How To Use A Self Tanner

When choosing a self tanner there are many on the market and the choices can be overwhelming. However it is important to realize that there are more factors beside color. While of course that is crucial, the quality of ingredients will be a huge factor in the color, longevity and fade and if it is drying to your skin. The self tanning mousse & gradual tanning lotion from Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty is the best on the market and will last while providing a beautiful tan and flawless coverage. Below is great information on how to use a self tanner and Tips on using the best self tanning products.

This self tanning foam is made with same luxury spray tan solution as found in the top selling solution from Perfect Glow Sunless ( The professional spray tan division of Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty) This premium self tanning mousse contains ingredients that will nourish your skin while providing a gorgeous tan. Free of parabens and other nasty ingredients that can be found in other self tanners.

Your skin will feel hydrated and nourished. Formulated with key ingredients such as Sunflower oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Argan oil, green tea and White Tea extracts. No orange, streak free and non blotchy. I recommend appliying with a tanning mitt to ensure flawless coverage and to avoid staining of the hands.

Here are some answers to the most common questions.

How do I prepare for the self-tanning application?

You want to prepare the same way you would for a regular airbrush tanning session. It is imperative that you exfoliate your skin the day before or even for a few days leading up to the day you are going to apply the self-tanner. I recommend you use exfoliating gloves and refrain from a scrub that contains oils unless it is more than a day before your appointment.

Exfoliation is very important so the skin can be a clean even canvas. If self-tanner or gradual tanning lotion is applied on uneven skin, the older dead skin cells will come off first causing the tan to possibly fade poorly. Do any waxing or shaving at least 24 hours before. And remember. No oils, lotions, perfumes or deodorant the day of the tan. These can create a barrier preventing the self-tanner from fully developing.

Do not shower right before applying the self-tanner as the steam will open the pores and can adversely affect the tan by not absorbing all of the tanning product. I recommend at least showering 4 hours before (no soap or body wash) &  if you absolutely must shower before your appointment do not use very hot water. Just do a quick rinse and refrain from using soap or body wash .

What is the best way to apply the product?

If you are using the tanning mousse I highly recommend you apply this with a self-tanning mitt. This will ensure no mess to your hands and provide a flawless, streak free application. Apply mousse in circular motion on clean skin. *Tip*  If you are using the mitt and it is too big for your hand put a sock or 2 on your hand first. (This will help the mitt fit more snug to prevent it from moving around)

If you are using the gradual tanning lotion, apply like you would a regular body moisturizer in a circular motion. Make sure you wash or wipe down the palms of your hands to avoid staining and discoloration. Go lightly on the hands and feet with both products. These are the driest areas of the skin and tend to absorb more of the solution causing a darker more unnatural appearance. You can put a very light layer of moisturizer on those areas before to help with this.

What is the best way to apply the mousse to the back which is hard to reach?

We all know that this is the most annoying part of applying self tanner. It is always a pain in the “you know what” to get the back. Many times somebody does not have a friend with them or somebody at home to help them get those hard to reach spots. So they wind up missing parts of their back because they cannot reach it. ( Ummm, not a great look when wearing tank tops) So here is a great fix that I came up with that you could do that so simple!! Put a spatula in your tanning mitt and fasten it with a hair tie, ribbon, string or rubber band. Now you can get those hard to reach areas and the mitt is snug and won’t move.

How to apply self tanner to the back

How to apply self tanner to the back

How much product should I use?

When it comes to self-tanning remember the golden rule of less is more! You can always go back and reapply more if you are not dark enough after the first application. That is a much better result than over applying and turning an unnatural shade! If you are extremely fair and cannot tan in the sun start off by applying just 1 coat of the mousse or use the gradual tanning lotion only once per day. Skin tones that are darker and that can tan nicely in the sun can apply 2 coats of the self-tanning mousse or use the gradual tanner up to 2x a day. *Remember to err on the side of caution and start easy as you can always increase* Many times when a person looks orangey it is the result of not the product but due to a heavy hand applying too much product *

How long until my tan develops?

You will see instant color due to a cosmetic bronzer. The actual tan will take from 8-12 hours to fully develop, so do NOT shower or get wet until that time as you will risk washing off the self-tanner. When you finally shower you will see color washing off. Do not be alarmed as that is just the cosmetic bronzer that is washing off. You will have a beautiful tan underneath. Do not use any loofas, washcloths, anything exfoliating or bar soaps containing Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS) .When getting out of the shower BLOT your skin with a towel. Pat dry and DO NOT RUB!

How long after do I have to wait to exercise? 

Do not exercise or do anything that will make your sweat. Refrain from ANY skin to skin contact until you have showered. If you do not follow this you will be preventing the tan from fully developing which can result in patches and streaking

How often should I moisturize after a spray tan?

Moisturizing is a crucial part post tanDo not moisturize until AFTER you take your first shower. After that you must moisturize at least 2x per day. The DHA in the tanning lotion reacts to the outer layers of the skin. The more you moisturize will delay natural exfoliation which will prolong your tan. If you don’t, your skin will get dry and your tan will fade quickly & fade poorly.  Drugstore moisturizers are not the best products to use. I have products that are made specifically for sunless tanning. They will hydrate and extend your tan because they do not contain drying alcohols or SLS which can strip and fade a tan. You really should use the proper maintenance products so you can get your money’s worth and get longevity out of the application.

Do I still need sunscreen after using a self tanning product?

YES!! There is no SPF protection from a spray tan. You will not be protected against UV rays and will still burn. If you peel the sunless tan will peel off as well.

I always burn in the sun and never tan. Can I still get a sunless tan?

Absolutely! If you are someone who always burns in the sun (Like myself!) and therefore has never been able to tan, you can achieve a sunless tan. Just start with a light application to avoid an unnatural color.
How long will it last?

It will last anywhere from 5-9 days depending on how diligent you follow post tan instructions and moisturizing. Remember a fake tan is on the outer layer of the skin, so anything you do to cause exfoliation will cause the tan to fade quicker. It is imperative that you moisturize at least 2x a day and avoid hot baths, pools and hot tubs. I highly recommend using the luxurious body lotion or tan extender by Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty. They were formulated specifically for sunless tanning and do not contain any Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS) parabens or drying alcohols. It can help extend your airbrush tan for up to 2 weeks in some cases.

Can I shave or wax?-

Yes, but I do it at least 24 hours before your apply the self-tanning mousse. If any sooner the wax or cream will provide a barrier against the skin preventing it from being absorbed. Do not shower or bathe for at least 8-10 hours after application. If you do not wait the recommended time it can prevent your tan from fully developing. The longer you can wait the better. I recommend waiting 10-12 hours for optimum results

Here are some tips to remember

When you first shower you will see color washing off. Don’t be alarmed as that is only the cosmetic bronzer from the application and your developed tan is not washing off.

Do not wash your hands or get them wet for at least 8 hours after application. Use rubber gloves if you have to use the sink for anything.

Wear loose fitting dark clothing after application. Avoid socks & boots until the tan fully develops (I recommend flip flops or sandals with an open toe) it washes off most fabrics but can temporally stain some clothes. Do not wear wool, silk or nylon immediately after as it can stain those materials. Avoid wearing anything red as that color can make the tan turn green!

Avoid the rain until after you shower. Water can ruin or hinder the development of a sunless tan so make sure you have an umbrella and watch for puddles if you need to go out. Do not let pets lick your sunless tan.

Wait at least 24 hours to shave as shaving can cause fading. Try to shave only as needed & use a sharp new razor & hair conditioner instead of shaving cream.

Do not do any spa treatments for a few days after your tan (pedicures, waxing, massages) as these treatments can fade or remove the tan.

Avoid any waxing, baby oil, mineral oil or massage oil

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Please contact me with any questions at and happy tanning ! xo- Melissa

Melissa Weinberg Tanning




Melissa Weinberg is the founder of Perfect Glow Sunless and Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty. Also providing spray tan training and custom airbrush tanning in the South Florida area. For more information please visit