6 Tips to Tan Your Legs Fast for That Golden Glow

“Just how do I tan my legs fast?” is such a legit question.

Like.. why do my legs take so long to get their golden glow, or why does the rest of my body tan faster than my hooves?

Trust me, we’ve all been there and banged our heads on the wall looking for the answer.

But, seek, and it shall be found; the answer now awaits you, dear readers, as you soak up the sun and walk out looking like bronze Goddesses (and Gods!)  

CHECK: 5 Best Tanning Bed Lotions

Why Won’t My Legs Tan?

Too often, we’ve walked out of the tanning salon with torsos that have darker skin than our legs. And this has happened even when getting our tans under natural sunlight.

But, after relentless researching and experimentation, we now know why legs tan slower than the rest of your body. Prepare to enrich your knowledge as we reveal leg tanning secrets. 

Less Melanin Production

As Medline explains, “Darker areas of skin (or an area that tans more easily) occur when you have more melanin or overactive melanocytes.”

So, it stands to reason that if you have LESS melanin in a specific part of your body, it will tan slower.

Now, I’ve seen countless “how do I tan my legs faster” articles that all say the same thing: legs naturally produce less melanin.

That’s not actually true, at least not for ALL legs. However, it’s possible that YOUR legs are hypopigmented (lacking melanin).

If that’s the case, then yes, your legs will tan more slowly than the rest of your body.

READ MORE: How Much Are Tanning Bed Bulbs?

Legs Have Thicker Skin

The reason your legs don’t readily get that amazing skin tone than the rest of your body is that leg skin is thicker.

No matter what methods of tanning you adopt, it is harder for the sunlight or gradual tanning lotion to penetrate into the layer of skin. 

Wondering a tanning lotion can help? Watch this video below

Skin is Drier in the Legs

As if having thick skin weren’t enough, our legs also have dry skin and a lot of dead skin due to the lack of exfoliation.

Tans usually stick better to hydrated and soft skin, which is another reason why it sticks better to other parts of your body. 

You Remove Leg Hair After the Tanning Process

If only we had hairless, smooth skin every day with no hassle. (Sigh!) But the truth is, hair removal from legs is a significant factor in how long our tan stays.

Regardless of hair removal methods, doing so can deter our goal of getting our faux glow on. 

READ MORE: What Does Tanning Bed Rash Look Like?

Tan Your Legs Fast With These 6 Tips

Now that we have successfully identified the culprits that keep us from getting the tan of our dreams, here are some tanning tips to get you that sun-kissed glow. 

1. Exfoliate First

a lady exfoliating her legs before tanning them

Before getting your tan under direct sunlight or getting help from some of the best indoor tanning lotions for legs, make sure you have really, really exfoliated the skin.

It is best to show up to your tanning session with smooth and well-hydrated legs if you wish for a tan that lasts longer and looks better. 

2. Shave and Wax Carefully

lady shaving her legs to help tan her legs faster

It is best to shave, wax or use a hair removal cream 12 hours prior to getting your tan on. If done after, you may have open pores, which is not a good idea.

Also, you will need the tan to stick on your body for some time before disturbing it. It may be best to remove leg hair only after three days of getting the tan. 

3. Avoid Tight Clothes

how do i tan my legs fast? don't wear tight jeans like the girl on the photo

One of the reasons why our tan fades faster than the rest of our body is because we wear tight jeans or leggings.

Not only do we risk staining our favorite pair of jeans (if we’ve got a fake tan) but also getting an uneven skin tone. It is best to stick to flowy dresses and pants that promote air circulation in your lower half. 

4. Position Yourself Right in Sunbeds

a woman in white bikini tanning in bed

Most tanning beds are built in such a way that they target the upper body better than your lower body.

If you feel that the tan has become uneven, go for sunbed sessions again. But this time, cover the upper part of your body and focus only on the legs. 

5. Moisturize

lady in white bikini using tingle tanning lotion

Make sure you moisturize properly before the tanning process and after it is over. Smooth and hydrated skin absorbs UV light better and intensifies melanin production.

Regular application of moisturizer afterward ensures that the tan doesn’t fade away prematurely. 

6. Use Tanning Accelerators

tanning lotion beside a lady in a tanning bed

To get the same color as the rest of your body, you may wish to make use of tanning accelerators that can supplement the activation of melanin in your legs.

There are plenty of tanners with natural ingredients to choose from.  

Check: Celebrity Self Tanner Products to Try


Do you tan better with shaved legs? 

Yes. Shaving improves your overall tanning experience by providing a smooth texture to which the tan can stick. However, you must shave 12 hours before the tanning process such that you don’t show up with open pores to the tanning session.  

Why do the bottoms of my legs not tan? 

It is difficult for the bottom of your legs to tan because of the thick skin and lack of melanin. The bottom will always remain a tad bit fairer than the rest of your skin, much like your palms. But, a slight tan may be induced on the area. 

Do tan legs hide cellulite? 

Cellulite is less visible on darker skin than on fair skin, which is why people opt for a tanning lotion or spray tanning. However, over time, the tans may aggravate the cellulite due to UV rays from the sun. 

Does tanning your legs make them look slimmer? 

A tan can help create a slimming effect on the legs if done properly. When done correctly, the contouring effects of a tan adds definition to the look, making it look slimmer and longer. 

What is the best way to tan legs in the sun?

Since your legs tan so much slower than other parts of your body, you can try using a tan accelerator to speed things up. Make sure you follow the tips above. Shave beforehand, moisturize often, and don’t overdo it.

How long does it take to tan your legs?

There’s no single answer to that because it depends on your skin type, which products you use, and even how much hair you have on your legs. However, for most people, their legs tan after about two hours.

Getting a tan on your legs may have been the hardest thing to achieve, but not anymore!

Do test out some of these tanning tips and let us know whether or not they work on giving you legs to die for!

Make sure not to overdo it, of course, and always wear an SPF, even on gloomy days. 


  • “Abnormally Dark or Light Skin: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” 2018. Medlineplus.gov. 2018. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003242.htm.
  • Alaluf, Simon, Derek Atkins, Karen Barrett, Margaret Blount, Nik Carter, and Alan Heath. 2002. “Ethnic Variation in Melanin Content and Composition in Photoexposed and Photoprotected Human Skin.” Pigment Cell Research 15 (2): 112–18. https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0749.2002.1o071.x.
  • “Why Won’t My Legs Tan? Tips to Tan Your Legs Fast.” 2019. Tanning Girl. January 26, 2019. https://tanninggirl.com/why-wont-my-legs-tan/.
a lady putting tan accelerator to her legs

Do you have other tips on how to tan legs fast? We’d like to hear them below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.