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sunless tanning: my tips and tricks

recently i've talked a lot about my nails, and how painting them makes me happy. being a mom of 1 little babe wild toddler, i don't have a ton of "me" time, so i definitely find joy in the simple things. another one of those things is tanning. i posted briefly about it here, but today i want to tell you more about what i do, and the tips and tricks i've learned along the way.

so this post is actually a long time coming. i started it last year when i decided to start sunless tanning. i didn't post about it then, because i thought my pictures were not good enough (you know, the "over-the-moon-make-you-stare-at-them-for-hours-inspirational-and-amazing" kind). then last monday Kilee (aka one little momma) posted her tips on it, and reading her advice got me motivated to finish writing mine, regardless of my picture taking abilities.

i never tanned in high school, and never had the desire to. this may have also had something to do with my mom being the overly protective "don't you dare go swimming without spf 1000+ on because you don't want to get cancer and die!" type of mom. she was (and always has been) right. then in my freshman year of college i had two roomates that would go tan, and i became jealous of their darker smoother (seemingly) flawless looking skin. i was too scared to go to a tanning salon, because i didn't know anything about it, so i grabbed a bottle of Jergins natural glow lotion off the shelf one day at Walmart. ooooh that lotion. lots of good things were learned from that orange-glowy, streaky goop. ha ha. i soon gave it up (but not after embarrassing myself lots) and fated myself to my pale skin.

a year passed and i met my future hubby, got engaged, and 3 months before getting married decided to try tanning for reals. and ya know what? my skin got tan.

i loved tanning, and looking tan, and became addicted. for three years i tanned in a tanning bed (i know, bad bad bad!). then i became pregnant with Bronx, and gave it up. shortly after Bronx was born, my hubby took a job out of state and we moved away to Salem, Oregon. the first few months after Bronx was born, i was busy trying to figure out the whole mother thing, schedule thing, and sleep thing. i started running again, and exercising more consistently, yet wanted to make my skin look tan again...without having to actually tan in a bed. who has the time, wants the wrinkles, leather-looking skin, or cancer that accompanies that anyways? no one. and living in a city where it rained about 215 days out of the year and is cloudy year round?...you could say i was craving some sun exposure!

>>i feel like i need to say here: i tan purely because i love it, my hubby seriously doesn't care either way, and in our house my tanning products are usually referred to as "that tanning crap". haha. so yeah. i also think it's awesome if you love your skin the way it is and don't care one ounce about making yourself look tan. good for you girl! again, i do this for me, and ps: this is not a sponsored post. i just want to share the products i love with you!

my reasons for tanning
▲ i think i look better tan/with some color
▲ i like how clothes look better/ outfits look cuter and more put together
{Maskcara lists a whole bunch of awesome reasons for why to tan, and i agree with her list 100%!}

product i use
fake bake flawless

why i love this product
▲ not orange
▲ no bad smell
▲ no streaks
▲ dries quickly, and doesn't leave you feeling sticky
▲ it doesn't wash off after one shower
▲ lasts about a week

i was terrified of looking like an umpa-loompa again, so i started doing a ton of research, and pinning a lot of good tutorials and reviews(which i'll definitely share at the end). i read about a lot of sunless tanning products, and basically it came down to this brand called Fake Bake and Million Dollar Tan, and i decided to try Fake Bake because they were cheaper on Amazon. i bought Fake Bake Airbrush Self-Tan and Fake Bake Flawless. i used the airbrush kind first, and loved it. when it ran out i was nervous to try the flawless type because i had gotten so used to the other kind. but i started using it...and ended up loving it! the airbush kind came with latex gloves, and the flawless kind came with a mitt. the mitt won me over.

my tips for getting started
▲ tan at night:
if you don't know what you're doing, or if this is your first time, please follow these tips! they will save you a lot of headache and product. so, why at night? because even though Fake Bake dries fast (i love that!), for the first couple hours it will still get smudged if water gets on you! so yes, don't tan and then go do the dishes, or exercise/sweat. trust me, i've tried and thought i was being careful...and had to go do spot touch ups.
▲ tan on a night you know you don't have a lot going on the next day (like say, a wedding or family pics):
why? because (remember if this is your first time) you might not get it all perfected/rubbed in the way you want. i tested mine for the first time on a Tuesday night, so i had all week before i really saw anyone, and could touch up anything "just in case" any of the above accidents happened. i don't think anyone wants to be in a family pic and remembered as "the bad self-tanning experiment". ha ha. but seriously. just be smart people.
▲ wear a big old tshirt and loose pj bottoms:
even though the product dries quickly, there is always a tiny bit that rubs off on the inside of my neck collar. i just sleep in an oversized T, like an old one of my hubby's, and some old basketball shorts. then it doesn't matter to me, and it doesn't rub off on my other clothes the next day.

what i do
▲ shower and exfoliate:
like, shower and scrub down GOOD and shave. the better job you do, the better the tanner will go on and not flake off or leave weird looking patches. i usually do my tan on a Friday or Saturday night an hour or two before bed. it takes me 30 minutes or less.
▲ lotion up dry areas:
i do use this Skin Smoothie product from Fake Bake (shown above, and yes i buy everything through my Amazon Prime-it's the bomb), but lotion works just as well i decided. i just bought the Skin Smoothie to test it out and be able to tell you if there was some amazing difference...i don't think there is, but maybe it would be helpful if you knew you had super dry skin? apply to your dry areas like knuckles, elbows, and knees. if you don't, these tend to become darker than the rest of your body and will look funny. and you don't want that! sidenote: i have had the Skin Smoothie for almost a year now, and see how much i've used? yeah, a little goes a long way, so that's awesome.
▲ tan: start at the bottom and work your way up
don't haul butt and do a crappy job, but do go quickly and thoroughly because it will start drying (one of the biggest reasons i love this product). i spray/spritz the tanner directly on my skin vs on the mitt because then i feel like the product doesn't get wasted/absorbed. and yes, i start with my legs, then arms, then chest, neck, and upper back. honestly i really only tan the places peeps see (i guess if we were going swimming i'd tan more so it didn't look funny! haha).
▲ i don't tan my face:
this may seem weird, but i don't. i tried for a few weeks, but broke out and the hubs said that looked too dark and unnatural anyways. so i just use the bronzer i mentioned here. everyone's skin is a little different though, so maybe you will be fine using it on your face-or using the special face tanners. i know Fake Bake carries them, i just hate putting more products on my face, plus i am an avid face-washer every night...so i haven't bought any. i feel like it would just get washed off every night, and i feel like my bronzer does the job fine.
▲ clean up:
you definitely don't want your hands and knuckles to look darker than the rest of your body! this is another reason why i love the mitt so much-it protects your hand and is easy to take on and off as you switch hands. if you do get more product than you like on these trouble spots (knuckles, knees, elbows) i've found that just taking a dab (i'm talking small here) of lotion and rubbing it in cleans it up nicely. if you somehow get a lot on your hands just pour a little baking soda into your palm and wash with water. totally washes the product away!
▲ stay moisturized:
one of the best ways to keep your tan looking smooth and even is to keep your skin moisturized with lotion. i use Malibu Tan Hemp Golden Glow, but really any lotion works i believe. HOWEVER, picking one with a little bit of tint will help keep your tan glow at its best!
▲ after the first shower:
it might be silly to add, but i wanted to because i feel it's important: DON'T shower with a white towel, after your first shower, after tanning. ha ha, so did you get that? there is always a little product that will get washed away on that first shower after self-tanning, so be aware of that! i haven't ever noticed it on any other showers throughout the week, just my first.

(all photos of me are unedited except for the added text, and our wedding pic)

so i self tan once a week, and yes it looks faded by the end of the week. not a ton but you can tell it's going away. if i am going out somewhere or on a date with my man, i will do a quick touch up after a shower, but nothing more. i buy a bottle maybe every 3 months or so. i seriously love this stuff!

sunless tanning link ♥ {super helpful, check them out too!!}
Fake Bake official site
Maskcara tutorial >>update 3/18/14: Maskcara posted another awesome product here!
▲ Kinch Life tutorial
Barefoot Blonde here and here
Cara Loren tutorial here and here
Because of Jackie tutorial
The Skinny Confidential tips and tricks via Weslie Christensen (<---totally lived next door to her when we lived in PG, Utah...would have been cool to have KNOWN that then! haha)
Kandee Johnson tutorial
One Little Momma tips and tricks
▲ some YouTube tutorials for Fake Bake Flawless here and here


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