You know that awkward transition between spring and summer when you’re still super pale, because you don’t have time for the pool when finals are demanding your attention, but you feel awkward in public with your pasty white skin? I grew up with a fear of tanning beds, and for good reason. Just like how regular tanning can harm your skin, tanning beds are way worse. Without a lot of options left for your doomed white skin, it’s time to enter the world of self tanner.
Self tanner seems like a godsend from the drugstore, until you actually try it. In high school I went through my fair share of horrible fake tans. I had no idea how to pick a quality tanner, and didn’t have the eye to notice that the orange color my skin had turned did NOT look good. I even once had a friend see my legs and practically scream “Holy ORANGE”.
You’d think that would’ve stopped me.
Thanks to Instagram and the dozens of beauty bloggers I follow on a regular basis, I have the knowledge of what tanners actually work because they actually look good. Here are a few things to look for when picking out a self tanner and during the application process:
1. Don’t go to Walmart.
This is actually a serious suggestion. Rarely are you going to find a good quality self tanner at Walmart.
2. Brown, not orange
Although this seems like a no brainer, there are still hundreds of products out there that will give you a Donald Trump cheeto glow if you’re not careful. Just like with any beauty product, make sure you do your research before you go out and buy something. Read lots of reviews, and make sure that you’re going to be satisfied with your result. Research your products the way you would research a guy you’re going on a date with. Same mentality.
3. Non streaking formulas
It’s really hard to get a non streaking self tanner. My tiger-striped legs of the past can testify of that. There are a few keys to this: first, use a mitt. It’ll help you get the product distributed evenly. Second, be careful of what type of product it is. Personally, I’ve had the best luck with mousse, rather than liquid.
4. Proper moisturization
Pick a tanner that already has moisturizing properties in it, which is always important, no matter what you’re putting on your skin. In addition to that, make sure that you use a good quality lotion(like body butter) on your dry areas(knees, ankles, elbows). Otherwise, these dry areas will absorb the tanner TOO well, leaving you with really dark or orange joints.
5. Prepping your body
Before you tan, take a shower so your body is clean, and shave. Seriously, shave. And exfoliate. If you don’t, the tanner gets stuck in the hair follicles on your legs and anywhere else that it can. You want your skin to be a soft, smooth canvas for the tanner.
Now you’re ready to go get a product, and rock a sun-kissed glow all summer long. Through trial and error, I have found the products that work best for me are Envu Skin’s Self Tanner and Tanwise Self Tanner(although this is my least favorite of the two). The only downside to Envu is that it’s Australian based, so it takes a bit longer for the product to get to you. Happy tanning, ladies.
P.S. For when you inevitably get tanner stuck between your fingers, baking soda helps get rid of all the unwanted tanner in unwanted places.