Living in Southern California means wearing skirts or shorts year-round and rocking the Gucci sunglasses, which means trying to keep that golden California glow. I’m just not one of those girls that looks good in shorts or a swimsuit without a bit of a tan. I’m very careful with my skin so I always wear sunscreen. My skin is fairly light skin, but I do like to have a tan in the summer, so I’ve become sort of a self-tan expert. I don’t want to be really bronze, just a hint of colour that is natural looking and not orange. I’ve made every mistake you can think of trying to find the self-tanners that I like and learn how to apply them correctly, and I finally feel like I have a good spectrum of products and tips to help me achieve the exact look I want.

Here are some of my favourites at the moment:

 Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub:

The first step to self-tanning is to shave and exfoliate. If you don’t exfoliate you’ll have very uneven colour. I love these sugar body scrubs by Tree Hut. They are perfect for exfoliating before self-tanning and they smell heavenly! They are inexpensive and leave your skin feeling soft and polished. Tropical Mango and Brazilian Nut are my faves.

Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes: Kate Somerville makes great skin products that are so worth the splurge! These Tanning Towelettes are so easy to use and the colour is very natural. The colour lasts 4-5 days and fades naturally without looking fake (very important). Apply in a circular motion and wash your hands afterwards. Perfect for travel too. I also love Kate’s Body Glow Sunscreen. It’s a lightweight cream that feels so elegant. It contains antioxidants and has a slight shimmer which adds a subtle glow to your skin. Shake the tube before applying to make sure the product is mixed. With a 20 spf its perfect for everyday use.

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self-Tanning for face and décolleté:

Clarins has been a leader in the self-tanning department for years and this is one of their most highly rated facial self-tanners. It gives a lovely light tan to the face. It’s a lightly scented lotion which leaves your skin amazingly soft and moisturized.  Apply with a cotton ball before bedtime. You can’t make a mistake with this one.

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse:

This bronze tinted foaming mousse is a self-tanning favourite. It’s easy to see where you are applying it. The results are a natural, streak free tan with no orange colour. One application gives a nice natural glow. Apply at night and wash off when you shower in the morning. Lasts for 4-5 days. I recommend buying the mitt. It makes application much easier.

Jergens Natural Glow:

Perfect for daily use to maintain your tan.

You can also tan gradually by mixing your self-tanner with a light moisturizer and using daily. I always have wet wipes on hand to go over elbows, ankles and palms.

Go lightly on self-tanner to avoid making mistakes. If you do, make a mistake here are a few tips to help:

  1. Scrub the area gently with a good exfoliator with micro beads or pumice.
  2. Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup baking soda. Cut a lemon in half and dip in the baking soda mixture. Rub on streaky areas to lighten them.
  3. If your tan is too dark all over, apply baby oil and wait for 10 or so minutes, then soak in the tub. This will cause the top layer of colour to loosen and lift making it easier to scrub off.

Finally, do remember that self-tanners don’t protect you from the sun, so remember to use sunscreen!