Beauty 5 years ago

The Beginner's Guide to Faux Tanning

Hey guys! It’s Hannah back on the blog today to walk you guys through the beginner’s guide to faux tanning. To give you a little backstory- I’m a total beach baby.

My brother and dad surf so I basically grew up on the beach. Between weekends on South Padre Island (do I have any Texan readers??) and vacations in Mexico over Christmas and summer breaks- there wasn’t a time that I DIDN’T have tan lines.

You’d think that moving to LA would keep my suntan nice and golden- but I’ve never been paler in my life! I love how I look and how I feel when I have a tan, but beyond getting to a beach and/or pool to tan- I’m now acutely aware of the effects of sun damage.

With summer, beach days and blue jean cutoffs looming on the horizon, I knew I wanted some color without baking in the sun or sitting in a tanning bed. (My BFF swears by the tanning bed but to be totally honest, it kind of freaks me out.) Enter: the faux tan.

I asked my dear IG followers for recommendations and you guys delivered! So with a bunch of research and a solid amount of fear and apprehension- I began testing products.

Like I said before, I’m totally new to the whole world of faux tanners so I was so surprised at how many kinds there are on the market! I got a bunch and tried one of each type over the last couple of weeks. (I really did try them all. Just ask my mom and my friends who all got some pretty weird photos of my legs.)

The Wipes:

A tan in a towel, basically. These tan wipes almost seemed too good to be true! The one I’m photographed with above is from Kate Somerville and it can be used on your face and body, and this one from Dr. Dennis Gross is designed specifically for your face.

Because I love both Kate Somerville and Dr. Dennis Gross products, I felt like I was in very good hands. In my mind, faux tanners should look brownish, so it felt kind of strange rubbing what reminded me of a baby wipe all over my body.  As per the instructions, I immediately washed my hands and ‘air dried’ for a couple of minutes before moving right along with my night. When I woke up the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised with a lovely flush of bronze. Nothing too drastic, but enough color for me to notice a difference.

Overall, I was super happy with the wipes! My white sheets and towel were not dyed orange, there was no clean-up at all. Plus, the little foil packets would be perfect for travel!

The In Shower:

This in-shower gradual tanner from St. Tropez was highly recommended in the DMs so I was excited to give it a whirl. Upon reading the instructions, I was disappointed that you can’t actually put it on in the shower. I mean, you can- but the water can’t be running. Basically, you’re supposed to go about your normal shower routine, get out of the shower, then apply the product to damp skin, wait three minutes and then hop back in the shower to rinse off.

Let me tell you… it was a very cold three minutes. The tan is supposed to be gradual and with so many other products to test, I only used this for about three days. I noticed a little color on my legs and my chest but I’m sure the color would’ve built up very nicely if I used it consistently.

So if you’re looking for something super subtle and buildable, then this guy is for you. Word of caution- be sure to thoroughly rinse off after the three minutes because I did notice a few twinges of orange on my towel.

The Lotion/Moose:

This type of faux tanner I was a lot more familiar with. After my shower, I grabbed the 10-minute tan from Vita Liberata. It seemed the least intimidating of all of the more traditional tanning lotions/mooses. Using the mitt and following the directions that I read at least 10 times (I did NOT want to eff this up) I applied the product all over my body. It smelled nice, was a little sticky but overall pretty pleasant.

I then stood in my bathroom naked watching vine compilations on my phone for 10 minutes before rinsing off in the shower. I could immediately see some color which I was so stoked about, you gotta love that instant gratification- right?

When I woke up the next morning I had a lovely tan- with no streaks in sight! A WIN.

The Oil:

You guys I was SO excited to try this sleep tanning oil. First of all, I will be the first to admit that I’m the biggest sucker for good packaging. If it looks pretty it has to be good, right? Right. (Well, most of the time anyway.)

After my shower, I grabbed this oil and rubbed it all over my body. (SOS, out of context that sounds very dirty. Whoops.) It smelled really good, but something about it being a clear oil was very confusing to me. How could this give me a tan? I air dried for a bit but was still slightly sticky. And as I found out the hard way, very difficult to control.

I won’t lie to you, folks- I had a pretty weird tan when I woke up. I mean, this stuff WORKS don’t get me wrong- but I guess I’m not the best at using it. My torso, arms, and back looked good- but I missed a little patch on the back of my thigh and- this might sound a little odd- but my crotch and underarms didn’t turn out that well. I mean, the underarms were because of my deodorant. But I think I should have let the oil soak in a little more? Maybe it made me sweaty? I don’t know but it was pretty botched.

So overall- Sleep Oil 1, Hannah 0. I’m gonna give it a bit to fade before trying again, but I’ll make sure to be extra careful when I use it. If you want something that works fast and overnight- this stuff is for you! But you know, be careful LOL!

So I think I’m officially a fan of faux tan! All the color without any of the damaging and possibly cancerous side effects, what’s not to love? So now, I won’t blind anyone with my pasty white skin when I show up to the beach! (I’ll obviously be wearing sunscreen, though. Don’t worry.)

What do you guys think of faux tanners? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, be sure to follow me on Instagram as you eagerly await my next contributing post 😉

xx Hannah


Photography by Karla Ticas

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