Self Tanning Routine

Happy December, y’all!

Or maybe not- if you’re a pale skinned gal like myself you know that December is not a happy time at all. In the winter I look like a troll that’s lived under a bridge my entire life and never stepped foot in the daylight. And, to make it all worse, even in the warm months I lose my tan from the sun in about 30 seconds. I can lay out for two weeks straight and have crazy tan lines and no joke in a few days it fades to white again.

SO, I gave up on the sun a year ago. Mainly because I started working full time and didn’t want to commit every single weekend to baking in the hot sun, but also because I didn’t want to look like a winter troll in corporate America. I’m sure my skin will thank me for it later, and obviously I still lay out in the summertime, but I started making self tanner a regular part of my routine and I am so much happier for it!

My routine is super simple and inexpensive, and I am able to keep up with it on a regular basis through summer and winter so I always have a subtle glow and I’m not ashamed to show some thigh at that holiday party! (If you cringe thinking about showing leg at a holiday party, definitely read on).

Before Application

Before Application



After a Shower

After a Shower

The first photo is my before, right after a shower and a shave. This makes sure your skin is exfoliated and I shave right before so I won’t have to too soon after application and my tan lasts longer!

The middle photo is right after application. I use this Self Tanner Mousse in Dark on a weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) basis. I always do my self tanning on a weekend also, so no one has to see me. This mousse DOES transfer on clothing and sheets, so if I am about to change my sheets I will apply before bedtime on clean skin and sleep in it and shower in the AM, or I will shower in the morning, apply mousse, and then shower again 6-8 hours later. This WILL come out of clothes and sheets. I have white sheets and when I wash them they are not dingy at all so it won’t stain clothing! I usually just chill in my robe all day around the house and do chores or just watch a Netflix marathon if I choose to tan during the day.

The last photo is 6-8 hours later, when I showered and then moisturized! You can see its a few shades darker than my before, but a little lighter than the during photo. This is because I have rinsed off the excess!

Here is the process:

1) SHOWER and SHAVE if you need to shave! When you get out, apply regular lotion to your face and neck, feet and ankles, knees, elbows, and hands and wrists.

2) Choose an applicator. I use these gloves but a lot of people like this mitt or this mitt with thumbs. I use gloves because that’s what I had when I first started using tanning mousse, so I’ve just stuck with them and have never personally used a special mitt! Whatever you do, please don’t use your bare hands!

3) Again, I use this Self Tanner Mousse in Dark because I find it gives me the best application and the best color. But, I do commit 6-8 hours either during the night or during the day. If you want a faster tan, I have also used this one-hour tanning lotion for a random work night or morning when I didn’t have as much time to do the mousse, and I think it works great! It just goes on MUCH darker and I didn’t find that I had as great of a long-lasting tan but it’s awesome for only having it on an hour!

4) My Process: I pump 4 pumps of mousse on my palm, press my palms together, and apply to one leg. One palm on my shin/calf, the other hand on my thigh. This is a lot of mousse (I'm over applying but it works the best for me!) so you will have to rub it in a lot! I rub in my thighs and calf and then I spread it on my knees and ankles last. Make sure to spread a little of the excess to your toes and in between your toes as well, because that part of you actually does tan in the summer! Then I go to my back. I do this in pieces since it’s hard to get to. I use one pump on my shoulder blades, one pump for the middle of my back, and one more pump for my lower back, and, yes I also tan my booty. I promise you, you will be so much happier with the way that part of you looks with some tan LOL. Next, I do two pumps for my stomach and chest. Don’t forget your shoulders and sides! My arms are last: I do 2 pumps in one palm and put both of those on one arm. Now, I tan my face and neck. I use the same mousse and it’s never broken me out but if you want, use this tanning face gel. I use half a pump for my face and neck. Don’t forget to really get in your hairline, all over your face (including eyelids) and your ears! You want to really think about everywhere the sun touches you and try to mimic that to get the best results. I also make sure to blend the back of my neck to my shoulders because if you forget any skin, you WILL be able to tell and that’s not cute. Speaking of, I also tan my hands. I take one glove off, put 1/3 pump on my other hand with the glove on it, and apply to the back of my hand and work the excess onto the backs of my fingers. Yes, you tan here too naturally! Ever get a ring tan in the summer?! Don’t forget to blend that on the back of the wrists and also the front of your wrist. Put that glove back on, and switch hands.

*Application note: the mousse can get dry and blotchy while applying. Don’t rinse it off, just leave it. It turns pores and any scabs or dry patches you may have DARK brown and I’m just being honest, I look like a two year old applied self tanner when I’m done applying. As long as you are evenly covered in tanning mousse, the excess spots that are blotchy and dark brown are going to wash off and you will not have a blotchy tan after your shower.

5) You’re done! Now I put on a cozy robe and wait! Pro Tips: DON’T GET WET. Don’t go out in the rain, be super careful when doing dishes, try not to wash your hands too much (remember, you’re tanning your hands!), don’t let your dog get his wet nose on your or lick you, and when you drink liquid don’t get it all over your upper lip. This is a process people, and you are on lockdown. This is also why sometimes its easier to just go to sleep and then change your sheets in the morning.

6) After you are done with the time it takes depending on if you chose the one hour lotion or the 6-8 hour mousse, you shower! This stuff doesn’t smell awful but the longer it stays on you will be able to smell that classic self tanner smell if you know what I mean. No joke I have worn this tanner out in public (the office and just shopping) and I have gotten compliments that I smelled good… I wouldn’t push it but if you NEED to wear this out of the house you will be okay because it doesn’t have a strong odor at all!

You will be terrified during your shower. Your water turns brown, and then you wash with soap as usual (Although I wouldn’t scrub, you don’t have to be gentle. Trust me this stuff is effective!) it will come off even more. This is just a guide color washing off and you will still be tan after don’t worry!

7) Dry off as usual and MOISTURIZE. If you don’t moisturize after your showers, please start and definitely after self tanning! I moisturize with coconut oil after every shower and it also helps your tan last longer!

Thats it! You are no longer a troll and you have a healthy glow that will last all week! I do this every weekend usually, but I can go two weeks and still not look terrible. The before photo is actually when I hadn’t tanned in THREE weeks so I was really close to my natural troll skin.

Feel free to experiment too. I found that over applying and using as much as 4 pumps per leg is a ton BUT it gives me the best results. I only need 2 pumps per leg to get a good glow, so keep that in mind.

Happy Tanning!

xoxo, jess