Applying a self-tanner can be a bit of a hassle. You have to make sure you're covered evenly and then wait for it to dry before getting dressed.

It's hard enough to find the time to apply self-tanner, but then you have to wait around for it to dry. That's just added stress that you don't need.

Our guide will help you apply your self-tanner quickly and streak-free. Plus, our guide includes tips on how to make your self-tan last longer.

What is A Self-Tanner

Self-tanners are cosmetics containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which interacts with dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, causing them to darken.

DHA does not provide UV protection like sunscreen does; therefore, it can’t be used as a replacement for sunscreen or any other product to remove dead skin cells. Self-tanners come in a variety of packaging like spray tan or mousse.

The effects of DHA will last up to seven days and may need to be reapplied several days later if you want the darker look maintained.

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Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam

Get the perfect sun-kissed tan with Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam. This amazing foam is enriched with aloe vera and a natural coconut scent that is sure to leave your skin feeling dazzling. Best of all, it's lightweight and perfect for those who have an olive complexion or those who want a darker glow. Now you can achieve the ideal beachy look without having to spend time in the sun. Get ready to turn heads with 14 days of golden glow from Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam.

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How Long Does Self-Tanner Take to Dry

The time it takes for your leftover self tanner to dry will depend on the type and brand you're using. In general, most self-tanners will take between 10 minutes and an hour or more to dry fully. Some formulas contain ingredients that help them dry quickly, while others may take longer.

Your application process will also play a role in how long it takes for your self-tanner to dry. If you apply too thickly or unevenly, then the drying process can take longer than normal.

It's always best to start with a small amount and build up until you reach your desired shade. This will help ensure that your self-tanner dries evenly and quickly.

Once your self-tanner has been applied, you should wait between 10 to 15 minutes before putting on loose clothing.

This will help ensure that the product doesn't transfer onto your clothes or bedding as it's drying. After an hour, your self-tanner should be completely dry, and you can dress as normal

Tips For Making Sure Your Self Tanner Dries Properly

Tips For Making Sure Your Self Tanner Dries Properly

In the summer months, many people use self-tanners to achieve a beautiful sun-kissed glow.

But when you apply self-tanner, it can be difficult to know how long you should wait until you can get dressed and go about your day without worrying about staining your clothes or sheets.

To make sure your self-tanning products dry properly and won’t leave streaks or marks on your clothes, here are some tips for ensuring it dries properly.

Prepare Before Applying Self Tanner

Before you apply self-tanner, there are a few things you should do to ensure it will dry properly.

First, exfoliate your skin using a gentle scrub or loofah. This will help remove any dead skin cells and create an even surface for the self-tanning product to adhere better.

Make sure to rinse off all of the exfoliants before applying the self-tanner so that it does not interfere with the drying process.

Another important step before applying the self-tanner is to moisturize your skin with an oil-free lotion or cream.

This will help keep your skin hydrated while the self-tanner is drying and will also help prevent any streaking caused by uneven application of the product. Once you’ve prepped your skin, you’re ready to apply the self-tanner.

Application Tips for Self Tanners

Application Tips for Self Tanners

When applying a self-tanning lotion, always use a good-quality tanning mitt or glove designed specifically for this purpose so that your hands don’t get stained while applying.

Also, start at the bottom of each limb and work up toward the center of your body in circular motions for even coverage and no streaks.

When finished, let the product dry completely before getting dressed - usually around 10 - 20 minutes - and avoid touching any areas where you have applied it until it has fully dried in order to prevent smudging or transferring onto clothing.

Drying Tips for Self Tanners

For best results when drying a self-tanned area, try not to move too much, as this may cause streaking or unevenness in tone.

Instead, remain still if possible and allow yourself time for proper absorption into the skin, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on what type of formula you are using (spray-on vs. lotion).

You can also use a hair dryer set on low heat setting to speed up drying time if needed; however, just remember to keep it at least 6 inches away from your body so as not to burn yourself.

Using Fans and Deodorants To Help Dry A Self-Tan Faster

If you need help with speeding up drying time post-self-tanning session, then using fans is definitely something worth trying out.

Use a regular fan set on low speed aimed directly at freshly tanned areas so that air circulates through them, which helps evaporate excess moisture quicker than normal, allowing faster drying times overall - usually within 5 minutes max.

Additionally, another useful tool is deodorant-containing alcohol, as this accelerates evaporation and results in faster drying times, too - just make sure not to rub it into freshly tanned areas, as doing so could cause streaky patches.

Avoiding Streaks After Applying A Self Tan

After completing a successful application of self-tanners or tanning mousse, there are certain precautions one should take in order to avoid streaks appearing afterward.

Firstly, never shower immediately after application; secondly, avoid wearing tight clothing too soon after treatment (allow at least 24 hours); thirdly, use blotting paper/sheets which are specifically designed for absorbing moisture from freshly tanned areas.

Finally, moisturize regularly with an oil-free lotion/cream afterward in order to maintain the evenness of color and prevent fading over time.

Taking these steps can ensure that streaks won’t appear when finishing up with your perfect sunless glow.

How Long Does Self Tanner Take to Dry - FAQs

Since you know how long it takes for a self-tanner to dry completely, you might have some other questions in mind.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about self-tanners that you can refer to for more information:

How long will a self-tanning product last?

Typically, a good quality self-tanner can last anywhere from 5 - 14 days, depending on the formula and how well it is maintained.

What should I do if my self-tanner streaks or turns orange?

If this happens, it could mean that there was too much product used in one area. To fix this, use a clean damp cloth to gently wipe away any excess so that the color evens out again.

Additionally, you can use a makeup remover with aloe vera to help lighten the fake tan in any areas that are too dark.

What should I do after applying for self-tanner?

After application, it is important to allow the product time to dry completely before getting dressed.

Additionally, you should also wear loose clothing and avoid contact with water or sweat for at least 4 - 6 hours after application. This will help ensure that the tan has set in without making the skin wet.

Is self-tanner safe to use?

Yes, as long as you are using a product specifically designed for self-tanners and following directions carefully, it is generally considered safe.


On average, it should take anywhere between 10 - 20 minutes, depending on the type of formula you are using.

Additionally, when applying, make sure to keep still and give yourself time for proper absorption into the skin or use a fan or deodorant containing alcohol to speed up drying time.

Moreover, when finished, avoid showering for at least 4-6 hours and wear loose clothing to prevent any streaks from appearing. All of these precautions can help ensure that your sunless deeper tan will last longer and look great.

Hopefully, this article was helpful in answering the question, “How long does self-tanner take to dry?”

Please remember to always use caution when self-tanning using one of the spray tans and follow all safety instructions carefully. If you have used the self tanner before, feel free to share your experience with us in the comments below.


  1. Picincu, A. (2023, April 13). Are Self-Tanners Actually Safe For Your Skin? The List.
  2. PubMed. (2023). Properties and safety of topical dihydroxyacetone in sunless tanning products: A review.

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Author Mizzy

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.