Nailed It! How to Self-Tan Those Tricky Areas

Nailed It! How to Self-Tan Those Tricky Areas

Orange knees, patchy feet, and a pale back... If you've tried and failed at self-tanning at home, you're not alone. But don't give up! Achieving a gorgeous, flawless fake tan is possible, and it's the quickest way to feel fabulous—once you master how to self-tan those tricky spots!

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To help you perfect self-tanning from head to toe, we've created this guide to address the most common trouble spots. From tanning your elbows to subtly bronzing your armpits, here's all you need to know. Don't step into the bathroom without our ultimate glow guide!


You don’t want to sacrifice a smooth, blemish-free complexion for the sake of some colour, so take care when choosing a facial self-tanner. Skip the cheap ‘n’ nasty formulas that can be super-drying and pore clogging, and pick a fake tan packed with hydrating, anti-ageing ingredients and antioxidants – like tanning gel SPF15 (designed for both the face and body)!

Now the formulas sorted, it’s time to tackle application. For a flawless result, exfoliate before tanning, and apply your product to clean skin. Just before tanning, plunge your face into a bowl of cold water or run an ice cube over your t-zone to close your pores. Tie back your hair and rub a little moisturiser over your hairline and brows to avoid unwanted staining – especially if you’re fair – then you’re good to go!

As the facial skin seems to have mysterious tanning powers, it’s important to use self-tanner sparingly in this area. We recommend applying a small amount of tanning foam (1 pump) with a Kabuki brush – for example our tanning gel SPF15. This allows you to seamlessly apply self-tanner to all the tricky nooks and crannies of your face. 

Worried you’ll go too dark? Start by choosing the correct colour for your skin tone and – if you’re still nervous, mix in a little moisturiser. You can also rinse your face off after the minimum developing time, while leaving your body colour to develop for longer.

Alternatively, you might wanna try our peach fragrance intensive boost tanning — simply gel with your fave moisturiser for a gorgeous, natural daily glow! Check out our fail-proof face-tan guide here!


Ears can be the trickiest to self-tan, but don't skip them! Pale lobes instantly reveal a faux glow.

So, how do you tan these little troublemakers? Go easy. Instead of using a fresh pump of tanner, use the leftover product on your kabuki brush after tanning your face. Buff it into your lobes, and don’t forget the backs of your ears—especially if you often wear a ponytail.

No brush? A cotton ball works too.


Not as tricky to tan as the face, the neck still requires careful attention and a light touch. Facial tans fade quickly due to daily cleansing, and you don't want a pale face above a dark neck!

Using your tanning mitt and a small amount of product (less than what you'd use on your limbs), apply self-tanner to your neck and blend up towards the jawline. If the guide color looks too dark, use a facial wipe to remove any excess.


You have to give it to hands – they make achieving a natural-looking fake tan quite a challenge! But you can get a realistic hand tan with the right tools and technique.

Instead of scrubbing your hands with soap and water to avoid muddy palms, invest in an applicator mitt. A velvety mitt not only prevents self-tan from soaking into your hands but also ensures a smooth, even application without streaks.

Wear the mitt while tanning your body, then remove it to tan the tops of your hands, fingers, and wrists. Make a claw with your hands and apply a small amount of tanning foam with a kabuki brush, using circular motions to blend well.

To prevent excess product absorption, apply a bit of moisturizer to knuckles, fingernails, and between the fingers first. A baby wipe is also useful for removing any stray self-tanner from the palms and nails.


All the single ladies with pale backs, put your hands up! Tanning your back can be tricky without a housemate or partner to help, but it’s doable.

All you need is a body brush, wooden spoon, ruler, or anything with a long handle. Place your mitt over the top, secure it with an elastic band, and you’ve got a handy back-tanning tool that doesn’t require dislocating a shoulder.

Knees (and elbows)

Knobby and commonly overlooked, the typically dry skin on the knees is infamous for absorbing more self-tan than its fair share. Be sure to give extra attention to your knees and elbows during exfoliation, and swiftly glide over these areas with your tanning mitt. Additionally, applying tanner while your limbs are bent ensures thorough coverage over all those creased areas.


Armpits are another area that’s often neglected, but pasty pits are a bit of an eyesore when you’re rocking a glow in your summer dress. So, what’s a girl (or guy) to do? 

Start by doing any underarm hair removal at least 12-24 hours before tanning. Skip the deodorant and moisturiser, and give the underarm area a quick swipe with leftover product on your mitt.


If you're not keen on spending your summer in closed shoes, it's crucial to master the art of tanning your feet. Begin with exfoliated and moisturized feet – yes, moisturized. Feet tend to be quite parched, so you can be a bit more liberal with the moisturizer.

Instead of directly applying product to your feet, blend downward from your legs using your applicator mitt. Focus primarily on the tops of your feet, where the sun naturally hits, and be gentle on the toes and especially the back of the heel. Use a brush to evenly buff the tan and reach between the toes.

Just like with your hands, use a baby wipe or makeup remover to clean up any excess from your toenails or excessively dry areas.

There you have it – self-tan, perfectly done.

Self-Tanning Knowledge Expansion

When exploring self-tanning products, additional information to give you a more comprehensive understanding of the world of self-tanning:

  • Natural looking fake tan: Refers to a fake tan effect that makes the skin appear natural, as if it were the result of natural sun exposure.
  • Best self tanner not orange: These are products designed to avoid the skin turning orange after tanning.
  • Self tanner for very pale skin: Refers to products specifically designed for very pale skin, providing a moderate amount of pigment to make pale skin look healthier.
  • Good self tanner for pale skin: These products are designed to give pale skin a natural bronze look without appearing overly artificial.
  • Best instant wash off tan: Refers to a type of self-tanning product that provides a bronze tan quickly but can be easily washed off.
  • Light fake tan for pale skin: Refers to self-tanning products with lighter shades suitable for use on pale skin, providing a natural appearance.
  • Best dark tanning oil: This refers to an oil used for tanning that provides a darker bronze color to the skin.
  • Best sun tan oil: This refers to an oil used for tanning that also provides sun protection to prevent sun damage to the skin.
  • The best tanning cream: These are highly effective tanning creams that provide satisfactory tanning results.

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