The Secret to a Perfect Self Tan

Alright ladies. Confession time. How many of you used to cook yourselves in tanning beds?


Back when I was in high school, I used to start going to the tanner religiously every spring. (I had to look nice and tan for Prom!) Just thinking about it, I can literally still smell that smell of my freshly baked skin the second I got out of the tanner. Ew.

I didn’t care that it was bad for me. I didn’t care that it could hurt my skin. All I cared about was having that “just got home from the Bahamas” glow before I slipped on my pastel Prom dress. And sometimes, I’d stop by the drug store and grab a bottle of self tanner to put on too. You know… to get that nice orangey color. (Yeah. I’m rolling my eyes at myself too.)

It used to be that no matter what self tanner you grabbed, you would be orange. So it just made more sense to go to the tanner. But luckily, the beauty industry has grown leaps and bounds in the self tanning industry. In fact, so much so, that you don’t have to order expensive tans from Sephora. You can go to your drugstore and get a beautiful self tanner for less than $15.

So all you lovely ladies heading to prom in the next few weeks (or just tired of being see through), I’m here to beg you… don’t go Fake Bake. (Is that still what it’s called?) Follow my guide for a perfect self tan.

But before we get into the guide, all this talk about Prom has me reminiscing of mine. This week, I’ve noticed so many bloggers I love sharing their old Prom photos. And they were so great, I couldn’t pass up not sharing mine! You guys… I went to my Junior Prom 10 freakin’ years ago! Say what?! How has it been 10 years?

The year was 2007, and this Junior was stoked for her first prom. I had absolutely everything I could ever need that night… Big Hair. Tacky French Manicure. A date in a bright white tux. Anddd a nice dark tan.

We got so lucky this year! The blossoms were out and made for some super pretty pictures! Also, I was fresh off the plane from Paris, and I got my necklace and earrings there. I still have them and I still am just as obsessed with them as I was the day my mom and I bought them in a shop near The Seine!
We went to a super fancy dinner that night at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. All of us girls saw the prices on the dinners and didn’t want our dates to have to pay a small fortune for dinner so we only ordered salads. Our salads came out and they were SO TINY. We were starving by the end of the night. HAHA

I had the most fun at any dance of my entire high school career at my Senior Prom, in 2008. My date was the best, and we had so much fun! Also… I legit HATE my hair. Oh my gosh. Could my curls be any tighter? HAHA But I loved it that night.

LOL that manicure! My senior year was not the best, but this guy right here made it so much better. And I’ll always be so grateful for that. 
This is the closest picture I have to an “awkward prom pose”. And it’s not even that awkward! But seriously… I still have this dress and I still love it so dang much. Someone take me to prom so I can wear it again!!

It’s so crazy to see how different prom was 10 years ago than it is today. I mean… my cousin is going to Mackinac Island for her prom! Like seriously. How cool is that? Oh. And Kylie Jenner shows up at peoples proms now too.

The hair isn’t tight curls… it’s loose waves. The dresses? Pretty much anything goes. And 95% of guys probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a bright white tux. However… I do know that most girls still want to be tan.

Which brings us back around to my fake tanning routine. Last month, I needed a tan, and I needed it quick. My Sephora was closed and I had to run to Meijer (it’s like Walmart but 100% times better). I found Jergens Instant Sun. I was skeptical… but I grabbed it.

I decided to go super light with it, just in case it turned me orange. But you guys… the color was great! Now, it won’t get you as dark as St. Tropez or Loving Tan. But, it will look super natural. And it will look super good! And for only $11.99 you literally can’t beat it! (It’s literally less than half the price of the other two…)

So grab your mitts and get ready. I’m about to share my top 5 tips on how to get the perfect tan!

5 Tips for the PERFECT Fake Tan

Exfoliate. You can’t get a flawless tan without a flawless base. You need to get rid of all the gunk before your tan will apply evenly to your skin. How I Exfoliate: First I use a scrub. (I like to whip up a quick Sugar Scrub!) Then, I take a rough brush and run it over my skin. The brush in the picture is literally from the Dollar Tree, and it’s tough. So I lightly run it over my skin in a circular motion. 

Shave your legs. You don’t want to put your fake tan over a bunch of hair. It won’t look right. Take some time to shave your legs! (And if you do it after, it’s going to take the fake tan off.)

Lotion is Key! DO NOT put lotion over your entire body. Just put it on the bits and pieces that are usually dry/hardest to tan. Think ankles, knees, and elbows.

Use a Mitt. A mitt makes all the difference in your fake tan. It helps apply it more evenly, and this way, your hands don’t get all weirdly colored. You can pick them up at Ulta for less than $10. (Mine is the St. Tropez one… but any will work perfectly! Speaking of mine. EW. I should have bought a new one for the picture! Don’t mind how nasty it is!)

Makeup wipes work wonders! Seriously. If you get some fake tan on your nails, or on the bottom of your hands, you can easily wipe it away before it completely dries with a makeup wipe.

How to Apply

  1. Hop in the shower and get yourself squeaky clean. Exfoliate your skin, shave your legs, and do whatever else it is you do in the shower. For me, it’s sing at the top of my lungs. I’m sure my neighbors LOVE that 😉
  2. Dry yourself off really really good. Then apply lotion to the spots that are trickiest to tan. Again, it will be your ankles, knees, elbows, and even the tops of your feet and knuckles. Wait for it to dry.
  3. Grab your mitt and pump one or two pumps of your self tanner. I usually do two, but if you’re new to self tanning, I’d start with one.
  4. Start Applying. Eeeek! This is the scariest part. Use circular motions to apply to your skin. (Don’t rub it like you would lotion.) I like to start on my belly. Why? Because usually, my belly isn’t showing. So if I mess up, it’s not big deal. I like to get the hang of it in a spot that doesn’t show, before moving on to the places that people will see. I usually do this order… belly, arms, chest, neck, legs. Whatever you do, NEVER apply the tanner directly to those hard to cover spots. (Hands, feet, knees and elbows.) Use what is left over on your mitt to cover these spots.
  5. Once you’ve completely covered your body… do it again! I like to do two coats with the Jergens self tan to get the exact color I want.
  6. If you’re sure you’ve gotten every spot covered, go ahead and throw on some loose, dark clothing that you don’t mind getting self tan on.
  7. Grab your makeup wipes and wipe off tan in any unwanted spots.
  8. Go to sleep and let it develop… you’ll have a perfectly beautiful tan in the morning!

And that’s it! It’s so simple! Wondering what this fake tan looks like on the skin? Don’t worry… I wandered around for a week with two different colored legs. It looks so dang natural! (Sorry for the super weird picture… my apartment doesn’t have very good lighting and this was the only way I could get a picture where you could see the difference correctly!)


Alright guys. I’m off to enjoy my long weekend at home! My dad and I are cooking dinner to take to my grandma’s tonight, tomorrow we’re going to Glenn Arbor, Saturday we’re celebrating Easter with my dad’s extended family and Sunday we’re celebrating Easter with both my families! I’m so excited! It’s going to be such a great weekend. I’m so sad Trev couldn’t be here…

Have a wonderful weekend friends! No Weekend Round Up Sunday since it’s Easter.


PS… For the record. I wanted some picture of Trev at his prom but he didn’t have any on hand! However, I’m sure that he looked handsome as ever in his tux!

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