My Self Tanning Routine | St Tropez to St Moriz

box of my favourite self tans


As someone who loves the look of a tan but has transparent skin and absolutely no natural tanning capability whatsoever, I have no option other than to use self tan. This has been a part of my life for a long time and I can’t live without it. I love the way it makes my skin appear smoother, more even, and yes toned! It’s addictive and since I really don’t like my pasty white skin I’m generally self tanned, particularly at this time of year. I can’t bear to see white feet in sandals either!! Just no.

Orange Is Out

I don’t want to look tangoed or any shade of orange actually so I don’t apply my tan too heavily as this just looks too fake for me. I take care to look natural and that means also going easy on the insides of arms as basically for me that looks weird when it just stops dead at the wrist. The sun wouldn’t naturally hit the inner forearm would it. Just blend it so that it fades in naturally. For my hands and feet I don’t rub tan across them, I prefer to mist over them with an airbrush type can as I don’t want the tan grabbing my knuckles as it likes to! Misting over prevents this happening and I do the same for me feet. Moisturising those vulnerable areas first also helps reduce ‘tan grab’ (one of my technical terms)

For Best Results, Use A Mitt

Always, Always use a mitt, this is a must and just helps the tan apply well. I use the Boots Soltan mitt. I couldn’t imagine using those surgical style gloves which just cause streaks.

Over the years I’ve tried all kinds and differing brands, from St Tropez to Fake Bake and lower priced brands such a St Moriz. Did you know the shade we become is down to our personal biology so here’s the scientific bit –  fake tan contains an ingredient called DHA (dihydroxyacetone) it’s derived from fructose and reacts to amino acids in the dead skin cells in the epidermis layer of our skin. This chemical reaction in the skin’s keratin proteins produces brown pigmentation or melanoids on the skin’s surface thus giving the brown colour so what might look orange on me, may be a perfect tan shade on you! Other factors include skin thickness, if you have thinner skin your tan may not last so well; thicker, the tan will last longer.


St Moriz fast tan bottle


For a while I used Sunlabs Airbrush tan as I really liked the colour, still do, but somehow drifted to St Moriz, probably because it’s so readily available and this I love.

It’s so affordable for someone like me who uses gallons of the stuff. I tend to use the airbrush can for my back, hands and feet and the mousse for the rest of me. I do find the Mousse formula is much longer lasting as with the spray I feel the colour tends to disappear after my shower and I need to reapply. With the mousse it definitely lasts well. I recently discovered St Moriz ‘fast tan’ formula which allows you  to control your shade; develop for up to three hours depending on the depth of tan you like. Once you’ve ‘developed’ rinse off in the shower, just water, no shower gel or soap!

If I’m going on holiday I will usually take a bottle of st Tropez airbrush, that said, last holiday I packed my St Moriz too and switched between the two. The guide colour with St Moriz is lovely and is definitely there! I only use tans with a guide colour as not only can I see where I’m applying it I also get that instant colour that I want. Chlorine literally KILLS fake tan and so I’m always re-applying on holiday.


Do you have areas that just don’t seem to take fake tan and /or the colour just won’t hold? Particularly on the legs, try smoothing a half a lemon over these areas, the lemon juice lowers the skin’s natural pH and basically helps the active ingredient in the fake tan to develop more efficiently. This is something I do and I find it works quite well.

If you’re using a spray tan it’s advised to avoid inhalation as the DHA it contains can be harmful. Have you ever spray tanned then wiped your nose, you’ll see quite a lot of tan that’s been caught in your nostrils, I’ve had this happen several time but since finding out about the dangers of inhalation I take steps to avoid this.

If you need your tan to dry quickly use your hair dryer and just ‘blow dry’ your skin. If you use the misting method remember to wipe your hand and toe nails after as you don’t want the tan to stain your nails.

My Routine

Every girl knows that before any self tanning, exfoliation is key. I literally exfoliate constantly so my skin is generally well prepared. It’s often a good idea to shave your legs the day before to give the pores a chance to recover. It’s annoying when the tan gets into the pores and just looks awful so we want to avoid that if we can. Start with either an exfoliation mitt or use your usual product in the shower St. Tropez do a great tan removing mitt for scrubbing off those remaining patchy areas of old tan that just won’t go away! I would definitely recommend using this as I find it really effective and also leaves your skin really smooth.

I’m usually an evening tanner but also I will apply my tan any time of day depending on my plans etc. Once out of the shower I moisturise with an oil free moisturiser, *fake bake do a really good one. I use this before and then daily to prolong my tan. Using oil fee just means the tan will adhere properly to the skin as there’s no barrier left as with a general moisturiser. After moisturising I will let that settle for a while. Then using the mitt apply the tan in your usual way. For my back I stand in the bath and bend over, then I mist the tan over my back and carefully dab in any spots of tan with the mit. For me, misting gives a much more even application.

Once Tanned, Get Those Legs Out…


Samantha's legs showing the colour


For my face, I exfoliate, moisturise and then add some tan to my usual tinted moisturiser, apply with a dense brush as this way you can buff the tan on and this gives an even application. I tend to have the odd dry area on my face which is very annoying  when it comes to tanning my face. If my skin is playing up I will mist over with tan and gently pat with the mit rather than buffing it in as I find it’s less likely to grab those drier areas. Some self tans really dehydrate the skin with prolonged use so I prefer to use a face specific tan for this reason, Otherwise, as I mentioned earlier mix a little tan in with your usual facial moisturiser before applying as this helps combat dryness.

These are really the brands I tend to stick to. Which brands do you use? I’d love to hear from you!

Psst… Both St.Moriz and St.Tropez are cruelty free.

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  1. April 12, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I don’t tan in the summer, I always burn instead, so fake tan is a must for me if I want to be bronzed. Really helpful post!

    • Samantha
      April 12, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      I know the problem, must be so lovely to be someone who tans!! Would save so much hassle! 😩

  2. April 12, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    This was such a helpful post! I’m going to be self tanning for the first time ever this year and I’m so nervous about it so these tips have been sooo useful!

    • Samantha
      April 12, 2017 / 9:51 pm

      Oh bless you! First time tanning is a bit scary, but you’ll soon get used to it! Glad this helped & thanks for reading! 😍😊

    • Samantha
      April 19, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Thanks so much lovely lady! 😘x

  3. June 8, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    I’ve used the St Moritz before and I think it’s great, especially for the price. I tend to now have spray tans for dance comps and then I just accept I’m a pasty milk bottle the rest of the year 😛 My spray tans are now Tan Truth which are lovely and even and wear off evenly. I always had Sienna X prior to that but my tanning lady gave it up so I had to find someone else. When I first started competing I used Fake Bake but I used to stress about doing it myself worrying it wouldn’t be even and my hubby is tan-phobic so was no help! Haha! Great post x

    • Samantha
      June 8, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Getting a spray tan is easier! I usually get my daughter to do my back but she’s always just painted her nails or something 😩otherwise I have to contort myself and do it myself. I haven’t heard of Tan Truth do they just do the spray tan version or is it available in shops? There’s so many to choose from. I recently tried Bondi sands liquid gold. Pretty good but I’m saving it for my holidays and just use St Moriz day to day. My hubby is tan-Phobic too, he’s got used it it now but was really off about it when we first met 😂xx

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