But that doesn't mean that I don't want it look like the sun has shone on my literal ass every once and a while. After all, at least it makes my mind grapes believe that my cellulite doesn't look at cellulite-y. Just let my baby brain believe things, okay?
Because of all of these neuroses, I have learned to become pretty dependent on self tanners. In fact, I've probably already written a variation of this article 30845092 times before, but I'm really too old to remember (and too lazy to check). Regardless, I've compiled my best tips and products that will give you the easiest and least ridiculous-looking tan known to science. Yeah, science!
Prep Your Mess
Every blog post/article/weird tan person's advice that's ever existed tells you to exfoliate before self tanning. So that's some real 'no doy' advice. But the most effective way to exfoliate pre-tan that I've ever found? A basic bitch washcloth. Use a washcloth to gently scrub your skin in a circular motion, and it will exfoliate like a scrubby little champ.
If you're really adverse to this method, feel free to scrub it up with a body scrub, or whatever, but just avoid using anything that leaves any kind of oily residue. It will way f up your application, and leave you with a faux tan straight out of Splotch City. Another ingredient to avoid is any salicylic acid, or the like. Your tan won't stick, and it will go right down the friggin' drain with your next shower.
Once you're out of the shower, and completely and thoroughly tried off, apply regular lotion to the parts of your body that just love to soak up self tanner like I like to soak up a glass of wine. That includes: feet and ankles, knees, wrists and hands, and elbows. Now go to a cool (temperature, not attitude) and non-steamy room, so you don't sweat your ass off, and it's time to tan.
The Body RubdownJergens Natural Glow is a great (and easy) option. Use it daily for a darker result, or every-other-day for something more subtle, you demure lady. No, I won't hold your opera glasses.
If I'm going full stunt queen with the fakery, I'm using St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Always and forever. It dries fast as hell, it's really easy to apply, and it has never, ever let me down. The only downside: it will stain the craps out of your palms, so I always apply it with the St. Tropez Mitt, or more recently, plastic gloves. And that's only because I ripped the mitt in several places, because I trash every-friggin'-thing in life. It's my destiny.
So after you've applied the plain lotion to the necessary places, start applying the tanner in a circular motion to your body. To avoid weird creases from bending and gymnastics and such, here's the best order of application: legs and butt, trunk (front and back), and finally arms. We'll deal with the face in a minute. After you've finished with the whole bod, take off the gloves and rub a dab of lotion on each wrist all the way around. This will keep you from having a significant line of tanner that screams, "HEY Y'ALL, LOOK AT ME! MY TAN IS FAKE!"
Now let's move onto the mug.
I typically don't just slap self-tanner on my face all willy nilly, like I do with the rest of my body. I mean, you CAN, just make sure that you put moisturizer on your face and neck before, so you don't end up with straight crazy face.
Once again, there are a couple of options when picking your face formula. I usually pick tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum for gradual color, because I'm just usually not that tan on the body area, and remember, the whole crazy face thing? (Of course you do, my brain still feels shaken and stirred from having that GIF in the periphery of my vision.) And if you're looking for a drugstore option, Jergens also makes a face formula that's pretty decent.
For more of a TAN tan, I really, really love Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads. Can you guess why? Yep, it's because they're easy. DON'T YOU KNOW ME AT ALL BY NOW? But they also have all of that good-for-your-skin stuffs. So these are pretty much on little-baby-unicorns-jumping-out-of-your-birthday-cake-levels of good.
Okay, that's it. Go on and bronze yourself silly.
But not crazy face silly. I WILL KNOW.