Do Self-Tanners Wash Off? How to get long lasting self tan results.

Do Self-Tanners Wash Off? How to get long lasting self tan results.

Who doesn’t want sun-kissed skin that looks like you just got back from a week at the beach? We love that bronzy glow, but know that exposure to the sun is harmful to our skin. Thankfully, self-tanners make it easy to get tan skin without damaging UV rays, but there’s still a lot to know in order to achieve long-lasting results. For example, do self-tanners wash off?

Do self-tanners wash off?

Self-tanners are designed to give you the appearance of a tan without the burn from the sun or a tanning bed. The main active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. DHA is a color additive that reacts with dead cells on the surface layer of your skin to temporarily darken the skin, creating the appearance of a tan.[i] The color doesn’t so much wash off as it does fade away: after a few days, the color will wear off as your body sheds the dead skin cells.

The only time you really have to be careful about self-tanner washing off is immediately following application. It’s important to give the color about 6 to 8 hours to develop without taking a shower or sweating. Washing your skin too quickly after applying self-tanner can cause some of the product to wash off, creating streaks and uneven areas.

How to apply self-tanner for long-lasting color

The key to a long-lasting tan that’s free of streaks and splotches is proper application.

Prep your skin

Before you apply self-tanner, it’s important to create a smooth canvas. To do so, exfoliate your skin the night before your tan, or at least 4 to 6 hours before you plan to apply your self-tanner. Exfoliating scrubs away dead skin cells to reveal soft, smooth skin, allowing the self-tanner to better absorb into your skin and creating an even tan.

For the best exfoliation results, we recommend our Infinity Body Polisher exfoliating cloth. Its patented loop design offers 360 degrees of exfoliation, so you can achieve smooth skin in even the hardest to reach areas.

Apply the self-tanner

Once your skin is nice and smooth, you’re ready to apply the self-tanner. The exact application method will differ slightly depending on the type of product you’re using, so be sure to read the provided instructions. For most products, you’ll want to apply the self-tanner evenly over your skin while being careful not to use too much product on your elbows, knees and ankles. These areas of the body tend to be dryer than other spots and absorb self-tanner more quickly. If you’re using your bare hands to apply the self-tanner, be sure to wash them when you’re done.

If you’re using CLEANTAN black tea tanning drops, you can also get a tan that’s just right for you by using the right amount of product for your desired shade. For a darker tan, use more drops, and for a lighter tan, use fewer drops. Simply mix the tanning drops with the lotion, cream or serum of your choice and evenly apply to your skin.

Let the color develop

How long does self-tanner take to dry? After you’ve applied your self-tanner, let the color develop and darken for about 6 to 8 hours. During this time frame, avoid showering and sweaty activities to prevent the self-tanner from washing off, as this can cause streaks and uneven color. While lotion is great to use on a daily basis, you’ll want to avoid putting lotion on immediately after applying self-tanner.

Repeat as needed

How long does self-tanner last? Tans achieved using self-tanner will begin to fade after a few days. This is normal, as your skin is shedding dead skin cells. When you notice your tan isn’t as dark as you would like it, feel free to reapply your self-tanner. If you’re using CLEANTAN, we recommend adding a few drops to your moisturizer on a regular basis for a gradual tan, and applying to moisturized skin every 4 to 7 days for a dark tan.

How to shower after a fake tan

Considering taking a shower right after applying self-tanner? Not so fast! Don’t forget, giving your tan 6 to 8 hours for the color to develop is crucial to getting a gorgeous tan. Showering after self-tanner can cause streaks.

Can you use a loofah after self-tanner?

Loofahs are designed to exfoliate your skin, meaning they’ll slough away dead skin cells. Using loofahs too soon after applying self-tanner can cause some of the self-tanner to scrub off. However, if you’re looking to get rid of remnants of an old tan, exfoliating can be helpful.

How to wash off self-tanner

Wondering how to wash off a fake tan? If you realize you made some mistakes during self-tanner application and now have excessively tan cuticles, hands or feet, don’t fret! To wash off unwanted self-tanner, use a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice to remove or buff away the color. If your overall tan is darker than you intended, simply allow a few days to pass and the color will begin to fade.


CLEANTAN black tea tanning drops are a concentrated form of self-tanner. Using clean ingredients and plant-based pigments, CLEANTAN provides a golden, natural-looking tan. Our formula is 100% vegan, cruelty free, and made without parabens, synthetic fragrances, silicone, gluten, and dyes.

Plant-based pigments

CLEANTAN is free from synthetic dyes found in other self-tanners and instead uses a combination of premium natural colorants to provide amazing results. Ingredients include extracts from cocoa powder, caramel, blue green algae, and beetroot, plus ecocert DHA (a natural beet sugar used as a tanning agent) and squalane (an olive oil-derived moisturizer). The result is a formula you can feel good about and a shade of tan you’ll love.

TEATAN Complex

CLEANTAN’s formula is rich in antioxidants thanks to the TEATAN Complex, a combination of teas that contribute to a youthful appearance. The complex includes green, black, white, rooibos, and matcha green teas, along with gotu kola (an antioxidant and collagen booster), erythrulose (natural raspberry sugar and a tanning booster), and cardamom seed oil.

Click here to learn more about CLEANTAN and how to get a better tan.

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