As someone with melanin, I had never *entered the chat* when it came to self-tanners. I always felt as though darker skin tones were excluded from the concept, and quite frankly, I didn’t really see the point.
Over the last few years, many self-tanning brands are becoming more inclusive with darker shades, making self-tanning more popular than ever — and I can totally see why. Not only does it give me a sun-kissed gleam that makes it look like I just got back from vacation, it also completely evens out my skin tone, texture, and any hyperpigmentation I have. There’s a reason “self tan on darker skin” on TikTok has 98.7 million views, with a number of tanning routines being demonstrated by Black creators.
While I’m excited for fall ‘fits and cooler weather, I’m not looking forward to losing my beachy glow or dealing with the dull, dry look my complexion gets in the winter (that can only be masked by bronzer and a highlighter). Since I don’t like wearing heavy makeup during the winter, self-tanner has become the perfect solution. Before you start shopping for your ideal product, here are the three most important application tips to achieve a flawless finish.
Always exfoliate before using self tanner.
This is an imperative first step. Exfoliating your skin eliminates any dry patches that could lead to a splotchy faux tan, creating a smooth base that will allow the product to glide on evenly. To get a nice canvas for my self-tanner, I like to use the Isle of Paradise Body Polish or Soft Services Buffing Bar, along with an exfoliating mitt or net washcloth.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
After applying self-tanner, keep your skin extremely hydrated, especially in drier areas like your elbows and knees. The more moisturized your skin is, the longer your tan will last. I typically see my sunless tan start to fade in one to two weeks before I need to reapply.
Be consistent and take your time.
It’s never ideal to apply self-tanner when you’re in a rush. Make sure you’re distributing the product evenly and not missing any spots. While not necessary, many people like to use a mitt for body application and a brush for face application. Lastly, don’t forget that every formula has its own instructions. Follow them to a T if you want to maximize your faux glow’s longevity, and keep in mind that most self tanners have specific waiting periods before you can rinse, sweat, or wear tight clothing.
If you’re ready to get glowing, keep reading for the best self-tanners for dark skin tones.
The Best Self-Tanners For Dark Skin Tones
This lightweight foam is not only easy to apply, but also infused with glycerin for added hydration. It quickly absorbs into the skin and lasts about a week.
St. Tropez’s tanning products have cult following and are known to be top-tier. The application is easy, the texture of the foam is beyond dreamy, the formula is hydrating, and the results are long-lasting. In my honest opinion, there is little to be desired when it comes to this product.
Jergens cult-favorite Natural Glow Self Tanner Lotion just had to get an honorable mention. It illuminates without having to do anything other than what you already do every day: moisturize. This version has bronze luminizers, as well as nourishing shea and cocoa butters that make deeper complexions glow.
Tanologist’s products are heavy hitters in the sunless tanning game for their versatility and build-ability. The mousse is *chef’s kiss,* but the Self Tan Drops are many people’s favorite because you can add them to your moisturizer for easy application and customizable results. The more drops you add, the more color you get.
Is this your first foray into the word of self-tanners? Dolce Glow, created by celebrity spray tan artist, Isabel Alysa, is easy to use, mess-free, and very beginner-friendly.