A Pale Girl's Guide to Self Tanning - Honestly Hannah

A Pale Girl's Guide to Self Tanning

I NEVER thought I would be writing this post, but I recently jumped into the world of self tanning. Let me say this - I am naturally SO fair. Some people say they're fair skinned, but no. Not as fair as me. I never tried self tanning until recently when I realized how common it actually is. Really - most people you see do not have an actual real tan. Self tanning is a thousand times safer than sitting in a tanning bed (which I've proudly never done and never will) or baking in the sun. I'm about to give you to down low on self tanning skin that's fair. Really fair. Yes, it's totally possible!

First, find the right tanner. 

My biggest concern was looking orange or unnatural. Here's my thing with self tanning: Since I'm so fair, I didn't want to look like... well, not myself. I didn't want a self tanner that was going to make me look ridiculously dark and not like me.

I did a TON of research on the best self tanners for fair skin, and I finally found one that seemed to give fair skin a natural, tan glow without being too dark AND not looking orange. Nobody wants to look orange. The Fake Bake Flawless Self Tanning Liquid is the one I finally decided on and let me tell you... it's fab!

Fake Bake gives SUCH a natural tan, especially for fair skin. It's so easy to accidentally look orange or just waaaaay too dark if you're fair, but this one really gets the job done. It's simple to use and the color that it leaves is absolutely beautiful! However, if you're looking for a darker tan, you can always apply multiple coats of this to build up a much deeper color. Personally, I usually stick to one coat because it looks super natural, but I always get compliments on my slight tan, and nobody seems to even realize it's fake (total win)!

Shower, Shave, Exfoliate

If you've read anything on self tanning, you know that the whole shower, shave, exfoliate thing is really important. I cannot stress this enough, but if you're fair, you NEED to take extra care with this. When you have dry patches, more tanner will cling to it and those areas will get much darker than the rest of your body. It's obviously especially noticeable if you're fair. You can also easily see any flakiness on your skin if you don't exfoliate properly. 

I've been exfoliating with this body scrub and it does a great job removing any dead skin and leaving my skin silky smooth!

Wait 12 hours (give or take) after showering

This is something that took me a few tries to discover, BUT, if you don't do this, the pores on your body (particularly your legs) won't have enough time to close and you'll get those ugly brown bumps where the tanner has seeped into your pores. If I'm planning on self tanning, I'll usually shower, shave, and exfoliate in the morning and apply the tanner at night so I can just sleep in it.

Properly take care of you tan to make it last

After applying the tanner and then rinsing off the color guard in the morning, you are not done caring for your tan. In order to make sure you tan fades naturally and lasts long, you need to moisturize. 

Right after rinsing off the color guard in the morning, I apply this super simple scent-free moisturizer. The next day, I go in with the Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer (a little trick) and apply that all over. This is a sneaky little trick of mine to make a tan last longer. This moisturizer has a little bit of DHA (the active ingredient in tanners), but it's much lower so it creates a gradual tan. I find that applying a gradual tanner while I have self tanner on really helps extend the life of my tan!

What's your favorite self tanner? Do you have any secret tricks? Let me know in the comments!

xo Hannah


  1. What is the color guard you speak of in this article? Is it a separate product? Thanks in advance!

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