What You Really Should Know About Sunless Tanning

Every pale girl (myself included) knows the struggle. You’re prepping for your big event, you’ve organized your hair, makeup, outfit, and accessories, and you’re ready to slay your look, but there’s one problem… #palepeopleproblems. You’re feeling washed out, blotchy, or worse, like a translucent ice queen rising from a sunless underworld (!) So you start calling tanning salons or googling the different between spray and foam applications wondering which will make you look like a Grecian Goddess stepping off a private jet after a month of being hand fed grapes by the pool of an exotic resort. Stop. Us pale skinned girls, we need to stick together, and those of us (again, myself included!) who’ve gone so orange we were almost elected president, we have some tips to share to keep you from the same horrifying fate.

Here’s what you really should know about sunless tanning:

  1. It’s not for everyone. A proper toned, even, long lasting tan requires time and money invested in the process. There’s scrubbing and blending and moisturizing involved and the right tools might not be cheap. It may be hard to remember when scrolling IG but celebs know pale skin can be stunning. Just look at Nicole Kidman, reigning queen of porcelain skinned perfection (though I think Sofie Turner is coming for that crown too…)

  2. Pick your poison. Find the right method of sunless tanner for you by doing your homework. Research the benefits of each and then… dive in! It’s important to remember that, like with a lot of beauty products, when you skimp on price, it may be noticeable. For the ultimate at home island vibes, I recommend Kim Kardashian’s favourite brand, St Tropez. If your salon offers a Ph balancers, moisture booster, tone corrector or any other add ons to the spray, a selection of one or two might make all the difference and you’ll be laughing at the extra 10$ when admiring your tanned and toned legs in the mirror (where did those muscles come from?!)

  3. Practice is key. You want to start this process 2-3 months before your big event, giving yourself time for a full tan, time to allow it to fade completely, and a proper reapplication once you’ve perfected your method. Seems like a lot of work? This is tricky business and you won’t regret learning your lessons the first time around.

  4. Wait, prepping is key! This step can’t be underrated because once that tan is on, it’s on. Most tans require full, deep exfoliation (with attention to heels, hands, knees, and elbows), freshly shaved skin, and a soft, well moisturized finish. Keep in mind any moisturizers, makeup, or deodorant has to be washed off before the tan is applied. You need to be clean, clear and NAKED. Except for those loose fitting clothes. Those can stay on for now.

  5. Follow. The. Directions. Say it with me! Whether you’re headed to a salon or going it alone at home, read the instructions or listen to the employees because they know their shit. If you are instructed to stay dry for 24 hours, then stay dry girl! This means no face washing (ew, sorry, I know). If the weather is rough, this mean rain protection unless you want blotchy droplet tattoos for the next 3 weeks (true story). If your at home bottle tells you to blend for 20 minutes or stand naked to dry, do it! This stuff knows when you’re cheating and will make you pay.

  6. Try, try again. Apparently a lemon juice sugar exfoliation and a good long soak with help fade your fake look faster if your first go around was a disaster à la Selena Gomez 2018 Met Ball (celebs, they’re just like us!). That’s why I suggest trying your method out 2-3 months in advance and strongly recommend allowing your previous look to fade completely before diving in again.

While there are definitely hoops to jump through to get that glowy look, Jennifer Aniston has been proving that natural and healthy looking sunless tans are possible for years. So has Kate Moss, Blake Lively, even Jessica Alba… the list of successful sunless tanners goes on and soon, you can add yourself to it!