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Sunless Tanner Favorites! + how to get glowy skin all summer long

Sunless Tanner Favorites! + how to get glowy skin all summer long

Hi guys + happy Memorial Day weekend!

As I am now a T E X A N (let that sink in for a sec) I have 100% stepped up my self tanning routine. In the last week alone I’ve shaved my legs 3x and completely done this routine twice, and parts of it almost every day. That’s how you know it’s summertime where your new state’s climate is like what your vacations were all of your life. I still feel like I’m on a vacation. But there’s way more bugs here.

I’ve never been one to get naturally bronzed quickly or be that kid who went outside and 30 minutes later had a tan line, because the only lines I’ve ever gotten are sunburn lines. I have that good ol’ Irish baby blood that keeps me nice and fair year round. With the exception of my tanning bed usage in relation to homecoming and prom, I never naturally gained color without a lot of time and commitment and a deep deep burning desire to be a brownie. Which dwindled as I grew older, got a job, went to college, etc, etc.

With that being said—I am absolutely no stranger to self tanner, sunless tanner, tanning lotion, foam, mousse, wipes, spray, tan in a can—you name it and I’m sure throughout the years I’ve tried it.

Today I wanted to share with you all my routine since this is one of my most F R E Q U E N T L Y asked questions from you all since I talk about tanning wide open, 24/7—I love it, what can I say. And really give you guys some tips from personal experience, products that are my allstars and how I do this thing. So without further ado: lets get down to the nitty gritty.


Okay, remember like 10 seconds ago in your head, you read about how I’m no stranger to products? And tried them all? Trust me when I say these guys matter—because they do. Sunless tanning is one of those categories that you need to do your research in to make sure you don’t look busted: especially in the untimely event that you’re doing this before a special occasion, graduation/graduation party, first date, wedding—you get the picture here.

Here are the products I use on the reg to ensure that I make everyone think I woke up like this:


exfoliant/body scrub: there’s a million and a half options out there in this category, but speaking for my skin I prefer a more fine grit texture instead of a sandy or thickly cut salt or sugar scrub, just because with my skin texture + sensitivity level this doesn’t leave me feeling literally raw and like I scrubbed my literal skin off post use. The body scrub I’ve been using for the past few weeks and absolutely digging is the ponds body polish in the scent kiwi seeds + cool aloe. (this scent is a total knockout)

exfoliating brush: if you can relate to the bermuda triangle on you back in-between your shoulder blades; the area that you literally cannot reach for the life of you, this item needs to be added to your shower stall. If you think about it, the skin on our back gets in depth exfoliated so rarely, because there’s such noticeable area that we just can’t access—unless you’re made of elastic. This brush helps me keep my skin tone even in between applications and keeps my skin looking and feeling smooth and makes me have that extra dose of confidence to wear whatever top I want without running the risk of exposing myself and my fake caramel ways. (this has changed my life + I use it nearly every time I shower)


shaving cream + razor: I totally get not wanting to shave all that often, trust me—I do. BUT I can tell you honestly, if you take your time to do this whole routine flawlessly and look golden and beautiful, but then have to shave your legs the next day; long story short you’re going to shave off all of your hard work, so just do yourself a solid and keep this one before the application gets started. A L S O —self tanner just doesn’t apply as evenly or as smoothly over hairy legs to be honest. If you don’t believe me, test it out. But I can save you some time and just tell you you’re going to need to cut the grass before you begin. (EOS works wonders for my dry skin + a mens razor is a must have)

moisturizer: keeping your skin soft and smooth begins and ends with adding moisture and oil to the surface of your skin. If you’re totally prone to getting that winter skin, or have dry skin naturally, make sure you’re using a heavy duty body cream or thick lotion for this step. Having evenly moisturized skin makes your tanner go on much more smoothly, stay even and look much more natural. (GOAT is Cera Ve)


self tanner: finally—we’ve made it to the most fun product here: the one that let’s us temporarily dye our skin for fun. No, really it’s so fun. When I say I’ve tried every format of product on the market, I mean it, I’ve tried it all. My favorite by far is foam. Having a mousse-y type solution allows you to have the best of both worlds all around: lightweight application, quick drying, quickly absorbs into the skin, instant “bronzer” or color that shows where the tanner has been applied/where still is bare, and really lasts a lot longer + provides more full body applications than any other product I’ve tried. Mousses of all kinds have my heart, but bonus points if they make me small, dark and glowing. (favorites are jergens + loving tan)

self tanning mitt: if you’re a complete noob in this realm and you’ve never used one of these guys before this is going to 200% change your whole impression of at home tanning. Utilizing a mitt helps in so so so many different ways and I honestly N E V E R apply tanner without it because if I did I would look absolutely busted. In either case, this is going to be an oven mitt looking contraption that buffs out the tanner while it’s applied and protects your hands from being orange as all get out. (all time favorite and the only one I use is from loving tan. it’s a velvety material instead of foamy like a sponge and doesn’t absorb all of the tanner while also making it smoother all around)


Alright, time to get down and brown here—it’s about time.

Here is the exact system I use to apply my self tanner, products used in their exact order and giving you verbatim my life’s work in this area. Let’s begin in the shower.



Think about it: if your skin has layers of skin upon layers of skin, that skin shedding every hour of the day, forms a layer on top of your skin. If you shave before exfoliating, your shave can only be as smooth and flesh with the amount of skin that’s dead, sitting on top of your healthy and living skin. Make sense? If you exfoliate prior to shaving, it removes that outer dead piled up layer and allows you to shave much much closer to the hair follicle resulting a very smooth legs that you tell people to touch since they’re so very smooth.

This is when I would take a scoop of the body polish (enough for one limb/area at a time) on my gloved hands and exfoliate the best I can in circular motions all over my body, focusing on any build up of tanner or dry spots like knees and elbows. After exfoliating what I can reach, I’ll whip out my shower brush and exfoliate my shoulder blades and upper mid back with the brush to make sure I’m nice and smooth in this super foreign and distant area of my bod.


This is one part of this routine you need to make sure you’re not rushing through. The skin on your body actually does best to shave at the very end of your shower. Your skin is able to soak up all the hydration from the warm water and steam, and makes it much easier to get that smooth baby skin we’re after. So try to leave this guy at the end.

My absolute favorite shaving go to’s are always: a mens razor with 5 blades to give me a fighting chance starting off and a moisturizing shave gel or cream. Moisture is key to keep this baby running at top speed.



I think I’ve stressed this so much already but if you still doubt me, try only lotion-ing up half of yourself before applying tanner and you’ll 100% see the tragedy I’m going to try to prevent you from going through. Without hydrating your skin after the shower, you’ll have an uneven tan on any dry patches of skin and self sabotaging your seamless finish which is essentially skin treason.

When you apply moisturizer make sure you really get in there with a healthy coat, and then either have yourself some towel time or robe time for the next 30ish minutes, or until your skin feels like it’s absorbed up all your lotion. When you feel like it’s all soaked in, you’re ready to apply your tan juice.


OKAY grab your mitt, grab your favorite tanning product and let’s get to the application. F I R S T please for your own sake shake the bottle like your life depends on it, because depending on what situation you’re tanning for, it definitely could. If I’m in a position where I have absolutely zero tanner on, I’ll do my first coat a little heavy handed to make sure I get a good foundation on first. If I already have a little color to my body, I’ll go in with just the normal-light amount to make sure I stay looking even and smooth all the day long.

My best piece of advice here is to work in small areas at a time. I usually start with my mitt on my left hand, and apply it to my right side starting from the bottom working to the top. So my usual map goes like this: right lower leg/foot, right upper leg and booty, hip, tummy, chest, right shoulder, right bicep and right forearm, and then switching hands with the mitt to my dominant side (righty tighty) and repeating the process on my left side. I apply this lastly to my back, neck, hands (make a claw shape and avoid the palms, use excess on mitt) and then lastly my face.

Everyone has their own opinion of if self tanner should go on your face or not but honestly my skin is fine with it and it lets me skip a few steps in my makeup routine, so I’m all for it. I will say a tip of advice to any of my grey haired/blonde babes to be extremely careful around your hairline. If the color you’re using is darker than your hair (which it probably is if you’re blonde or white) the tanner can grab onto your hair and stain your hairline and cause a brown or orange cast around your face which is scary and not the look you’re going for. I recommend always having your hair up in a high bun, baby hairs clipped up and a headband around your head to be as careful as you can.

Depending on the day, I’ll ask Lance to come in and buff out my back and make sure I look even and smooth, but honestly I really don’t worry too too much about my back, since for me it’s at least covered by a tank top 95% of the time. I did find this super cool gadget here that I’ll link for you which is specifically designed to be a self tanner tool to help get your back—life changing. (self tan back applicator linked here )

In my application I really make sure to work in the product before getting more in that area, as well as using circular motions to apply to avoid literally any streaks of any kind. + Be sure to let yourself completely D R Y before getting dressed. Stand in front of a fan, wave your arms, dance around, who cares. The bottles sometimes say ‘dry in 60 seconds’ but seriously act like that’s not there and don’t mess it up, just wait until you’re good and dry to test fate.

Whew that was a doozie.


Depending on the tanner you use this could be totally optional. I’m a nutcase and literally sleep in any self tanner I ever put on my body regardless of if it says I should shower in 2 hours or whatever. I take it very personal and say things like “you don’t know me” so I can just absolutely disobey their instructions but hey knock yourself out, to each their own.

B U T while sleeping, I will tell you that I have a few pairs of jammies that have permanently been covered in self tan which are not cross contaminated with other pj’s at this point—they’re too long gone. This consists of a L O O S E long sleeve t-shirt and L O O S E fitted pants and socks if I have light colored sheets on the bed. One of the most important things to do is right after you’ve applied tanner is to not sleep in a bra/underwear. You want to sleep in something loose, so the tanner has time to soak in and absorb totally to your body, any tight clothing like underwear are going to rub that application off and cause it to not absorb as it should or will give you an uneven finish, but again this is totally your call here.


Okay you’ve made it through the scrub, the shower, the sunless and now you’re looking to smooth.

The morning after you wake up from this ritual, the best thing for you to do is to rinse off in the shower to get off any extra color to prevent staining your nice clothes, and then after you’re dry to buff out any areas that maybe aren’t as pigmented, streaky areas, etc.

If it’s not perfect in the first application, this is definitely the best time to fix it. I will tell you a great great great product to keep in your holster for this one is the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs tan in a can spray. This stuff can even out your skin like nobody’s business, and is essentially like body makeup. This stuff is sold by SH nail polish if you’re looking in person, so derail from the skincare aisle and check this out. If you ever mess up your application so badly but don’t have all the time in the world to fix it or a backup outfit to wear, this stuff is magic and will make your crap job look like an A+. (sally hansen airbrush legs linked here)

Alright friends, that’s it—that’s my extremely long, in depth self tan routine and every product I use to make this come to life!

If there’s any questions you guys have or any point you want me to go more in depth with drop you questions here or on my instagram and let’s chat!

Thanks so much for everything guys, have an awesome rest of your week. Talk to you guys all in my next post!


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