How to Achieve a Sun-Kissed Summer Tan at Home, According to an Expert


Basking in the beauty of summer means showcasing a little more skin, and the idea of an evenly tanned and glistening silhouette goes hand in hand with summer soirées. But while tans are traditionally achieved by spending time in the sun, it’s better not to risk the damage and possible consequences, instead opting to wear SPF, avoid all tanning beds, and choose a faux variety of tan instead, whether you head to a salon or do it at home.

Celebrity tanning expert Amanda Harrington—whose clients include Jennifer Aniston, Dua Lipa, and Blake Lively—has mastered the art of self-tan for all skin tones. Her signature technique, the Italian Shoulder, can immediately elevate your look. “Strength, power, and elegance combined on your top line, contoured shoulders, and décolleté frames summer styles or bridal wear perfectly, giving skin a radiant, contoured, and defined finish,” Harrington explains. Ahead, read her step-by-step guide on achieving the Italian Shoulder and tips for your best summer tan.

Meet the Expert

Amanda Harrington is a sunless tanning expert with celebrity clients in Hollywood, London, and more. She has developed several now-famous tanning techniques as well as started her own brand, Amanda Harrington London, which offers a range of products that help you to create a more customizable tan.

How to Achieve the Italian Shoulder Tanning Technique

  1. Starting on the outside line of your neck, buff and blend the Bronzing Body Mousse ($50) down your neck and onto the tips of your shoulders. When using the body mousse with a small body brush, blend in circular motions around the points of your shoulders to deepen the shadow.
  2. Next, add extra depth to your arms and décolletage for a truly sculpted form. Just like with contouring and highlighting the face, focus on bringing light forward and creating strategic shadow to result in a sharper structure.
  3. Gently hunch your shoulders forward (so that your collarbones are pronounced) and buff the body mousse around your collar bones using the small body brush for a contoured, streak-free finish.
  4. In soft, circular motions, apply the Bronzing Body Mousse ($50) in the center of your chest and buff it into your skin so your décolleté pops.
  5. Bring the tan down your “outside line”—the area of your arm furthest away from your torso—down past your elbows and forearms, all the way to your fingertips.

For sculpted biceps, buff the Bronzing Body Mousse ($50) around the muscle to add definition to your triceps. Repeat this on the back of your arm until complete.

How to Avoid Staining Your Clothes

If your tan often transfers to your clothes, it likely means you’ve used too much product. “This is why our brush application method is so great,” Harrington notes. “It allows you to drive product into the skin, so you have less transfer and are using less product. [It also allows] you to be more precise with your application and buff the color into your skin.”

It’s also important to note that chlorine, alcohol-based products, and excess sweating can cause your tan to shift around on the skin, meaning it will likely transfer to your clothes anyway if you’re engaging with any of these. However, you can still minimize this with a precise method like the Italian Shoulder, and self-tanning stains don’t necessarily stay permanently. “Because our approach is layering lightly and driving product into the skin for an even and natural finish, this should not happen,” Harrington explains. “Most tan guide colors lift off in a 30-degree wash and do not stain clothes long term, if they happen to rub onto fabrics and sheets.”

How to Elongate Your Tan

What can you do to make your tan last longer? Thoroughly prep and moisturize your skin. “Aloe vera, almond, and shea butter-enriched body formulas ensure that your skin is hydrated and nourished as you maintain your tan,” Harrington says. “Always be sure to avoid using oil-based products or retinol when tanning.” 

Harrington recommends using her namesake brand’s Ultimate Body Miracle Moisture Cream ($37). “It is packed with hyaluronic acid plus vitamin E to plump and nurture skin—this should be your go-to hydration solution, with or without a tan,” she says.

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