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4 Tips for Using Self-Tanner If You're Over 50, According to Beauty Experts

Now's the time to fine tune your technique for glowing, sun-kissed (looking) skin.

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There are two common approaches to self-tanner. The first is to apply it meticulously, paying close attention to joints, extremities, and potential streaks. The second is to simply slather it on, with nary a regard for the outcome. And, hey, both get the job done. However, as you enter your sixth decade, you might be interested in using a more finely tuned technique for your faux glow. That's where we come in. Here, we asked a celebrity tanning specialist and a dermatologist for the key ways to apply self-tanner after 50. They run through everything you need to know about choosing a formula and preventing your tanner from settling into fine lines and wrinkles. In other words: people just might think your glow comes from the sun.

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Choose the right product.

Dosing bronzing lotion or tanning cream from a flask with a doser to a pink tan applicator glove
Beauty Stock / Shutterstock

As with your skincare and body care routine, you may want to upgrade your products to achieve a faux glow once you pass 50.

Tarryn Feldman, a Nashville-based celebrity makeup artist who specializes in tanning, says that she prefers the St. Moriz Pro Miracle Tanning Serum for mature skin.

"It blends well and hydrates the skin with hyaluronic acid, which is perfect for maturing skin," Feldman says. "Additionally, a clinical study showed daily use visibly reduced stretch marks and wrinkles, and firms your skin after just two weeks—a great option to bronze the skin while keeping it youthful with the nutrients it needs." To apply the product, you'll also need to pick up a tanning mitt.

And you'll want to switch up your strategy for your face, and use a product designed for the neck and up. Feldman recommends the St. Moriz Radiant Glow Face Mist.

"The buildable formula is great for mature skin and controlling your tan, meaning the more you apply, the more you glow," she explains. "Its non-abrasive formula is gentle on delicate, mature skin and includes aloe vera and vitamin E to soothe, protect, and moisturize." By investing in the right tools, you'll ensure easy, seamless coverage.

Prep properly.

Exfoliation Process for Skin

A flawless faux glow is all about the prep. "Similar reasoning applies to sanding furniture before painting it: if you don't start with a flat surface, the color will penetrate the wood unevenly," says Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist.

This step starts in the shower. "Exfoliate the body completely to eliminate all dead skin cells and leave the skin feeling smooth and silky," says Chacon. You can use an exfoliating scrub or simply wash with a washcloth, she explains. Spend extra time on the areas where your skin is the thickest, such as your elbows, knees, and ankles.

Once you hop out of the shower, hydrate. "Use an oil-free moisturizer over the entire body, paying special attention to dry regions like the hands, elbows, knees, and feet, before applying tan," says Chacon. "This will help prevent the tan from seizing on dry skin and producing a patchy finish."

READ THIS NEXT: The No. 1 Thing You Should Add to Your Skincare Routine After 50.

Start slow.

woman holding blank sunscreen UV protective lotion bottle

You can always add more fake tan, but it's difficult to remove if you apply too much (despite many online "hacks," you'll mostly just have to wait it out).

"I suggest starting light when self-tanning," says Feldman. "After applying, do another coat a few days later or use a tanning daily moisturizer following your self-tanner to make it look as natural as possible."

This suggestion is especially true for those with mature skin. "Applying a thin layer enables you to get equal coverage, particularly on tricky places like the face where lines and wrinkles may develop," says Chacon.

After a few applications with a new product, you'll get a sense of how many layers you should apply and how thick each layer should be for optimal results.

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Remember proper upkeep.

white hand pumping lotion
Shutterstock/Vladimir Gjorgiev

Now that you have an enviable glow, it's time to preserve it. "Make sure to hydrate your skin to upkeep your tan; it helps make the color pop and makes the skin look healthy," says Feldman. "It will also allow your tan to last longer."

If things start to fade or flake, it's time for round two. Most people follow a weekly schedule for re-applying their self-tan. Make it a part of your routine, so you always have that post-PTO glow.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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