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How to Self Tan Hands in 4 Easy Steps [Beginner’s Guide]

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
How to Self-Tan Hands in 4 Easy Steps [Beginner_s Guide]

A good self-tanner and self-tanning mitt or brush can help your skin achieve a glowing tan if appropriately used.

Yet, you always look at the effects on your face, feet, and the rest of your body… except your hands.

When in reality, streaky, dark, orangey, and patchy tanned hands will ruin your overall natural-looking summer glow.

So, team up with us because we will get you going as we teach you how to self-tan hands in 4 easy steps!

How to Self-Tan Hands: 4 Quick & Easy Steps

You don’t need to worry about prolonged and detailed steps in getting that tanning glow for your hands because we compressed it into four quick and easy steps.

These steps will help you veer from looking like you have a fake tan and instead have a natural-looking glow.

Nevertheless, following these steps, tricks, and tips can still yield the same results as the lengthy tanning processes.

Step 1: Clean and Exfoliate Dead Skin Cells

Cleaning and exfoliating your face, hands, feet, and body parts are essential for you to avoid orangey and patchy skin when applying fake tan.

To start, clean your skin to ensure a spotless canvas for your self-tan.

You can use a self-tan eraser (like Bondi Sands) or tan remover to remove every leftover product on your skin. After that, exfoliate.

In exfoliating, you can use a scrub or any exfoliator you have been accustomed to for as long as it removes dead skin cells.

Some tips for you; if you do not want harsh chemicals on your skin, you can use homemade exfoliators such as:

  • Baking powder, water, and lemon combination
  • Toothpaste

Step 2: Moisturize

Use a hydrating moisturizer to moisturize your face, hands, legs, and feet.

You can use aloe vera-based moisturizers at least 24 hours before you apply your self-tanner.

AVOID using oil-based moisturizers as they may affect the development and longevity of your tan.

A moisturizer guarantees an even tan because tanning products will not get stuck on tricky body parts like knuckles.

However, AVOID moisturizing and self-tanning on the same day, as it may give you streaks and patches.

Step 3: Apply Self-Tanner

After preliminary preparations, you can now apply self-tanner.

Always remember to use self-tanning products such as gradual tanning lotion and tanning drops in cool and dry places.

Through this, you can avoid sweating when applying self-tanner to tan your hands. You can also assure that your tan can fully develop and blend well.

Yet, if you live in a humid place, use self-tanning products that dry faster. One of these is self-tan mousse.

You can apply a self-tanner on your face, body, and feet according to its packaging instructions.

However, for your hands, you can follow this process:

  • Remove any jewelry on your hands
  • Apply self-tanner to your hands, especially those that are constantly exposed to the sun (only use the excess product from the mitt you used)
  • Rub, in circular motions, the product to your fingers (tips, in-between, and sides of fingers)
  • Go over your knuckles and palms, then rub
  • Even it out

Step 4: Finishing Touches for Your Fake Tan

Once you are finished and satisfied with your application, you can straight up do the finishing touches to assure a flawless application of your self-tanner.

  • Using a damp cloth with soap, lightly wipe your cuticles and nails
  • Gently wipe and clean excess product on your palms and each finger
  • Apply lotion or a small amount of moisturizer using your mitt or brush on dry areas such as the wrists to avoid harsh lines
  • Blend and buff your tan

How to Fix Bad Tan on Your Hands

If you are not satisfied with how you applied self-tanner because of harsh lines, orange tones, and streaks, here are tips that can help you retouch or re-do your self-tan on your hands.

  1. Your hands getting lighter faster than other body parts is natural because of handwashing and frequent trips to the shower room.
    • Try applying a gradual tanning product to make it even with the rest of your body. You can also do this for visible uneven patches.
  2. If you don’t want to apply more products, you can remove your tan through a tan remover mousse with a remover mitt or brush.
    • After a few minutes, lightly wipe the product. Then, re-apply self-tanner.
  3. You can also use an exfoliator, baby oil, or makeup wipe to eliminate leftover products, streaks, dark spots, and unnatural tones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying tan is never easy, especially for beginners.

To complete your tanning experience, we have some questions and answers for you to self-tan your hands confidently!

How Long Should I Leave Self-Tanner on My Hands?

It will depend on what product you will use.

Some self-tan products require an hour or more before you can put on clothes or get your hands wet.

However, you can leave the self-tanner on your hands for 10 minutes. After making sure that it is dry, you can already wear clothes or do handwashing.

For faster drying, you can use a hairdryer. Ensure it is not hot as it may damage your hands or skin’s tan.

Should I Wash My Hands After Self-Tanning?

You can wash your palms using a damp cloth to avoid orange streaks but avoid scrubbing the other parts of your hands right after tanning.

If you soak it in water immediately, the water will remove your fake tan, or you will have underdeveloped tan hands with streaks and lines.


To have a natural-looking glow from a fake tan, self-tan your hands properly using the mentioned steps and tricks in this article.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Clean and exfoliate your skin using Bondi Sands self-tan eraser or other self-tan removers
  2. Moisturize your hands 24 hours before tanning using aloe-vera-based products
  3. Apply your self-tanner on your fingers, knuckles, and wrists with a mitt and brush in circular motions
  4. Do finishing touches for golden glowing hands and body

Follow these steps on how to self-tan hands, and get ready to show off that beautiful even tan in no time!