The BEST Self Tanner

self tan


Although ‘Peeled’ tends to drift down food blog avenue- let us not forget my goal is total body wellness. An emerging issue with wellness right now is sun over-exposure! Have you seen this video- ESPECIALLY IF YOU KNOW A TEENAGER – it’s worth a 5 minute view.

Skin cancer is the #1 type of cancer in the US. Yet, a warm glow is still one of the most desirable qualities in pop culture. Being incredibly fair skinned myself, this has led me down a torturous path of self tanning products.

It wasn’t a pretty journey. Pictures will not be shown.

The good news is that I have emerged on the other side, with a glowy tan in 10 minutes that doesn’t make me smell like Cheerios (does anyone else think most self tanners smell like Cheerios?).

Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion is my inexpensive self tanning miracle

Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion is my inexpensive self tanning miracle

I present to you the champion & my Friday Favorite; Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion ($7). I picked this up at Walmart because of its low price tag, and fell in love. It takes me 3 applications to reach my perfect tan, and I apply twice a week to maintain my tan. I apply at night so that it can develop (aka get darker) while I sleep without rubbing off on my ‘good clothes’. I love this tanner because it has a little guide color so you can see where you’re applying it, and it doesn’t have the typical ‘self tanner’ smell. The slight odor it does have is totally gone after my morning shower.

For $7 at Walmart, this is my self tanning miracle!

For $7 at Walmart, this is my self tanning miracle!

My self-tanning routine:

  1. After work, when I’m home for the night, I shower so that I can start with squeaky clean skin. I exfoliate my whole body so that my tan applies evenly.

  2. I dry off completely and apply body lotion to my elbows, knees, and hands/wrists. I apply whatever lotion is leftover on my hands to my face and neck. These are areas that tend to be dry, and I don’t want excessive self tanner to be absorbed. I give myself/the bathroom a few minutes to cool down from my shower.

  3. I pull my lion’s-mane-of-hair into a tight ponytail to get it out of the way. I then lock myself in a well ventilated bathroom and get to it. (I usually bring my tablet or music in with me to entertain myself while drying; these are the tips people forget to tell you)

  4. I generously apply self tanner from bottom to top- working my way from my legs, to middle, to chest & arms. If you don’t use enough tanner you’ll end up streaky, but you also don’t want to be so thickly coated that you waste product. Applying from bottom to top avoids creasing or smearing.

  5. If you’re feeling adventurous, attempt your back. This usually involves a mixture of yoga and the aerosol spray you’ll see below.

  6. I then mix self tanner with a little face lotion and apply it to my face. Make sure to focus on the places sun would naturally hit. Be careful around your mouth/under your nose as these are places you don’t want to get too dark. Don’t forget to hit your ears, behind your ears, the back of your neck and under your chin. You can always use powdered bronzer to make your face more glowy, but you can’t ditch the oompa loompa look. Less is more here.

  7. Now its time to wash your hands SUPER thoroughly. Be sure to get in between your fingers! I make sure to wash the underside of my wrists too.

  8. The last step in my routine is to take the aerosol version of my self tanner (also available at Walmart or Ulta) and hit the tops of my feet and hands. These are the places that make or break a self tan. Rubbing these with lotions tends to look very fake, but you don’t want a tan body and white hands/feet! This step is one the secrets to self tanner

  9. Hang out for at least 10 minutes before putting on any clothing. You don’t want your clothes to absorb any tanner- it will make your tan streaky and leave a mark on your clothes.

  10. Put on loose fitting dark color pajamas and call it a night! When I wake up in the morning I ‘body shower’ off the tanner and carry on with my day with a sun kissed glow.


  • Be careful not to spray/bump shower curtains or anything stainable while drying- no bueno.
  • Don’t exfoliate your skin heavily while rocking your self tan. The color has stained the top layer of your skin cells, it’d be a shame to rub them off.
  • DO NOT, I repeat, do not wash dishes or in any other way get your skin wet until your tan has fully developed (hours). This is why pre-bedtime is a great option for application
  • Be careful on the underside of your forearms. This is an area that doesn’t tan much naturally, so you don’t want to build a tan too intensely there.
  • After your very first application to pale skin this may seem a little streaky. Don’t panic- that goes away once you apply again!image

I promise this is not as challenging as I just made it sound.

Once you do this a few times it becomes as easy as a typical shower routine. I think it’s totally worth the time because self tanning allows me to feel sun kissed all summer long without worrying about skin cancer or premature aging.

Have you had any terrifying or glorious self-tanning encounters? I’d love to hear.

Connect on Social Media:



13 thoughts on “The BEST Self Tanner

  1. Good information and powerful video. I’m a redhead with fair skin and although my parents had me in shirts and lathered up in sunblock at a young age, I still had my fair share of sunburns as a teen and young adult. It’s not worth the risk. I’ll try your brand of self tanner and see how that goes. Thanks K!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that video made me cry!! (just HAD to share it on FB!) I have very light skin so I burn really easily, but try to use a very high sun block whenever possible. I would love to have a more ‘non-sick’ looking skin but haven’t found a self tanner that doesn’t make me look weird yet, they all seem too dark and I find it very difficult to put in on evenly, so for now I am just being white as a sheet! (When I was on vacation last summer there was a local woman who almost got scared of me because I was so white – the only non-tanned person in miles, even my boyfriend looked like a local! Haha)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow… so I almost cried watching this video. Being a very pale redhead this really scares me. I’ve embraced my pastiness and I am SO careful in the sun but I have gotten a burn here and there. I wanted to tan before my wedding in November because it was destination but I was too chicken. I’ve tried self tanners and I always end up with strange brown blotches all over. I might give this a go. I feel like none of my friends or family would recognize me, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very informative post, moving and intense video! Being Italian I have the potential for a great tan! In my mid twenties I used to be the most tanned girl in class, but now that I have embarked this adventure for great health I avoid solarium and getting burn, even though I enjoy to spend time on the beach with organic protection. Here people make fun of me, because in the summer italians consider the beauty of a person considering how tanned you are (especially in the south) and being just golden or mid tanned is like going to a job interview with havaianas flip flops. I used to suffer about this (go ahed, you can laugh), but now, when they call me mozzarella I just smile and continue to do my own business.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting read. I’m lucky enough to have my daughter be dead set against tanning beds.

    I once had a professional spray tan prior to a cruise … I followed all of the instructions.

    5 full days later, it started to disappear, allll over my clothes , ruining everything that I brought on vacation with me! Never again.

    I’ve kinda given up on the idea of tanning, but I’m now intrigued to try this product!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I want to try this product! OK so when you say you work from the bottom up, do you start at your ankles and work up and leave tops of feet and tops of hands for the spray version? Feet and hands are the places that look the worst (and most fakey) on me after applying most self tanners. Your tips sound wonderful.


So, what do you think? Comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s