My Self Tanning Routine - Mika Perry

My Self Tanning Routine


Back in my 20’s I could not get enough of laying out by the pool and using tanning beds. Completely guilty. Now that I’m in my mid-30’s of course all that sun damage showed up and I FOR SURE now take sun protection seriously. Reversing sun damage is a painstakingly long and in many cases costly process!

With that all being said, I still do love a good tan. I don’t know about you but when I have a tan, I feel like I just look better. And more fit. Everything is just better with a tan.

Can’t tone it? Tan it. Is my motto.

So I maintain a (very fake) tan year-round. People actually think I am naturally this dark but it’s always, always, fake self tanner. My natural skin tone is actually very light!


S C H E D U L E  I T :

Self-tanning is part of my weekly beauty routine. I actually have “self-care night” scheduled as a recurring event twice a week on my Google calendar where I do things like masks and tanner (masks on Sundays and tanner on Tuesdays and Thursdays to be specific.)

I literally schedule tanning into my life.

This might sound absolutely crazy but it’s how I manage to remember to do these things – otherwise I will skip it or forget. Routines are everything.


T H E  B E S T  T A N N E R  :

I have tried every single kind of self tanner out there – every bottle, lotion, spray, airbrushing applications, etc. From high-end San Tropez to the CVS generic kind, I literally have used them all. This past year I found THE holy grail of self tanner.

Meet The Water by Tan-Luxe.

It solves every self-tanner problem. Let me tell you everything.

  • It’s CLEAR, so it doesn’t stain sheets or clothes.
  • It smells AMAZING going on. Like I actually wish it came in a perfume or regular lotion because it smells that good. I would totally buy it.
  • It doesn’t develop into that gross fake tanner smell. You know what I mean.
  • It’s not an aerosol spray, so there are no fumes
  • Despite it being a pump-type spray, the mist is fine and comes out evenly.
  • It doesn’t streak.
  • The tan lasts a few days and fades evenly.
  • The color is not orange and not dark brown, it’s just right. (I use the medium/dark shade.)
  • The bottle itself lasts a month for me. Worth every penny.

It really is the best self tanner. Tan-Luxe did not send me any products or pay me to say this. I found this product on my own and I just literally love it.

Even if you don’t use this actual tanner, what I’ve found is the key to a good, even tan are 1) consistency and 2) the steps below. Even if you choose another self-tanner product, I think you can apply these tips below for a good result for your tan.



H O W  I  S E L F – T A N :

  1. Shower and exfoliate. I use a manual exfoliation rather than a chemical or beaded exfoliation so that I don’t have any residual stuff on my skin and have truly clean and bare skin for even application. I use this exfoliating cloth.
  2. After I dry off, I go back into the shower and apply my tanner. This way the tanner doesn’t get on the your bathroom floor and then on the bottom of your feet as you walk around. If you’ve ever ended up with tan bottoms of your feet you know what I am talking about. Now it will just wash away with your next shower (or you can quickly rinse it away right there if you have one of those extending shower heads.)
  3. Stay away from hands and feet. Those will come later.
  4. I start with my left arm and spray a few sprays on the forearms in a sweeping motion, then the upper arm, then lift my arm to do the underside. Then I go over to the right arm, the chest, and then torso and back. Then I move onto legs. Though it’s a clear spray, I can see where it hits and gets shiny or wet.  I love sprays because you can reach the back!
  5. After I’ve finished spraying it all over, I look around to see where it has already dried up. I then go over AGAIN with a second layer. I don’t want to over saturate so it drips, but I do like to go over again. Because I like to be really dark.
  6. Then I step out and wash my hands because no one needs tan palms or fingers, and the spray WILL get concentrated around your fingers where you have been pressing the pump. So definitely wash your hands.
  7. By now, the tan has already dried which is awesome so I just put on my regular PJ’s.
  8. To tan my hands, I use a rounded foundation brush I use exclusively for this and spray onto the hands and then blend the tanner with the makeup brush. This ensures an even tan on the hands and blends the forearm and hands so there’s no visible line where the tan starts and ends. I guess you could use a tanning mitt, too.
  9. For my feet, I have found that the extra spray that falls down from spraying my body is enough to tan them. If I feel like I need it, I’ll do the same as my hands to the tops of my feet and especially here, make sure to blend.
  10. I don’t use self-tanner on my face since my esthetician says it can be an acne trigger. I also have worked with her to reduce melasma and hyperpigmentation, and self-tanner can make that worse. Instead, I use this tinted moisturizer that adds a little color and protection on the daily!

On days where I have a special event that night, or missed my tanning sesh the night before for whatever reason, or feel like I need a little extra boost, I can use The Water in the morning too without any problems (doesn’t smell weird throughout the day, doesn’t affect clothes.) This tanner actually develops faster than normal tanners so it’s great in a pinch. I just make sure I start with clean, showered skin. Just a quick hop in before getting ready or after a workout and before getting dressed for the day and then I follow the steps above.

It sounds like it’s time-consuming, but that’s because I’ve really detailed it for you. Once you go through the above motions I think you’ll find that it’s actually pretty simple.


K E Y  T I P S :

  • Schedule your tanning. Just like your haircuts, your nails, and even your workouts, if you want to have the best results, keep it consistent. Pick a day or two in your week that you set aside for self care like this and I promise you will actually start to look forward to it. Your tan will look better and fade more evenly.
  • Exfoliate. Makes sense, right?
  • The color of the tanner does not tan you – it’s the ingredient DHA (dihydroxyacetone.) I’m no scientist but the bronzer part of the tanner does not actually tan you it’s the DHA that chemically makes your skin darker. If you want a quick glow and like to have the guidance that a bronzer offers when applying (so you can see where you’ve hit and you haven’t) then I get tanners with bronzer. But for me, that brown color just gets onto sheets, clothes, and towels and I just don’t like the mess. Clear tanners for me, please.
  • Tan in the shower so it doesn’t get all over your bathroom.
  • Use a foundation or kabuki brush to apply and blend on tops of hands and feet.


Ever since I shared Tan-Luxe’s The Water on Instagram, I have had several people ask about it, buy it, and then come back with the report that they LOVED it. Highly recommend.

Happy tanning,




S H O P  T H E  P O S T

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5 Responses
  • Jessica
    February 18, 2018

    Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I’ve been wanting to try this product!

  • Julia
    September 6, 2018

    Do you ever use self tanner on your face? Or do you prefer to use makeup to match your self tan?

    Thanks for this helpful post! Looking forward to trying your recommendations.

  • Ashley
    June 7, 2019

    I have the tan luxe mousse and face drops, but the spray sounds much more simple! After you spray on your body, do you rub it in with a mitt or just leave to dry? 🙂 thank you!

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