What Can I Use Instead of a Tanning Mitt?

What Can I Use Instead of a Tanning Mitt

What can I use instead of a tanning mitt? The sun cannot be out and warm all year round. For those cold months where the sun’s UV rays are not providing us with a gorgeous glow, many people opt to create that glow themselves using a self-tanner. 

Self-tanner can come in many forms such as a spray, liquid, lotion, or mousse. However, not all self-tanner looks natural. Self-tanner can often cause streaks of orange on our skin from being blended improperly during use. This will make your fake tan look unnatural, blotchy, or the wrong color from product buildup. 

Many people who use self-tanners prefer to use a tanning mitt to apply the product, which prevents uneven application. This will help solve the issues of blotchiness or tan lines.

Yvoier Self Tanning Mitt Applicator Elastic Wrist Tanning Mitts Self Tanner Mitt Applicator Tanning Glove Self Tan Mitt Applicator Self Tanner Glove Sunless Tanning Mitt
Source: Amazon

Tanning mitts are shaped similar to an oven mitt but are designed with a soft and porous cloth, almost like velvet. These mitts are very popular and can be purchased from different brands for anywhere between $2 and $15

Tanning mitts do not have to be expensive to work efficiently. Cheaper tanning mitts should work just as well, as the biggest factor in the quality of your fake tan will be dependant on the brand of tanner used. 

To use a tanning mitt, you simply apply the self-tanner in small amounts to either the mitt or directly on the skin. Then, apply it to your skin with the mitt as if you were applying lotion.

Make sure you cover all areas that you want the tan to cover and try to rub it in as evenly as possible, being extra careful around your body’s natural creases like ankles and behind the knees. 

If you do not have one of these tanning mitts handy but want to self-tan, don’t worry! There are quite a few alternatives you can choose from to get you similar and evenly-blended results.

What to Use Instead of a Tanning Mitt

The most important part of self-tanning is ensuring the tanner is applied evenly. This is when a tanning mitt comes in handy. If you do not have a tanning mitt handy, you have quite a few options to use as substitutions. 

1. Rubber Glove

100 Pcs Disposable Gloves Medium, Black Gloves
Source: Amazon

One alternative for a tanning mitt is a rubber glove. If you’ve ever seen a silicone pad used to apply face makeup, then you have an idea of how a rubber glove will apply a fake tanner. Unlike a tanning mitt, a rubber glove will not absorb any product since rubber is not a porous material. This method works the same way as a rubber foundation blender by gently rubbing the product across the skin smoothly until it blends into the skin. 

Essentially, the smooth and non-porous surface of the glove will help spread the tan evenly on the skin. This method may take longer but promotes the least amount of product waste since the glove will not absorb any product.

2. Sock

Pack of 5 Womens Winter Socks Warm Thick Knit Wool Soft Vintage Casual Crew Socks Gifts,Multicolor 021a
Source: Amazon

Another method to apply a self-tanner without a tanning mitt is by using a sock. For this method, a fuzzy sock may work best since the fabric will be delicate on the skin. 

This is a simple household product that you can use as opposed to a tanning mitt. Socks can be worn over the hands similar to a mitt or glove, which gives you more control over where you are spreading the product.

Both cotton and fuzzy socks will work well for this method and be gentler on the skin than a rubber glove. The one downside of using a sock to self-tan is that the sock’s fabric will absorb a lot of the tanning lotion. 

To utilize this method you will need to apply the sock over your hand like a glove. Then, you will simply spread the product over your skin until it is blended in. Socks may absorb more product than a tanning mitt so be careful when removing the sock and use small amounts of product at a time.

3. Your Hands

One last way to apply tanner without a tanning mitt is by hand but this is the least recommended method of tanning without using a mitt. We have the most control over our bare hands so we can make sure we are applying an even amount of product all over.

The downside to this method is that it may cause the product to stain or tan your hands in an unnatural way and the heat of your bare hand may cause the tanner to apply unevenly. First of all, the skin on your hands will absorb the lotion which will, in turn, cause your palms to have an uneven and orang appearance since they will be covered in tanner the whole length of application.

In addition, the warm temperature of your hand against your skin can cause the tanner’s appearance to change color or apply unevenly.  If you choose to use this method, remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterward so they do not end up darker than the rest of your tan. 

How to Apply Self Tanner Without Using a Mitt

If you are applying self-tanner without a mitt, you can choose any of the application options discussed above including using a sock, rubber glove, or your bare hands. When using any of these application methods it is important to try and spread the tanning product as evenly as possible throughout the skin, being extra careful around creases like your ankles and the back of your knees.

For these areas that bend, you may want to apply slightly less product as it may appear more orange simply from the movement of your body. You also want to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after these methods, especially the bare hands method.

Lastly, be sure to clean your products after. For socks, you should rinse them as much as possible in the sink to make sure no fake tan comes out in the wash. Do not wear the socks on your feet until washed as excess tanner could still dye your feet. 

Can You Tan Without a Mitt?

You can tan without a tanning mitt! Tanning mitts can be substituted by socks, rubber gloves, or your bare hands. You can even use a dry washcloth if necessary. For all of these methods, make sure to try to apply the product as evenly as possible and blend it into the skin as much as possible. 

What Can I Use as Alternatives to a Tanning Mitt?

Tanning mitts are arguable the best way to apply self-tanner for a blended and even finish. However, if you do not have a mitt handy you can use other household products like a rubber glove, a sock, or your bare hands. Refer to the rest of this article for tips on how to apply self-tanner with these other products.


Self-tanning is an efficient way to keep your summertime glow all year round. The most important part of self-tanning is making sure the tan applies evenly to your skin. While a tanning mitt is the most popular applicator for this, other household products like socks, rubber gloves, and your bare hands will work just fine! 

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