When I was in high school, I was a frequent flyer at the tanning bed down the street from my house. I poured no less than $35 a month into the sessions alone, not counting the pricey lotion I bought to help speed up the process. This went on for a good while until the doctor expressed concern over a couple of freckles at an annual check-up, and I decided it was time to learn to embrace my “porcelain” complexion. I mean, is a tan really worth dying for? Absolutely not! While I’ve learned to love my fair skin, sometimes I just wanna look like a golden goddess, you know? And so, last summer, I set out on a journey to figure out how in the world to do an at-home sunless tan that didn’t break the bank or make me look like an oompa loompa. It took some digging and effort, but I’ve got it down to almost a science and I’m more than pleased with the results. I was explaining it to a friend a while back and decided, Hey, why not blog about it?
I had tried various kinds in the past and it never worked like the packaging said it would. I always looked blotchy, orange, and smelled like the product. I can’t even think of how to describe the scent of these products, but I’m sure y’all know what I’m talking about. My clothes and sheets ended up stained and I spent the next several days every single time, scrubbing myself with exfoliator and vinegar solution trying to look less splotchy. Because of this, I gave up entirely until I saw this video on Youtube of a beauty vlogger reviewing a drugstore tanner that she claimed performed just as well as Sephora’s extra pricey St. Tropez and I immediately wanted to get my hands on a bottle. Long story short, it worked like a dream! So, here’s what I did:
Click the links to order your own. Or you could just go to your local Sally’s, Walmart, or even the Dollar Tree (I’ve bought multiple facial brushes from there!). You can buy a sugar scrub or make your own, brown sugar works just as well as the stuff I’ve bought at the store.
(The Jergen’s Color Primer is optional, I’ve not actually used it, but it is made to use alongside the foam so I wanted y’all to be aware it exists.)
Shower as usual; I liked using body wash on my exfoliating glove to make sure all of my skin was even, and then I’d go over the rough spots (knees, elbows, ankles) with the sugar scrub and the exfoliating glove.
The facial brush I used in combination with whatever face wash or facial exfoliator I had on hand. I did this every day for a week leading up to using the sunless tanner.
Dead skin is the main culprit for a splotchy, uneven tan. As we shed our dead skin cells, the tanner goes with it & unfortunately, we don’t shed in one solid sheet. Exfoliating gives you a nice even canvas to work with and makes your tan last longer!
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Moisturizing, like exfoliating, helps prolong your tan and prevents excessive skin shedding. You’ll get more bang for your buck by continuing to moisturize daily once you’ve got your tan in place, but it’s really important to do it in advance. It gives you a nice even surface for your tanner. Once again, do this for a week leading up to using the sunless tanner.
Apply that liquid gold, girl!
Products you’ll need:
-Jergen’s Instant Sun foam (I swear, this stuff is amazing and it’s only $13!)
Save: latex or vinyl gloves
Splurge: tanning mitt (pictured)
Now, I know what you’re thinking when you look at that list. Latex gloves & plastic wrap? No, you’re not disposing of a body, just trust me! I watched a video by a beauty vlogger that explained how she managed to even get her back without any assistance and avoided orange palms & webby things between her fingers. And no, there’s no wizardry involved, just some common household items and a good idea!
I searched high and low in every beauty supply store in town and could not for the life of me find a tanning mitt, but I had read that using a plain old latex glove would do the same thing and it did! I do this in the afternoon so that the product is good and dry before bedtime in order to avoid stained sheets.
- Put on your gloves (latex or fancy mitt, whichever) and apply a thin layer of the foam avoiding your joints. Remember, the product will develop more over time. Less is more, ladies! You don’t wanna be looking like an Oscar.
- When it’s time to do your knees, elbows, feet and ankles, mix your foam with some lotion. This will thin the product a bit which will make it look more natural rather than appearing darker in those areas.
- You’re finished with those gloves, rip off a sheet of plastic wrap (I make sure the sheet is about the size of a small bath towel), lay it out flat, and squirt the foam onto the plastic wrap. I do this part in front of a mirror so I can check periodically that I’m actually hitting every part of my back. Take the plastic wrap, place the foam against your back, and move the plastic wrap like you would with a towel when you get out of the shower. You can watch the video in the link above for a demonstration!
- For the face, I don’t apply it all over because I typically wear makeup each day and also because my face gets exfoliated every day when I remove said makeup, so the product would wear way too quickly. Instead, I mix a little of my favorite moisturizer with the foam and apply it with a makeup sponge where the sun would naturally hit my face: hairline, cheeks, chin, and nose. Again, this will develop over time so apply sparingly!
- I always do my hands last since they’re needed for the rest of the process. The beauty vlogger I mentioned is a genius and suggested squirting lotion and foam onto the back of one of your hands, and then rub the backs of your hands together, interlocking your fingers in the process to get the insides without staining your palms or overdoing it.Voila! You’re finished!