Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 131: Preliminary Adventures in Self-Tanner

NOT the look I'm going for!
It seemed only fitting that my recent return to Los Angeles was accompanied by the following commandment from The Knot's "Bridal Beauty Countdown To Gorgeous" list:
Want to experiment with self-tanners?  Now's the time.  Consider the neckline of your gown, and whether you have existing tan lines you'll need to cover.
Usually, KJ + "tan" = bad news.  I'm naturally uber-pale, and suffered from a several major sunburns as a kid.  My dermatologist tells me that I'm at high-risk for skin cancer someday, and I take that pretty seriously.  I wear 30 to 45 SPF daily, and try to cover up exposed skin when I spend time outside.  I've learned to "embrace the paste" and generally feel great about it.

This wasn't always the case.  Back in high school and college I loooved looking tan, and (sadly) spent time in the cancer-booths before every formal dance (cringe).  When my allowance and babysitting money couldn't cover tanning salon visits, I "experimented" with self-tanner.  Of course, back then they hadn't yet invented "gradual" formulations, so I developed my very own 13-step Oompa-Loopma-Proof routine:
1) Exfoliate like mad in the shower, preferably with scrubbing gloves.  Be extra mean to your knees and elbows.
2) Shave.
3) Dry body completely.
4) Take plain (non-tanning) body lotion and rub into knees, elbows, between fingers, between toes, and into cuticles.
5) Combine plain body lotion with self-tanner in a 1 Pump Lotion + 2 Pumps Tanner ratio.  Mix in hand.
6) Apply self-tanner to entire body rubbing in with a circular motion, starting with feet and moving up the body.  Do NOT apply to face.  (FYI - I have oddly flexible shoulder joints, so I can actually apply tanner to my entire back without help.  Independent woman, here!)
7) Once entire body is covered, wash hands.
8) Apply separate "face tanner" to face, rubbing in little circles and blending into neck.
9) Wash hands again.
10) Using a dry (old, ugly) towel, rub excess tanner off of inner elbows and armpits.   **FYI - THIS is my super-secret trick to avoid uneven application on your arms!**
11) Carefully squirt a teeny-tiny bit of tanner onto the back of one hand.  
12) Rub back of hands together to blend (avoid getting tanner on palms!).
13) Hang out naked for a while.  Do not dress, sit down, or touch anything until everything is 100% dry. 
WHEW! Now I remember why I stopped doing this.

But then I got back to Los Angeles a few days ago, and started experiencing some serious tan-envy.  EVERYBODY in this city looks like they just got back from a vacation in ... Los Angeles.  The only person I know in L.A. who is paler than me is my friend, Daniel, whose recent Facebook status read, "People of Los Angeles, today is the first day I am wearing shorts this summer.  If you don't own sunglasses... I am so, so sorry." Word.  I'm not saying I want to look like Hulk Hogan, but it would be nice to be just a little less pale.  Oooh, and maybe a tan on my wedding day would highlight my soon-to-be-ripped biceps.... Hey, a girl can daydream!

So last night I picked up a bottle of Olay Quench Plus Touch of Sun gradual self-tanner at CVS.  Even though I'm definitely fair, I picked the version for "medium/ dark skin tones," with the hope that I could accelerate the process a bit.  Also, this product won the price:ounces-of-product ratio.

So... I followed steps 1-13 (skipping #5), and here's what happened:

Geez, how gradual IS this stuff!??!  The only real difference I see is a little bit of staining at my wrist, but overall no big change.  So.... I'll be re-applying over the next several days, but I'm pretty sure my skin exfoliates itself at a rate faster than this.  I have potential beach plans this weekend, so let's hope we get some action by then!  To be continued....

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  1. I suppose Oompa-orange is better than blueberry-blue =)

  2. Are you sure about that!? (See photo at top of post)

  3. Does the self-tanning stuff still smell horible?

  4. It definitely doesn't smell as horrible as the tanners I used in college, but there's still a bit of a starchy smell. It could be worse than I realize though.... Michael is in S.F. right now, so there isn't anybody around to tell me if I stink! (Or if I look like an Oompa-Loompa, for that matter!)

  5. I came across Sex Symbol Aerotan (Instant Temporary Tanning Spray) at my local Marshall's and LOVE IT!!!! I've seen it there recently (about 2 weeks ago) so your local store may have some. If not, I've provided an Amazon link at the bottom of my comment, if you're inclined to give it a try. This self-tanner even smells good (kind of coconutty). I actually used it on my own "wedding day" (I put that in quotes because we had a very small destination wedding in March, and then had a local ceremony for family and friends in June, which is when I used the self-tanner) and aside from rubbing off onto the parts of my dress under my arms, it stayed on all day and looked great. I experimented with blogging product reviews for a few short months and I reviewed this product, so if you want to read more about it in detail, here's my review (no pressure... I'm not even blogging anymore, I have a new job working 10-12 hour days and I am beyond exhausted):


    Good luck with whatever self-tanning product you decide to use, and all the power to you on your mirrorless journey!

    Amazon link to Aerotan self-tanner:


  6. I know I'm a couple months late, but in the future if you want to try another cheapish self tanner that works, go for Banana Boat's version. I am also very light skinned, and this stuff is great--doesn't make me look like I got a spray tan, but takes away the milky pale look. I usually use it on my legs and face and sometimes shoulders, since my arms manage to tan just a bit on those days I forget the sunscreen so they are perfect. It's inexpensive and impossible to mess up (I think), and doesn't smell awful. It's gradual on (shows as early as 4-5 hrs, darkens over a couple days if you keep applying), gradual off, and I love it!

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