The biggest mistake people make when applying a self-tanner themselves is where they start applying.
“For some reason, people apply a self-tanner as you would a lotion. Your arms, your hands, your legs. Those are the first places you shouldn’t start. You should start inside out. Torso out,” says Pino. The reason being, your arms, legs and appendages are far drier than the torso. “You want to work yourself from your heart outwards. Then as the tanner starts to dissipate, you work it towards your drier areas. The drier the skin, the more tanner absorbs, so the darker that area gets. You want to put it on your least dry areas so the concentrate is heavier. Even when you’re doing the [tanning] lotions, it should be fluttered out.”
As for applicators and self-tanning products, Pino recommends a self-tanning mitt and a foam self-tanner. “Foam self-tanners tend to give a more even color. People are over-doers. You’re going to pump this foam into your self-tanning mitt and assume you pumped all this foam in your hand when really you didn’t. It’s aerated, it’s fluffed. It just looks like you’ve used a lot when really you’ve actually used the right amount.”
Foam is also easier to manipulate. While tanning towels and tanning water have their perks, foam is beneficial for first-timers since you can actually see where and how you’re applying it. “The other thing is, start with a gradual self-tanner versus one with a ton of color in it that’s gonna throw you to your darkest shade” adds Pino.
And what to do if you’ve made a terrible tanning blunder? “The main areas on the body that have an ‘oops’ usually are the hands and the feet. Some of the tools that I like to use are literally Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Don’t put it all over your body, but it literally will take tanner right off your hands.”