A Beginner's Guide to Self Tan, # 1

by Joyce in


Summer is fast approaching, and I suspect that many of us are quite pale as a result of the long, cold winter we just survived. Usually, I enter summer with dry legs and whatever color I have left from winter, but this year, I really wanted to explore the self tanning options out there. 

Lucky for me, a few brands contacted me to try out their self tanning products, and I'll show you some of those products here. There will also be additional installments, featuring tanning wipes and other popular tanning products, coming over the next few weeks! 

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fake bake self tan review, st tropez dry oil review, tanee tan line corrector review

Fake Bake Sunless Self Tanning Lotion, $30 for 6oz
I was a bit apprehensive about my first attempt at self tan this year, especially when I discovered how dark this product is out of the tube. It is the color of chocolate syrup, which fades into a light brown as you blend it into the skin. Fortunately, this tint makes it easy to see where you've applied product, which is great for beginners.  

This paraben free product dries quickly and is very lightly scented compared to many other self tan products I've tried. The color develops into a natural looking post-sun brown, and lasts for nearly a week. Fake Bake also makes a version for fair skin and other scents like lavender! 

St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil, $50 for 3.38oz
I received this lab sample from Sephora as a result of participating in their BeautyTalk forums, and I think this oil is a great one to use if you want a bit of shimmer and glow for a special occasion. Shake the oil and apply - you'll see that the color is quite a golden, shimmery hue. The shade of this one does veer a bit orange, but applied lightly on my skintone it still looks natural. 

I did find that it was a bit difficult to keep the color and the oil from separating, so shake well. I didn't, and I found I was applying uneven amounts of product in some areas. This also is only lightly tinted, so it is difficult to see where you are applying. I quite like the light lemon/citrus scent, but many reviewers on Sephora.com seem to hate it. If you like the idea of a hydrating dry oil with a bit of color, then this is worth a try. If you're looking for significant tan however, I would skip this and try something else! 

Tanee Tanline Corrector Pen, $6 for .14oz 
I've never heard of Tanee before, but I love the concept. Everyone ends up with awkward tan lines on occasion, despite the care we put into sunscreen, cover ups, etc. Tanee comes as a felt tip marker, and you really just color in the lines. You can see the color lightly as you apply it, and it has a nice golden hue. (Check out the review/swatches on Lola's Secret Beauty Blog.) 

I think it would be really great to blend out any botched self tanning attempts too, but the key here is to blend out the edges to prevent any clear lines from the marker. I also think paler skin tones may not find that the color works for them, but at $6 I think it is totally worth a try, especially if an awkward tan line is getting in the way of a special occasion! :)

Now, I've always been a bit of a self tan noob, so I thought I would share a few beginner tips to remember: 

  • All self tan products recommend that you exfoliate first, for the most even application of color. Skip this step at your own risk. I have before with varying degrees of success. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after application, or better yet, use one of those fancy application mitts or standard gloves. 
  • If you are lucky to have someone around, it would not hurt to have them apply the product to your back. I've somehow managed to apply self tanner reasonably well to my back, but it was quite a chore. And really, "reasonably well" might not be so great since I can't easily see it, haha! 

All in all, I've enjoyed trying out these tanning products. In the past, I've only used self tanner to even out awkward tans. I've always been a bit fearful of self tanner, but am finding that there are plenty of easy-to-use products out there!

Do you use self tanner, or is that a beauty product you usually skip? I'd love to know your thoughts!