I learn so many things on TikTok—how to take care of plants, how to cook pesto eggs, how to do feather brows, or what type of perfume to wear when it’s super hot out. But by far, one of the best things I’ve learned is that a) black girls use self-tanner, and b) it’s actually AMAZING.
Like most people, I *love* a good tan, but I don’t want to lay out in the sun to achieve it. I’m not the biggest fan of tan lines, the heat, or just the possibility of getting sun damage in general—so I tend to stay indoors and layer on sunscreen whenever I’m outside to avoid it. So when I saw that yes, Black girls can use self-tanner (despite it not being marketed to us, but I’ll get to that later), and it looks GREAT, I had to get in on the action. Find out more about self-tanning tips below!
I love a good tan, but I don’t want to lay out in the sun. So when I saw that yes, Black girls can use self-tanner and it looks GREAT, I had to get in on the action.
First Things First, Black Girls Can Use Self-tanner
So let’s get into this. Self-tanner is definitely not marketed for black girls, or even darker skinned people in general. But self-tanner isn’t just to make yourself darker; it can be used to create an all-over even skin tone. And if there is one thing I know, it’s that a lot of black women have uneven skin tone—not just on our faces, but all over. Using self-tanner can help achieve an all-over even glow, perfect for the summer, or whenever you want to show a little leg or body-ody-ody.
Just be on the lookout for self-tanner marked “deep or dark” as those are geared towards people who want a deep tan or have darker colored skin.
Before you use a self-tanner, you want to make sure your skin is as silky and smooth as possible. My all-time favorite body scrub is the Morroccan Rose Tree Hut Scrub. It smells great and makes my skin feel smooth like butter, perfect for a self-tanner skin prep.
If you need to shave, make sure you do that after exfoliating to keep your skin smooth and soft. Shaving after using a self-tanner can mess up your progress.
Lotion It Up
Self-tanner clings to dry skin, leaving you looking patchy—and we know no one wants that. So, after you’re all shaved and exfoliated down, make sure to apply a rich, moisturizing lotion. Some areas that you want to pay special attention to are your knees, elbows, and around your feet, as those areas tend to get drier than the rest of your body.
Find Your Perfect Self-Tanner
If you are darker skinned, you’ll have to do a bit of research to find one that’s suitable for your skin tone and will gradually get your skin more tan and more even. There are a number of different product types to consider as well. You can go the easier route and add a tanner to your regular lotion, use a spray, or a mousse product. Some options include:
Tan Luxe THE BODY Illuminating Self-Tan Drops in Medium/Dark: You just add a few of these drops to your regular lotion or moisturizer and apply it like you normally would.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water in Dark: For an easier application, get yourself a continuous mister spray bottle and pour this in it. It’ll be easier to apply, and you’ll end up with an all-over even glow.
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse: Mousse products are easier to apply than other types of self tanner. Get yourself a tanning mitt and apply in nice even strokes.
When you apply your self-tanner, you want to start from the bottom of your body. Start with feet, then move up your legs, torso, arms, back, and chest. If you mess up, or you have tanner in places you don’t want it, you can use a makeup wipe to remove the tanner (see, makeup wipes are good for something!).
Let It Develop
Depending on your product, self-tanner can take anywhere from an hour to a full eight hours to develop. To prevent your tanner from transferring on your sheets or clothes, you can lightly set it with a powder. I am obsessed with Lush’s Silky Underwear. It smells like vanilla and love … yes, love.