Tips for Applying Sunless Tanner


The Basic Rule of Sunless Tanner (whether you’re using gels, lotions or sprays)

Never go more than 2 shades darker than your natural skin color (otherwise you’ll end up looking cheap, fake, orange and like an oompa loompa…none of which are attractive)


Back side view of a young, blonde woman's perfect body.

The Proper Way to Apply Sunless Tanners

Exfoliate.  This step is very important yet a lot of people skip over it.  Exfoliating helps ensure an even and smooth application.  Exfoliating scrubs away any dry and dead skin which is important in achieving a flawless application.  Dry areas (such as elbows and knees) absorb the tanner more than other areas therefore, those dry areas end up looking darker.  You want to exfoliate everywhere but you want to exfoliate the most in those rough and dry areas.  Also, when exfoliating, don’t use an exfoliator that is very oily or greasy.  These types of exfoliators leave behind a greasy/oily residue which repels tanner.  The best exfoliating method to use in this case is plain sugar (or plain sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water).  You can apply this standing in the shower without the water running because the dry exfoliation method actually does a better job exfoliating than doing it under the running shower water.

Shave or Wax.  You should shave or wax prior to applying sunless tanner.  If you wait until after applying the sunless tanner to do either of these, you’re going to mess it up.  (And I don’t mean 5 minutes later….later in the day, later that night, etc.)  Shaving and waxing will actually lift up some of your tanner and will leave you looking uneven and/or blotchy.

Dry Yourself.  Make sure your body is completely dry before applying any sunless tanner.  Also, do not apply lotion prior to applying sunless tanner except on dry and rough areas (such as elbows and knees).

Protect your Nails.  Prior to applying sunless tanner, you should apply a little bit of Vaseline to your nails and toe nails.  If you don’t, the sunless tanner can stain nails or get around the nail beds and cuticles leaving you with dirty looking nails (which no one should ever want).  This is also important in protecting your manicure and pedicure.  If you want to avoid this all together, slap on a pair of latex gloves and you won’t need to worry about getting orange hands or nails.  (But you’ll still have to protect your toenails).

Top to Bottom.  The proper way to apply sunless tanner is from the top of your body to the bottom of your body, not bottom to top.  (You can dilute your self tanner for those rough and dry areas by mixing it with some lotion too…if you aren’t using the spray sunless tanner.)

Clean Up.  After you’ve applied your sunless tanner, take a damp washcloth and gently buff those rough and dry areas (such as the elbows and knees).  This will help them from ending up darker than other areas of your body.  It’s also very important to carefully wash your hands after applying sunless tanner.  If you don’t you will end up with orange palms and markings between your fingers.  But be very careful when washing them because if you take your hands and dive them into running water you’ll most likely end up splashing further up your arms.  It’s not a bad idea to exfoliate your hands after applying sunless tanner either….this just ensures you really got it all.

Let it Dry.  Let the sunless tanner dry completely.  Do not try to throw on clothes immediately after applying the sunless tanner or you will end up staining your clothes or messing up your tan (or both).



The Quick Version

  • Exfoliate
  • Shave or wax
  • Dry yourself completely (no lotion except on dry areas such as elbows and knees)
  • Apply Vaseline to nails or slap on a pair of latex gloves
  • Apply from top to bottom (do your face separately if you are using a special facial sunless tanner)
  • Buff rough and dry spots with a damp washcloth after applying sunless tanner
  • Wash/Exfoliate hands (very carefully) after you are completely done applying sunless tanner
  • Let it dry

D.I.Y. Face Primer Cream


Save yourself some money and create your own moisturizing face primer!


  • 2 tbsp. aloe vera gel (go for natural and not the green)
  • 2 tbsp. moisturizing cream
  • 1 tbsp. foundation (that matches your skin color)


  • Combine all the ingredients; mix well until smooth
  • Transfer the mixture into a jar or container for storage
  • Apply to clean skin and let fully dry before applying makeup

Moisturizing Orange Face Mask Recipe


Moisturize dry and dull skin with this yummy facial mask!


  • 1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal (or instant unflavored oatmeal)
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp. plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works best)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. dried orange peel



  • Combine all ingredients; mix well
  • Spread an even layer of mixture onto face (avoiding eye area)
  • Let sit for 15-30 minutes (the longer the better)
  • Rinse with warm water

*Can last up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm


I recently purchased the boxed set of Dr.Jart+ beauty balms from when they were having the chic week sale.  This is the first beauty balm that I have tried from the collection and so far, it’s a keeper!

I normally use Smashbox’s beauty balm and even though I love that one, I also always love trying other brands as well.  I’m a big fan of Smashbox’s beauty balm because it offers great coverage which is very important to me.  I was concerned about whether or not this one would off the same coverage (or even enough coverage).  Turns out it does : )

I used this for the first time the other day and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The consistency is creamy with a medium thickness.  It applies smoothly and does an excellent job at hiding imperfections as well as evening out skin tones.  It also feels moisturizing and left my face with a little bit of a fresh and dewy appearance (which I often like).

I did not reapply this at any point in the day and after an 8.5 hour workday it still seemed to be holding up pretty well.  It did wear off slightly around a couple of blemishes but it didn’t completely expose them.

The only downside to this product is that it comes in only one shade.  I feel like the shade it’s most suitable for is fair/light to light-medium.  It works for me now, but come summer when I actually have a tan (or start using sunless tanners again) I feel like it could be too light for me.  I did try dusting a little bit of bare minerals bronzer over top of it to see if I could adjust the color without it looking ridiculous and it turned out nice.  It toned down my bronzer a little (which I feel like can look too harsh otherwise) and in turn the bronzer gave it a little extra kiss of color.

I’m anxious to try out the other ones in the kit being that I liked this one so much!



  • Long lasting
  • SPF 45
  • Medium coverage
  • Leaves face looking fresh and slightly dewy (not good if you prefer a matte finish)


  • Only comes in one color….and it’s probably going to be too light come summer


Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation


Average Price: $36.00

I normally never use liquid foundations and generally just stick with powder/mineral foundations.  I have a wedding coming up that I am in and was on the search for a foundation that won’t budge over the course of the day or night.  After reading a lot of reviews, I picked this one from Make Up Forever.  Most of the reviews were great, all praising this products staying power, etc.

This product is supposed to be waterproof which was important for me because the weddings location is in a place that is often hot and humid, so I don’t want to take any chances of having my makeup “melt” off throughout the course of the day when the weather heats up.  It also boasts to control oil and shine and offers complete coverage with a powdery finish.

I decided to try this product out on a regular day to see how it held up.  I applied primer prior to applying this (Smashbox).  This foundation applied smoothly and easily.  I had a couple of small reddish blemishes that I wanted covered and after reading the reviews on this product, I figured it would get the job done.  I have to say, I was slightly let down.  It didn’t cover these blemishes in their entirely, as I had hoped it would.  Don’t get me wrong, it covered them to an extent, but not completely.  The reviews also made it seem like I wasn’t going to need to pair this product up with concealer, but that was not the case.  Pairing this up with concealer helped to conceal the blemishes but I was just hoping that this product alone would get the job done.  It does settle with a powdery matte finish.

I wore this over the course of a work day and by mid-afternoon, it was starting to wear off a little (especially around the blemishes).  This was also a let down because I wasn’t even in a hot and humid climate and the foundation started to wear off during the course of an  8 hour workday.  It did however control my face from having any oil or shine which I definitely liked.  (Great for those that suffer from T-Zone oils!)

I’m still going to give this a try on the wedding day but it definitely isn’t holding up to the extent of “greatness” I thought it would.  For day to day makeup, I’m sticking to my normal bare minerals foundation because I think it lasts about the same length and also controls oil and shine (and I think it covers blemishes better).  So on the day of the wedding, I will apply a light dusting of bare minerals over top the Make Up Forever foundation just for added security and staying power.



  • Waterproof
  • Applies smoothly and evenly
  • Controls oil and shine


  • Doesn’t cover blemishes entirely
  • Wears off over the course of the day

Bare Minerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15


I loooove this foundation!  I started using it years ago and was amazed by how well it works.  I tried straying away from it a couple times only because I wanted to try different products and always ended up coming back to this one.

I have fussy skin.  I tend to get random breakouts and blemishes, which I can’t stand (obviously).  Prior to using this, I used to get them a lot more.  I found that when I would stray away from this and try other products (user cheaper ones) I would instantly start getting breakouts until I stopped using the cheap stuff.

This feels very lightweight on my skin and never looks caked on or heavy.  If you are looking for a natural looking foundation, look no further, this is it!  I can wear this stuff alone or over top of another foundation to set it.  On days when I don’t really feel like doing my makeup to the full extent, I just dust this over my face.  It covers blemishes and an uneven skin tones or imperfections.

I highly recommend this product!


  • Lightweight
  • Doesn’t cause breakouts (at least not for my fussy skin)
  • Covers blemishes and imperfections
  • Evens out skin tones
  • Good selection of shades to pick from
  • Long lasting
  • SPF 15


  • At this point….I really can’t think of any!

Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Powder Foundation SPF 20


I was flipping through channels one night and stumbled onto a QVC special with Josie Maran.  I’m a somewhat new fan to Josie Maran’s line of products but the ones that I have tried, I always seem to like.  So I started watching and they introduced this product.  I was pretty intrigued by it and thought it looked neat and like something I would like so I decided to give it a try and order it.  (I ordered it from Sephora though instead of QVC.)

I ordered the compact in light/medium and it seems to be a good match for me.

I tried it out and my overall impression of the product is that I like it!

When I first applied it, it looked too light for my skin and looked a little powdery.  I like it alone for less than a minute (didn’t touch or fuss over it) and let it do its thing.  Sure enough, it changed and ended up matching my skin color pretty much spot on.  Yay!

I don’t think it offers the fullest coverage though.  I had a couple small blemishes (more on the reddish side) that I was hoping to cover up with it and unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  It definitely helped to disguise them but I wouldn’t say that it completely hid them as I would have liked it to.  Now, it also could have been an operator error on my part and maybe I should have kept applying it.  However, I didn’t really think that I should be need to “cake it on” to hide the blemishes.  Oh well, I still like it!

I think my biggest dislike for this product isn’t actually the product itself but the compact that the product comes in.  I have to say that this is probably one of the cheapest compacts I have ever dealt with.  (And I’ve used a lot!)  I feel like I have gotten cheap drugstore brand compacts in the past that were of a better quality than this compact.  I’m afraid that if I ever dropped this thing it would crack and instantly break.  I feel like just opening and closing it will cause it to break if I am not careful with it.  Also, the sponge that is included is very thin and seems like it is going to wear out and crumble very quickly.  Of course, a new sponge can always be purchased to replace this thin one once it wears out.  I just feel like for $34.00 it should be of better quality.


  • Changes to match your skin color/tune
  • Applies evenly and smoothly
  • Lightweight
  • Doesn’t look caked on or thick


  • Cheap compact
  • Thin cheap sponge
  • Doesn’t cover blemishes completely (at least not the redder ones!)

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35

Smashbox bb

This is my favorite BB Cream that I’ve used so far.

I like a little bit of a heavier coverage and this provides that.  I used Too Faced BB Cream prior to this one and I liked this one a lot more.  I feel like it lasts most of the day but I definitely think it starts to wear off mid afternoon.  (Not completely but I notice less coverage.)

For someone who prefers wearing less makeup and a very natural look you could easily getting away with wearing just this.


  • SPF 35 – sun protection
  • Medium coverage
  • Natural looking
  • Hides blemishes and imperfections


  • Wears off mid day

Tarte Awaken Your Complexion 4-Piece Customizable Complexion Kit

Tarte set

Set contains:

  • 0.07 oz. Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
  • 0.07 oz. Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
  • 0.23 oz. Pure Maracuja Oil
  • 0.28 oz. Maracuja Creaseless Concealer
  • Bamboo Concealer Brush

As I said before, I’m a fan of Tarte.  I was looking for a new concealer when I stumbled upon this kit.  I know that I would much rather get multiple beauty products rather than just one, so when I have the opportunity to buy a kit like this, I usually take it.  (I was already planning on buying concealer….so the kit just makes sense.)

The kit costs $32….the concealer alone costs $24….5 products versus 1 product….

A lot of people are skeptical of the kits because they aren’t the full-sized product.  The concealer in this kit is 0.28 oz. and a very decent size.  It also helps that the concealers coverage is thick so you don’t need a lot and a little goes a long way.  You also get a bamboo concealer brush with it. (I still often end up applying it with my finger though.)

The C-brighter eye treatment is a small sample sized packet.  Once again, a little goes a long way.  It did seem to make my eyes appear brighter when I used it, however, it wasn’t enough to last over a week and I feel like I don’t see true results in less than a week.

The Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder is just like a mineral veil.  The jar looks tiny but I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and I still have plenty left.  It gives me a nice finished matte look and gets rid of any shine/oil.  However, if you prefer a more dewy glow/look I wouldn’t suggest this.

The Pure Maracuja Oil is great for dry skin!  I also dab a little under my eyes and it seems to brighten them up a little bit.  A word to the wise, the jar has an eyedropper style dispenser.  I thought this was just a wand and it took me a couple of uses to realize that you push the gold button in the center down to fill the dropper and to dispense it on the desired area.  (Trust me, this works MUCH better than just swabbing it across your face like I initially did.)

Overall, this set is well worth the money.


  • Much cheaper than buying each of these products individually
  • 8 different color shades to pick from
  • Good for your skin
  • A little goes a long way (this kit has lasted me weeks so far and there’s still plenty left-aside from the eye cream)


  • Wish the eye cream was larger