The Perfect Tan

Amatuer's Guide to the Perfect Tan

Whether you suffer from ghostly pale skin or like to maintain your naturally golden bronze, everyone loves having the perfect tan. 

If you’re anything like me this time of year, then you’re probably spending every weekend in the sun trying to keep that tan you worked so hard on for the past few months. But I’m gonna let you in on a few of my best kept secrets. These products are sure to keep you tan all year round and then some. I’ve experimented with my fair share of self-tanning products. I’ve suffered from oxidized orange colored tans, streaky skin marks and bloch-y fades. So here is my fool-proof list of products, an amateur’s guide to the perfect self-tan:


Prep & Maintain

St. Tropez Self-Tanning Polish

An essential part of the process is exfoliating your skin before applying any self-tanning product (usually done the day before). Here I have the St. Topez Polish, but honestly any one of your favs will work just the same (I also love the Soap & Glory Flake Away). Tip: Use an exfoliating sponge, gloves or loofah to help speed up the process and save your hands from cramping up.  

St. Tropez Self-Tanning Moisturizer

Moisturizing your skin after scrubbing it down is extremely important, it’ll create a silky smooth canvas for your self-tanner. Again I have the St. Tropez Moisturizer (you’ll notice I’m a huge fan of their products) but any moisturizer you have laying around will do. 

Self-Tan Moose

St. Tropez Bronzing Moose & Express

I swear by this stuff! The St. Tropez Moose has a foam-like consistency that I like to apply with a self-tanning mitt, or my bare hands (make sure you thoroughly wash your hands afterwards to avoid orange palms). They’re essentially the same product and formula, except: the regular moose allows you to apply and go, whereas the express can be applied and rinsed off after 1 to 3 hours (depending on how deep you want your tan to be). Full disclosure, I prefer the express tan because it allows me to wash off any excess product, and is less likely to leave me with streak marks. After you rinse off, the product continues to get gradually darker until it gets to the desired tone (1 hour is light, 2 hours is medium and 3 hours is dark). Tip: When using the express tan, make sure you aren’t leaving the house for a few hours and try not wear any tight or fitted clothing until you rinse off.

Self-Tan Moisturizer

Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturizer

This moisturizer I like to use on the daily to maintain any tan (real or fake). It really has no serious color pay-off, it just gives a subtle bronze and constant glow to keep your skin looking radiant and firm. 

Jergens Natural Glow: 3 Days to Glow

For a gradual tanning product, this moisturizer works very quickly. Like the bottle says, you will see results in 3 days. I often use this to extend my self-tan. Tip: You can even use this product on it’s own to keep a holiday tan looking healthy and fresh.  

Nivea Sun Kissed Radiance

This is another gradual tanning recommendation. I love it because it’s a more affordable option, and has a lot of product that will last you all summer. It’s color pay off is subtle but visible after 3 to 4 days of use.

Self-Tan Touch Up

Sally Hansen Air-Brush Legs

This is a perfect option for any one who need a last-minute tan. I often use this to touch-up any bloch-y spots or streaks. Tip: This will rub off on clothing if you don’t let it dry for at least 30 minutes, and try to (unless it’s necessary) avoid anything white. 

At the Beach

Banana Boat Dry Oil

For when you have to face the sun and get a real tan. I love using this dry oil because it’s super easy to apply and doesn’t leave you with dreaded sticky skin.

Hawaiian Tropic Baby Lotion Sunscreen

If you have more sensitive skin like me, then you probably understand the struggle of going from pasty to red in seconds. I like to use this baby sunscreen because it’s high in SPF and works well on more sensitive skin areas (like my face and shoulders), helping me avoid that fire hydrant glow.