Self-tanner gets a bad rep. It’s arguably one of the most intimidating beauty products on the market, but for no good reason! Stars swear by bronzing formulas to get red carpet-ready and one of their go-to brands is St. Tropez. To break down the biggest self-tan do’s and don’ts, Us Weekly’s Stylish reached out to one of Hollywood’s leading experts: celebrity Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans.
Evans has been working with the brand for 20 years as the OG brand ambassador and the spray-tanner to the stars. Victoria Beckham, Halsey, Margot Robbie and Bella Hadid are just a few of the A-listers she’s bronzed in the past using St. Tropez’s beloved formulas. Casual!
So obviously, Evans is our go-to when it comes to answering all of our DIY tanning questions, including how to avoid streaks and other unfavorable tanning fails.
Prepping for Your Tan
St. Tropez has an impressive lineup of options ranging from a vitamin-packed body tanning mist to a mousse that gives you a tropical vacation-approved tan in just an hour. Our current obsessions are the brand’s transparent and transfer-free gel-to-water options: the Purity Bronzing Water Gel for the body ($44) and Purity Vitamins Serum for the face ($30).
So here are some quick facts to keep in mind before you bronze. A day before self-tanning, shave and exfoliate. On the day of, make sure your skin is clean and free of any beauty products (makeup and skincare included).
Besides that, “the biggest mistake you can make is not having your tools,” the British tanning expert tells Us over Zoom for a 1:1 class in Self Tanning 101. “You need a mitt, obviously, self-tanner for your body, moisturizer and you’re also going to need wipes at hand.”
And if you’re home alone and “not very flexible,” Evans recommends scooping up a convenient back applicator. We recommend a tool like this to get the job done smoothly.
How to Avoid Unsightly Streaks
According to Evans, the two biggest culprits for an uneven, streaky tan are caused by not applying enough product or from over-rubbing the self-tanning formula into your skin.
“You can never use too much product,” Evans stresses. “Why people get in trouble is they don’t use enough.” Oftentimes, the expert says that people get “paranoid” that they’re applying too much and end up not applying enough — or rubbing it in so much that it doesn’t absorb in correctly. That, she says, is what ironically causes those dreaded streaks.
“It’s got to sit on top of your skin so it can absorb in,” she continues. By rubbing self-tanner into the skin so intensely, people are consequently “disrupting the tan going into the skin.” Repeat after Evans and Us: “Don’t over-rub.”
Perfecting the Application Process
When you’re self-tanning at home, the key is to work in sections and pay attention to detail. Use a moisturizer like this trusty option on your “elbows, knees, hand and feet only.” Since these areas are prone to dryness, this will help achieve an even finish. The last step in your tanning routine should be your hands and feet. Use residue on your mitt to lightly sweep your feet and hands. Those cleansing wipes will come in clutch to rid your fingernails of any pigment, as well as in between your fingers and toes.
If the whole tanning process intimidates you, Evans brilliantly and sentimentally compares the process to “paint-by-numbers.” Using your tanning mitt, apply the self-tanner in circular motions. Don’t be afraid to overlap the sections and “if in doubt,” Sophie says to “just go over it again.”
St. Tropez products have a unique technology that ensures that your skin will come out the same color no matter how many times it’s layered on. In short, the formulas are basically fool-proof.
“Your skin will only take as much as it needs,” Evans explains, further emphasizing that there’s no such thing as applying too much St. Tropez self-tanner. But be warned: Evans tells Us that not all self-tanners work the same. Even though you can never use too much of a St. Tropez product, that’s not necessarily the case with other brands, so do your research before lathering up with a different formula.
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