Friday Five: How to Fake A Summer Tan

asos bikini in tulum mexico at mi amor

Sugar Body Scrub | Tanning Mitt | Sunless Tanner | Body Oil | Shimmer Oil

So, it’s summer. Which means every girl in America is going to be competing for the best tan. If you’re like me, you’re not going to win that battle. As every Midwest girl knows, not seeing the sun for 7 months really starts you off on the wrong foot. A very pale, wrong foot at that. But you know how they say “fake it til you make it”? I’m not a fan of phrases like that usually but I swear there’s something to this one. So today, let’s talk about how to fake a summer tan!

And here’s the swimsuit I’m wearing – the top is $23 and the bottoms are $29! I linked to a few more affordable options too!

As a teen, I loved tanning… without sunscreen. I cringe at the memory of some of my sunburns (my mom can attest to that). I’m white. I’ve never had beautiful olive skin despite the decades I’ve spent wishing I did. My skin reaches a point where it won’t tan anymore. Also, skin cancer. I know, I know. Preach to the choir, eye roll, or sigh – those are all legit responses. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little wiser. I’m proud to say I didn’t get burned on my trips to Tulum and Riviera Maya. Insert the hands raised emoji. Lastly, sitting in the sun for hours can sometimes be uncomfortable. It goes hand in hand with working on those crow’s feet as I squint to keep the sun out of my light sensitive eyes. I like to reserve sweat dripping down my chest for the gym. At this point in life, I’d rather just look like I put in the work without actually doing it. I believe that’s called efficiency. Younger girls, start taking notes. And please, for the love of god, start a skincare routine.

So what are the products I swear by to fake a good tan? Well first and foremost, sunscreen. Matt got severely burnt 2 weeks before our wedding and started shedding like a lizard. I was picking up pieces of his skin ALL over the house. It was dis-gust-ing. He jokingly said he was getting new skin for our marriage. One guess as to if I was amused by that or not. Between finalizing headcount for our venue, putting the finishing touches on our rehearsal dinner, and remembering my vows, I had no time for being “trolled”. Thank goodness the groom wears a suit. Now, I constantly remind him to put on sunscreen (and that tanning oil isn’t sunscreen nor does SPF 4 really do anything). But enough about that. What can you do when you’re at home? These 5 steps:

1. Body scrub.

I use this Sugar Body Scrub once a week to exfoliate my body. I’ve been using it since 2014! It’s luxurious and smells like heaven. Shed those dead skin cells, girl! Be your best self! This scrub will automatically soften your skin and get it to its best place possible. This is the foundation for steps 2 through 5. Trust me, you’re going to want it. And at $40? It’s a small price to pay for feeling like you just spent a day at the spa!

2. Sunless tanner mitt.

I tweeted something about sunless tanner always being a gamble and y’all seemed to really like it. It’s true. The concept of rubbing a brown substance into your skin before bed and waking up in the morning a whole new skin tone is exciting and frightening. There is almost no way to tell if you effed it up in the process. And worse, if you did, there’s no way to fix it. You have to wait a few days, or maybe even a week, and hope no one examines your palms closely.

But here is how to make it as fool proof as possible. Use a mitt. I’m not kidding you, this foam mitt is the key to success. I’m no pro to self tanning because I honestly, just don’t care most of the time (everyone in Chicago is pale). However, when I’m headed on a beach trip or when summer roles around, I dabble. And the mitt keeps me streak free. Make sure to rub it in really good. In fact, there’s no such thing as over rubbing. If only $6.50 could guarantee me success at everything I did in life…

3. Sunless tanner.

If you buy good product, you won’t come out looking like an over-bronzed body builder or a walking navel orange. No one wants that. My 2 favorites are St. Tropez and Tanceuticals because it has fewer chemicals. Don’t know why I say that? See this post on why you should be reading the ingredients in your beauty products. It’s shocking. If you go with Tanceuticals, get the dark! I used it and I’m pale and it was totally fine. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend this starter kit too – it’s an amazing deal.

4. Body oil.

When it comes to maintaining that tan, whether from a bottle or natural, hydrate! Body lotion is good but let’s take it to the next level. I use a few pumps of this body oil year round and mix it into my body lotion. Kind of like how I described using face oil. Thanks to body oil, I was finally able to get rid of my dry skin after the move to Chicago. I was using about 20 pumps for my whole body at one point this winter but it was the only thing that worked after trying everything else. With summer here, I’ll maybe use 6-8 as I’m moisturizing (which I do morning and night). You can just use this with whatever lotion you’re already using.

5. Shimmer oil.

Another fab Beautycounter product: Glow Shimmer Oil. Rub a few pumps of this on your legs after you’ve done everything else. It gives your skin a little shimmer and a very slight tan. Note this isn’t as noticeable as sunless tanner and washes off. If gambling with brown elbows and palms isn’t your thing, shimmer oil just might be. Even the packaging is pretty!

What did you think? Are you going to fake that summer tan? Are you already using some of these products or have a favorite?

21 thoughts on “Friday Five: How to Fake A Summer Tan

  1. I used to do too much sun tanning myself and now that I’m in my 30’s, I’m all about the sunless tanner! And can we talk about how fabulous you look in that suit?!

    xo, Sara

  2. Ahhh love all of the products you shared and totally OBSESSED with that bathing suit!

  3. St Tropez is definitely my favorite tanning brand! Once you find products that work well for you, it seriously is effortless!

  4. I grew up north of Chicago so I feel you. By February my legs were so white they looked blue. Sunless tanners have come a long way. I do my legs just enough for a glow. Going to give the St Tropez a try.

  5. Some really good products and advice on how to create a good quality fake tan… I gave up on tanning years ago, fake or real but this is useful in order to take good care of your skin!

  6. This is awesome! Last year I had this big obsession with wanting to get tan and never ended up doing anything to achieve that. Love your blog by the way <3

  7. I’m super pale and always mess up self tanner. It’s horrible because it’s so noticeable on my skin tone. I think I need to try a mitt, as you’ve suggested.

Let me know what you think!