How to Get a Bronzed Look Without Tanning

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Fake a bronze glow and avoid unsightly tan lines.
Fake a bronze glow and avoid unsightly tan lines. (Image: Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images)

If you want the look of a tanned body without catching some rays, smooth on some sunshine with a self-tanner. To get the look of sun-kissed skin, self-tanning products will give your body a San Tropez or St. Bart’s tan without requiring you to leave the comfort of your home. Whether you want a bronzed body in the winter or just need to extend the life of your spray tan, say goodbye to pale skin and hello to a gorgeous glow.

Things You'll Need

  • Loofah
  • Exfoliating gloves
  • Sugar or salt scrub
  • Razor
  • Water-based moisturizer
  • Gloves
  • Tanning oil, tanning mousse or tanning lotion
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Wet your skin in the shower. Dampen your loofah or exfoliating gloves with water. Smooth a dollop of your favorite sugar or salt scrub on your body. Scrub your skin gently with the dampened gloves or loofah to remove dead skin cells.

Smooth a razor over your body to remove unwanted hair. Removing your hair before applying a self-tanning product helps extend the life of the tan on your skin.

Apply a thin layer of water-based moisturizer on skin before applying tanning product. The moisturizer will allow the tan to spread smoothly over your skin. Oil-based moisturizers may keep the self-tanning product from adhering to your skin.

Put on gloves to keep your hands from staining. Apply the product to the gloves first before smoothing the product on your skin. The type of product you use depends on how long you want the tan. If you're looking for a temporary tan that lasts only until your next shower, apply a tanning oil. For a bronzed look that lasts at least a week, use a tanning mousse or lotion.

Spread the bronzing product evenly on the front, back and sides of your body. To keep your elbows and knees from darkening too much, mix tanning mousse or lotion with moisturizer before applying.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to exfoliate dry areas of your body like elbows and knees before applying a self-tanner.
  • To fix tanning smudges, jump in the shower to rinse your skin, or create a lemon scrub by mixing a ½ cup of sugar and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Use this homemade paste to scrub your skin and remove blotches.
  • Avoid spreading the tan on the soles of your feet or on the palms of your hands.

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