How To Self-Tan Your Back (By Yourself)

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Tanning your back is easy when you suntan or use a tanning bed. You simply expose your back to the glorious UV light and you’re done. 

However, when you use a self-tanner, tanning your back is not that easy.

You can’t see what you’re doing. And you’ve got lots of hard-to-reach spots to deal with! Even if you happen to reach everywhere, it can be difficult to apply the self-tanner evenly.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to self-tan your back.

The short answer: get this self-tanner application set  and use it correctly.

Below, we’ll be sharing some tips and tricks so that you can also have an evenly tanned back even if you are using self-tanners.


How To Self-Tan To Your Back

Try to reach every part of your back. Can you reach everywhere? If yes, then good for you! That’s a good start. 

Now try doing a spreading motion over your back. It’s much more difficult, right? That’s because our arms are simply not that long. 

That’s okay! You can still make sure a self-tanner is properly spread over your by following these steps:

1. Get Some Help

The best way to make sure you get even coverage on your back is to get some help from a friend or a family member.

It just takes a few minutes to apply the self-tanner on your back. 

Ask nicely — I’m sure they won’t mind. After all, we also ask for help in applying sunscreen to our backs when we go to the beach. 

But frequently we don’t have anyone around when we need an extra hand to slather self-tanner.

In that case…

2. Get The Right Tools

Tanning Back Applicator

Tanning mitts   are a necessity. They help you spread the product evenly and prevent your hands from getting exposed to too much product. Yeah, you can apply without a mitt, but it’s harder.

The problem with tanning mitts is that they will only be able to reach where your hand reaches.

To tackle your back, you need a back applicator . This is shaped like a long strip with handles at each end. You simply pull on the handles to spread the self-tanner evenly on your back. 

Instead of getting them separately, there are actually kits  that contain multiple applicators and even an exfoliating mitt so you can prepare your skin properly before applying the self-tanner. 

Yvoier Self Tanning Mitt Applicator Kit 4 in 1 Self Applicator Set with Exfoliating Glove,Tan Mitt Applicator, Tanning Back Lotion Applicators for Your Back,Face Mitt for Tanning Lotion, Spray, Mousse
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How to Apply Self-Tanner To Your Back: Other Hacks

The two suggestions above are the best ways to apply self-tanner to your back.

But what if there is no one available to help you, and your applicator hasn’t arrived yet? Are you doomed to have a splotchy, unevenly-tanned back? 

Well, not necessarily.

Here is how you can create your own back applicator:

1. Find A Spatula Or Stick

Go ahead and raid your kitchen. Find a spatula or a stick that you can turn into a handle for your back applicator. It should be sturdy enough that it won’t break as you try to maneuver it to spread the product on your back. 

2. Attach Your Hand Mitt On One End

You just can’t spread the product using the spatula, you need to attach something more absorbent to it so that it soaks the product and spreads it on your back. 

If you already have a hand mitt, you can attach that on the other end using elastics or even some tape.

Just make sure it is secure. 

If you don’t have a hand mitt, you can use an old sock. Some people even use fluffy bedroom slippers because the fabric helps the product spread better. 

3. Spread The Self-Tanner Evenly On The Mitt

Place some of your self-tanner on the mitt and rub it in well. If there is visible excess, you’re more like to wind up with a streaky or splotchy back.

4. Use Your DIY Self-Tanner Applicator

To help you apply the product more evenly, you could stand in front of a big mirror and use it as your guide. In this case, it would be best to use self-tanner with a bronzer like Mystic Tan  (which we reviewed here).

A tanner with bronzers included will help you clearly see which areas of your body already have tanner applied to them. This will act as a guide to help you to see whether the product is properly spread everywhere on your back.

A tanner with bronzers included will help you clearly see which areas of your body already have tanner applied to them. This will act as a guide to help you to see whether the product is properly spread everywhere on your back.

Spread the product as evenly as you can. 

5. Follow-Up With A Mist Formula

Sometimes, even if you try your best to spread the self-tanner evenly, it could still come out poorly blended.

That’s okay! You can use self-tanners in mist formula  to help fix those harsh lines. 

To do that, bend over and spray the product over your back from both sides. Let the mist fall over your back so that it can blend. The goal is to blur the harsh lines that have developed. 

Make sure that you spray the mist at least six inches above your skin.

That helps the mist fall evenly over your back. 

Note: do this from your shower so as to not stain everything with tanner.

Final Thoughts

Self-tanners are a great way to achieve luscious skin without harmful sun exposure. It’s pretty easy to do — just spread the product over your body and face, and wait a while. However, there are hard-to-reach areas like the back that can end up streaky or splotchy if you don’t apply the self-tanner properly.

The easiest way to avoid this is to find someone who can help you apply the product on your back. Alternatively, you can also buy a specific self-tanner applicator for your back. 

If neither of those is an option, create your own applicator. A kitchen spatula combined with a tanning mitt will help you reach those hard-to-reach areas.

Be sure to use a self-tanner with a bronzer, and consider supplementing with a mist formula afterward. This will ensure there are no streaky lines.

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).