Obviously I am quite fair skinned, and as I normally love embracing that, I’ve never loved that my legs reflect light like a mirror during the summer months. I’ve been trying self tanners for over 2 decades (yes, that long. High school saw some embarrassing moments with orange legs), and I have found a favorite- the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. This mousse can give me a slight tan if I just want a shade darker OR I can build it to look daaaaaark. It works on any skin tone from the fair to the olive skinned. I recommend using the mitt that you can purchase with it to prevent dark and weird looking hands. (Or any self tanning mitt, honestly, I’ve just only used those.)

My steps to the perfect self tan:

  • Exfoliate in the shower using a DIY scrub mixture of 3 parts sugar to 1 part body wash.
  • Immediately following the shower apply moisturizer to your face, knees, elbows, armpits (deodorant can dry out skin and make tanner cling to that area- yuck), ankles and bottoms of feet.
  • Using 2-3 pumps onto the mitt, apply to shins and calves. After, use remaining product on mitt wipe down tops of feet- don’t forget in between your toes!
  • Apply 3-4 pumps to the front of your thighs and distribute around your leg, using leftover product on mitt for knees.
  • Continue over the rest of your body remembering to only use leftover product on the areas your covered with moisturizer earlier.
  • Finally pat remaining product on your mitt to the tops of your hands/wrists.
  • Let dry according to directions on product.

Additional tips:

  • Use a small amount of baby powder on areas that feel sticky after 5-10 min (behind knees/inside of elbows, etc).
  • If you don’t want to stain your sheets, buy an inexpensive flat sheet and sandwich yourself between in it while you sleep.
  • When saving legs, apply a small amount of tanner (1 pump) mixed with your usual lotion post-shower to maintain your tan longer. Shaving removes more product than just regular washing, so if you see your color fade there first, that’s why.
  • Always tan 2-3 days before you want to end up tan (pictures, a trip, etc,)- just in case you missed some spots or accidentally applied too much. Remember- you can always add more, but you can’t take it off easily.
  • If you’re scared of looking too dark, start with a gradual tan lotion like Jergens Natural Glow or St. Tropez Gradual Tan. (The also offer an “in-shower” version too!)

I put up a video of me walking you through the steps if you want to see it!

I hope this helps answer any questions you might have! I will follow this post with one with my favorite products to add a bit of color without having to use self tanner or lotion! Yes, those exist and I love them!


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