July 19, 2012

Fakin' It

This may be weird, but there are few things more comforting to me than being tan.  I can't explain it.  There's something about it that instantly makes me feel better about myself.  
The only thing is, as much as I love to be a bronze goddess I am absolutely terrified of the possibility of cancer and wrinkles.  So every day I begrudgingly slap on SPF 5O over my face and body and attempt to avoid the sun.  Exposure to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB rays) is responsible for 90% of premature aging of skin.  

So what is a girl to do?  Conflicted by her fear of the sun and her longing to be tan, she turns to self tanner.  For a lot of people, the fear of a bad self tan is infinitely more terrifying than a wrinkle.  And then there are the question of which is the best, which to avoid, which one smells the least..... the list goes on.  

Well lucky for you, I have already tried close to every self tanner I could get my hands on.  There were some all-star performances and some duds along the way (we won't mention the horror stories).  These products were my stand out faves.  I've left a little info and some pointers for each one.  Try them out! 

And may the bronze be ever in your favor.

Tan Towel Plus

This is the Tan Towel Plus.  There is a "classic" version of this product, but I find it hardly gives any color.  These bad boys come in full body and half body applications.  It gives a nice subtle, but noticeable tan.  You can use several times a week to get a bit darker color more gradually.  I generally use these as touchups in between my weekly tanner applications.  I like to work from the bottom up - toes to neck in circular motions.  The full body towelette opens up large enough that you can lay it across your back and rub sweep it back and forth. They come individually for $6 or packs of 5 for $27. 


This St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is the "tanner of the stars."  It contains a bronzer so you will get instant color as well as long lasting color.  Thankfully, it comes with a mitt so you don't have to worry about your hands turning orange.  I like to do this one over night, before I go to bed... just make sure you aren't sleeping on white sheets.  You will notice color running off in the shower the next morning, but you will still have a beautiful even tan.  I also like to mix this with basic Lubriderm Moisturizer when I am just trying to maintain my color, rather than get super dark.


I just recently became started using this product and love it.  Its super easy, mess free, and gives a light-medium amount of color (using the deep formula).  The great thing is if you miss a spot (the solution is clear) the mist never leaves a hard line so it's barely noticeable.  It dries pretty quickly (under 3 minutes) and doesn't leave your skin feeling tacky.  When the directions say "use  in a well ventilated area" they are not lying.  The initial scent is a little intense, but wears off.  I LOVE how easy it is to get hard to reach places with this guy.  And for around $10 I got 5 full body applications out of it.  Pretty awesome!


So this one is near and dear to my heart.  No matter how many I try, I still come back to my Xen-Tan.  This heavy-hitter is a once a week self tanner.  You will get SERIOUS COLOR over night.  Xen-Tan has tons of antioxidants from green tea, shea butter and gingko-biloba and leaves your skin glowing.  It claims to have a vanilla scent, but I think I smell like vanilla cupcakes when I use it.  Again, I like to work from the bottom up, and can even use it on my face.  Apply before you go to bed and wash off in the morning.

Quick tips For all Self Tanners:

  1. Try and keep your skin hydrated before and after applying tanner.  This will ensure a more even, long lasting color. 
  2. Shave and Exfoliate prior to applying any tanner.
  3. Don't forget armpits, ankles, back of knees, tops of feet, and back of neck.
  4. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY.  I like to use a nail brush and some dish soap.  Scrub your cuticles as well as in-between each finger.
  5. Get a tanning buddy (or sucker your significant other) to help you get your back.  
  6. Avoid getting wet/sweating.  That's why I like to do it before bed.  Less chances for me to screw it up !
I hope this was helpful!  If you ever have any other questions, just feel free to ask!


  1. Alison Vandenbussche7/19/2012

    Great tips shannon! Since having a little baby that can't be in the sun yet, I've been trying to find a good self tanner for myself. Do they all tend to come off on the sheets or just the st. Tropez ?

    1. The St. Tropez is the least transfer resistant of the bunch. Over time, you may notice that your sheets are a little dingy looking if you are keeping up with your tan. Nothing that your normal washing machine won't take care of. I do it with such frequency that I bought light grey sheets to hide it :)

  2. SUUUUUUUUUUPER scary. but the tan towel is my new best friend. can you do a post on reversing three decades of sun abuse BEFORE turning to fake tans??


    1. http://www.fraxel.com/consumer/what-to-expect/fraxel-results/388?title=

  3. Shannon...Love your new blog...what kind of SPF do you use? I always feel like my face is left so shiny afterwards and my makeup just doesn't go on as usual....do you have any tips?

    Thank You!

  4. It is truly a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.