the excess stain.

  3. 3

    Apply the stain, starting below the knee and painting downward. Then paint from the waist to the top of the knees.

  4. 4

    Stain the rest of your body in a similar fashion, working area by area. Ask a friend to help you reach your back and the back of your legs. Keep your strokes even. Use a disposable cotton cloth to pat your knees and elbows lightly. Wash away excess stain promptly.

Tips and warnings

  • If you choose to create tan lines, wear an old pair of panties or old bikini that you don't mind ruining. If the clothing is stained by the tanning solution, you won't be at a great loss.

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