Sunday, March 27, 2011

Foolproof Sunless Tanning! (Part 1)

Yes, spring has sprung! Well, if you live in the south, anyways. Daily temperatures are ranging from 75-82 here, and it will only get warmer! And since it's time for Spring Breaks, I thought I'd go ahead and talk about tanning now.

Does it surprise anyone that I have used practically every drugstore and salon tanning product EVER? It shouldn't. I was decently obsessed with tanning in my younger days, both sunless and baking.. and sometimes in conjunction with each other. (Yikes!) However, due to actually having had a job during the summer for the last 2 years and the strong fear of skin cancer, I've drastically limited my time spent in the sun and tanning beds.

Even though I am QUITE an expert in sunless tanning, I haven't done that in years either. Why? Because it's a lot of damn work. I'm not even going to lie and tell you otherwise. But it's one of those things that you have to weigh out for yourself: spend a LOT of time safely tanning and protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer or go bake yourself like a lobster and end up looking like a saddlebag with skin cancer when you're 40. I'm just saying.

If you choose to sunless tan on your own, I'm going to show you how to do it and NOT end up looking like an Oompa Loompa. 

Because, as far as I know... this has never been a highly requested look.

Ohhhhh my goodness. There are lotions, gels, creams, foams, mousses, sprays, wipes, pills and practically anything else you can think of to make you tan. And now you can even tan gradually if you prefer to go for a more realistic approach. While I haven't tried tanning wipes or pills, I have tried everything else and this is what I've found: 
  • Foams and mousses tend to come off the first time I get wet. Even if it's been upwards of 24 hours since I applied it. There's nothing like washing your hands only to have them return to their normal color and the rest of you is still tan. Or, worse, getting in a pool and end up standing in a cloud of self tanner, and then getting out to have the entire lower half of your body be white. Trust me on that one, I speak from experience. Personally, I avoid these.
  • Sprays are best left to the professionals. Whether you choose to go into an automated booth or have a technician spray you is up to you. The tanning salons I have been to didn't offer sprays by technicians, so I have always used a booth and had decent results. This is definitely the "easiest" method of application as long as you follow the directions you are given. However, this is also one of the more expensive options.
  • The gels I've tried seemed to not last as long as lotions. I wouldn't say they are as bad as foams or mousses, but I felt like they gave an overall more sheer layer of color and I was having to reapply them more frequently than I cared to.
  • In my opinion, lotions are completely the way to go. EVERYONE knows how to apply lotion. They give the right amount of coverage and it's easy to make sure you're evenly coated. Plus, I feel like this is the easiest DIY method. Gradual or not is up to you. I've used and like both.
NOTE: What type of tanner you choose is up to you. However, I strongly  suggest that you pick one with color. It will show you exactly where the product has been applied and if you have any streaks. There's nothing worse than applying a tanner with no color and finding out 6 hours later that you now look like a fried zebra. Am I right?

The two sunless tanners that I have had the best luck to and will recommend to anyone without hesitation or fail are:
Both products can be found at any Ulta, mass retailer, drug store or supermarket. The L'Oreal retails for around $5 to $6 and the Jergens goes for $7 to $9. These lotions have the best (and least off-putting) overall scents that don't have that "tell-tale fake bake smell." They also dry relatively quickly. If you absolutely had to, you could get dressed 20 minutes after applying them. Both lotions also come in more than one shade so that you won't end up orange if you have fair skin! They last decently long and usually wear off evenly provided that you take care of them once they are on your body.

In the interest of not turning this post into a novel, I'm going to break here and tell you how to apply your tanner in a separate post. Stay tuned!



EDITED TO ADD: Be sure to also read my review on Ocean Potion's EverGlow Gradual Sunless Tanner. It's my newest favorite!


  1. This is such a great site! I like the way you set this up! Great content! Thanks for sharing this!...Daniel

  2. Oooo, great post Mandy. I agree with you completely about almost all of the tips here but I strongly disliked the Jergens Gradual Tanner. (for me anyway.) The smell is really potent and I just can't get over it...


  3. I have heard some people say that about Jergens. It's been so long since I've used it that I can't exactly remember what it smells like. I guess I'm of the mindset that I don't really care what it smells like as long as I like the product itself, mainly because I shower before I leave the house.

    I can't wait to read your reviews about the other sunless tanners you go!

  4. What a wonderful post. I have learnt so much from this blog.I like your blog.Thanks for the post.
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