A Perfect Faux Tan The Correct Way

I am going to do something I hardly ever do. I am going to update a previous post. I’m updating this post for a couple of reasons. I have been getting asked a lot here lately about my tan. I have a faux tan, which is just a fancy way of saying that it is fake. Also, so many of you have already started asking about swimsuits, and I need to get my faux tan on. Here are the steps I use to get a perfect faux tan the correct way.

I am thrilled that you think it looks natural. I’ve looked for a long time for products that look natural and don’t have a heavy lingering odor.

I have used a lot of self-tanning products, but most of them have some drawbacks. I have a slight allergy to fragrances, and some odors will give me a headache. Finding a natural-looking self-tanner that leaves me looking tan without a headache has been difficult.

If the smell is not a factor for you, finding a non-streaking product is still a problem. No matter how adept you are at applying a self-tanner, you run the risk of having a “spot” that is either too dark or too light. Here are my steps to help you look your best.

Shower and Exfoliate For A Perfect Faux Tan

Shower. Shave. Exfoliate. In order to get a smooth and streak-free tan, you need to rid yourself of any dead skin that is on your body. Showering and shaving are not enough. I purchased an exfoliating mitt, that takes off dead skin, but there is a cheaper option. Purchase a box (or bag) of raw sugar, and put it in a waterproof container in your shower. Put a small amount in your washcloth and rub it over your body. Completely rinse the sugar off, and you are set. Make sure you scrub lightly; you don’t want to irritate your skin. Tree Hut has a wonderful line of sugar scrubs that exfoliate and hydrate, and they smell wonderful.

If you don’t like the mess the raw sugar leaves in your tub, I also you a pumice stone (use very lightly) to remove dead skin, an old faux tan, and on the heels of my feet.

Moisturize Is Essential For A Perfect Faux Tan

I have extremely dry skin that flakes, cracks, and is all around yucky. I need to moisturize more often than I do, but when I finally get around to using lotion, I use La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream. After I shower, and use my hands to rake the remaining water off my skin. I will then apply the lotion all over my body. After I am covered in the lotion, I dab off the remaining water with a towel. It may take a few minutes to completely dry. OR why put on the lotion and then put on the self-tanner? Why not do this process in one step? I put a small amount of each in my palm and then let them mix on my body. The lotion helps the tanner to flow smoothly and helps to reduce streaking.


This would be the amount I start with for each leg. I squirt some lotion and then add approximately the same amount of self-tanner. No need to mix it together; just start rubbing the concoction on your body. Let’s be honest; I REALLY must like you, gurls, to show an up-close pic of my leg. I know you can’t un-see this, but I have to see it daily. Here is the glob before I start to rub it in. Doesn’t this look wonderful? It reminds me of walnut stain. You know, the color your hands turn when you have been picking up walnuts off the ground.

What Are The Best Self-Tanners?

Which self-tanner should you use? It all depends on what you are looking for from a self-tanner. Do you want a gradual tan or one that shows immediate color? Are you a beginner, or have you been self-tanning for a while?

Gradual Self-Tanners That Will Give You A Perfect Faux Tan

Patience is not one of my virtues. I’ve tried to use gradual tanners, but I can’t stand to apply daily and wait for the tan to eventually show up. However, this is the best way to get a perfect faux tan if you are a beginner since they are forgiving and don’t show as many missed spots as bronzing tanners. Plus, your friends and family aren’t shocked to see you one day all white and pasty and the next day with a gorgeous bronze body. All of these gradual self-tanners are highly rated, and I’ve used a lot of Tan-Luxe and St. Tropex products, but in bronzers, and they work great.

Self-Tanning Drops For A Beautiful Glow

Drops are a newer self-tanning product. They are easy to apply since you add them to your existing lotion. Plus, you can control the amount of darkness you achieve by how many drops you add. Once again, this is a little too slow for me, but I do like using drops for my face.

I’ve used drops from all three of these brands. Tan-Luxe has several items to choose from; the Face and Body drops give you great color and are easy to use. I like that you can control the color by the number of drops you add to your moisturizer. I always start with only a few, and then I adjust the amount over time. Before using any product, you should always do a small test area to make sure you aren’t going to have an allergic reaction.

Isle of Paradise drops are some I used for my face, but I didn’t see enough color, so I gave them to my daughter. She loved them, so maybe I should give them another chance. Also, Drunk Elephant Bronzing Serum is a product that is extremely popular and hard to find.

L’OREAL Sublime Bronzer is a good self-tanner. I use the medium natural tan. The only drawback I have is the smell; remember, I am sensitive. If the smell doesn’t bother you, then this is a decent product at a reasonable price. LORAC TANtalizer is a good tanner that I bought at Ulta. I went to Ulta and asked the sales clerk for their best tanner, and this is what they recommended. It has a beautiful color, but it washes off in the shower more than some of the other products I have used. The first time I used it, I was shocked at how brown the shower water turned. Of course, there is still product left on your body, but I don’t like having to apply tanner more often.

Self-Tanning Bronzers For An Instant And Perfect Faux Tan

I love using SUN Laboratories by Gissee, Loving Tan 2 HR Express Mousse, and St. Tropez Self Tan Express. All of these have great color and a relatively light scent, and the wash-off residue is small.

You can see the difference immediately. It will actually darken a little more in the next couple of hours. If you want more color, just add another layer. After three or four days, put on another layer. Do this till you get to your desired color. You will want to use a tanner mitt to keep the palms of your hand from looking black. If you prefer to use your hands, wash them afterward with soap, then use a washcloth to dry your hands. The washcloth will be damp, so take it and go in between your fingers. You don’t want extra tanning lotion to “pool” in crevices. Also, very lightly wipe off your wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. These are problem areas where pooling can occur. Let tanning lotions dry completely before you put clothes on. I usually put on a robe while it dries. Don’t wear white! Even though the lotion is dry, it may still rub off a little.

I hope this answers a lot of your questions about applying a self-tanner and how to look natural. The outfit at the first of the post will be upcoming soon. See you, gurls, tomorrow.

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To GOD Goes The Glory!

Verse Of The Day

Jude 1:5 NIV

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

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  1. Sharon Buchanan says:

    Thanks for all the info on self tanners;
    your legs look great!
    Love the picture on the beach, wishing I was there!

  2. Susan Wiley Grim says:

    Tania, you are a brave lady😊 don’t forget to give your hands a big drink of moisturizer or body lotion before you begin, definitely helps with the staining. The Jergens daily glow is a great “ starter” product for those new to self tanners. Remember it’s all better than baking in the sun.

  3. Thank you for posting self tanner options. I just ordered f so one from Amazon to try.
    Hopefully it will not wash off too much in the shower as I do not like to re-apply every day either.😊

    1. I think the St. Tropez is the best about not washing off.

  4. Thank you for the raw sugar exfoliation trick!

  5. Mary Carol says:

    Thanks for the tips. Yes, I really need some self tanner on these legs.

  6. I have never used bronzers, just the gradual ones as I was afraid of being splotchy. However, with your instructions, I think I can be a bit more confident with a bronzer.

  7. sue koren says:

    Your swim cover up is beautiful!

  8. I haven’t had much luck with self tanners. Thanks for the suggestions!

  9. I had no idea there was so many choices of self tanners. And, boy, do I need to use something!!!!
    My legs are white as a ghost! I love your beach coverup- very cute.
    Tinkerbell is adorable and the name fits her perfectly.

    1. Joe and I were sitting in Church one Sunday, and they started singing, Whiter Than Snow. He looked at me and said, they are singing about your legs. Lol!

  10. I’ve always wondered about faux tanners. I remember the ones from long ago that turned the skin a beautiful 🤢 shade of orange! Yuk. Your tan looks so natural. Thanks for the recommendations.

  11. getting ready for spring break in FL. I will try this this year.

  12. I’m not patient either. This winter my eczema began to flare up and now I can’t use any products but Cetaphil. My skin doesn’t like CeraVe either. So I am afraid to even use the Jergens self tanning lotion. I think I will just spend 20 minutes in the skin like my doctor suggested to get my vitamin D. Only my legs are pale.

  13. Susan Mckenzie says:

    All great advice and good to know!!

  14. I am so glad you posted about self tanners. Great advice. I’ve never used the tanning drops on my face. Do you still wear makeup when you get the tan you want?

    1. I rarely use tanner on my face, so I do use makeup.

  15. I have a lot of freckles and brown spots which always turn much darker when using self tanners. Have you found any products that do not turn your dark spots even darker?

    1. No, Carole. The spots grab the tanner, and there’s nothing to stop that from happening.

  16. I need to try using lotion and see if I can be streak less!

  17. Grandma Judy says:

    A trick I do is to use disposable gloves. That way you won’t have to worry about getting blotchy hands from the tanner you didn’t get washed off.

  18. Thank you so much for this information! It’s time to get your tan on.

  19. Great review!!!! Clearly I’m not patient enough

  20. I am always afraid to try self tanners. I’m afraid that I will look like an orange cat!!

  21. Mary Kinard says:

    Thanks for the tips on faux tanning products!

  22. I am so ready for spring and a little color on my super white legs! Yesterday was 74 degrees, today is 38!
    Have a great day!

  23. Thank you for all the great tips. I’ve never tried self tanners but I might give one of your recommendations a try.

  24. Stella Gustafson says:

    JERGENS® Natural Glow Even though I live here in Florida the beginning of spring I start my tan off with this. That way when I start staying out in the sun more I already have that base tan

  25. Thanks for repeating the self-tanning post. St. Tropez is my favorite. Yes, spring is close and I will be playing tennis!!

  26. Great post! I have two questions, I use Tropez foam or Loving tan foam with a mitt. Can I apply lotion first before applying the foam? Also, the same day you exfoliate and shave I can apply the foam? Thanks!

    1. That’s how I do it. The lotion makes the foam spread easier.

  27. I have the same tree hut scrub. Very nice.

  28. Hi Tania, thanks for all the info! I know you have to let the self tanner dry before getting dressed, but do you find that it still rubs off on your clothes even after it’s dry? I hate wearing something I love and it gets stained from self tanner, and it seems to really happen in the summer when I sweat!!!

    1. Deneen, I never notice that it rubs off. Sometimes I take the hairdryer and dry off before I get dressed. I don’t wear white after I tan, but I never noticed that the tanner gets on other colors.

  29. Val Swift says:

    Let me try this again. Do you have any recommendations on the best self tanning products to avoid accentuating age spots. I use a gradual tanner but they still seem to become magnified and look worse than my pale aged skin. Thanks!!

    1. Val, nothing will stop that from happening. Age spots are rough patches of skin, so they grab the tanner. You can try to wipe off the tanner, but it is really hard to not get parts of the skin too. You’ll get a white ring around the age spots if that happens. I’ve also tried dabbing the spots with Vasoline first, but that didn’t work either.

  30. Phyllis Martin says:

    Thanks for all your research which saves so much time and money in the tanning process! Helps me not have white legs in the summer.

  31. Janice Wooldridge says:

    I was trying to check out the shirt dress coverup but the sandals kept coming up instead.