Are you about to start using sunless or fake tanner, and wondering if you can leave it on overnight? In this article, I want to talk about some of the things you need to think about immediately after tanning, and why going to bed immediately afterward can either be a good idea or a really bad idea depending on a few factors.
First, just to answer the question very briefly. Leaving fake tan on overnight is alright as long as the self-tanner doesn’t contain too much guide color, which can stain the sheets. Leaving your self-tanner on overnight can help the color fully develop, but try to use a quality sunless tanning mousse without much tint so that it will dry quickly.
Leaving Fake Tan On Overnight – The Basics
Many experts recommend that putting fake tanner on right before is a great idea, since there is plenty of time for the chemical reaction that forms the color on your skin to develop. This is completely true, applying self-tanner right before bed is extremely convenient, and you’ll wake up with a nice tan glow. However, it’s important to apply the right kind of tanner before doing this so you don’t end up streaky, or staining your sheets!
So let’s start by talking about a few of the common self-tanners on the market, and then we’ll talk about which ones are probably best if you plan to tan before hitting the sheets!
The Different Self Tanning Products
First of all, it’s important to mention that all these different kinds of self-tanners can, and probably do, contain some guide color or light tint. This is very helpful, especially for beginners, as it allows you to easily see where you’ve applied the self-tanner, and where you might need to rub it in a bit more.
So if you do plan to self-tan before bed, and want to avoid staining anything, it may be best to get some practice with some guide color before moving on to a tintless tanner.
Also, all of the following tanning types ultimately tan the skin the same way, they just go about it slightly differently.
Ok, now the different types.
Lotions are ideal for people that are new to self-tanning. They tend to take a bit longer to absorb into the skin, so you have more time to spread it out evenly and fix any mistakes you may have made.
My favorite example of tanning lotion is the Beauty By Earth Organic Self Tanner that you can purchase on Amazon, or you can read my full review here. In fact, Beauty By Earth is the self-tanner I’m basically using exclusively now if you haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor.
Mousses are probably my favorite, and likely are yours as well if you’ve been self-tanning for a while. These typically have a higher alcohol content that allows them to dry faster. With a fake tanning mousse, you can easily cover your entire body quite quickly and achieve a streak-free shine.
This is why Mousses are probably the best option as far as applying self-tanner right before bed. They will dry quickly, and often don’t contain too much guide color or tint.
My absolute favorite Self-tanning mousse (and favorite self-tanner overall) has to be the St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse that you can pick up for fairly cheap on Amazon.
Gels are ideally suited for people with normal, or slightly oily skin. They tent to spread extremely well, allowing you to use less self-tanner and achieve more coverage.
Sunless tanning gels are far less common then lotions or mousses, but you will still see them occasionally. A good example of a self-tanning gel would be Clarins Instant Self Tanning Gel.
Finally, there are pre-soaked pads that you can get. These are ideal for travel, or if you’re just on the go. Think of them sort of like make-up pads that have been pre-loaded with self-tanner. There is typically enough on the pad for a full body application. You do want to make sure that you are thorough with these pads, as it can be easy to not rub them in enough and end up with a streaky tan.
Tips For Sleeping With Your Fake Tanner On
Fake tan, self-tanner, sunless tanner, whatever you call it, they are all a bit different from a spray tan. However, when it comes to going to sleep immediately after, the tips are relatively the same.
Avoid Skin-to-Skin Contact
Self-tanner contains a chemical called DHA, that reacts with dead skin cells and this reaction darkens the outer layer of your skin. If you just put fresh self-tanner on, it’s important to try and not let your skin be pressed together while you sleep, or some of this chemical may transfer and you could end up with blotches of darker color.
So a good rule of thumb when you’re sleeping in fake tan is to not fall asleep with skin to skin contact. A great example of this is that some people like to sleep with one or both hands between their knees. If you tend to do this, try sleeping in loose pajamas, or place socks on your hands to prevent blotching.
Let Your Self-Tanner Fully Dry
Try to give your newly applied self-tanner enough time to completely dry before bed. Not only will this prevent much tint from transferring to your sheets, but it will also prevent smearing of the lotion or gel that could cause streaks or blotchiness.
Sunless tanning mousses dry the fastest, however, any self-tanner will work as long as you give it enough time to fully dry.
Moisturize When You Wake Up
If you read my article on Moisturizing Before You Apply Fake Tan, then you already know what an important step moisturizing plays in the fake tan process. Keeping your skin well hydrated allows the self-tan to apply more evenly, fade more consistently, and last longer.
So after you’ve gone to bed with your sunless tanner on, be sure to apply a good oil-free moisturizer in the morning. Hydrated skin sheds slower, which will allow the tan to last longer, and your skin to look even better.
Ultimately sleeping with your fake tanner on can be a great way to get some great color, without having to wear it all day. Just be sure you use the right kind of self-tanner, and remember the steps I talked about above.