How to self-tan at home (step-by-step!)

Self-tanner-headerAs much as I love the California sun, and I’ve always said to people I’ve been born to live down in the warmth — I don’t love sitting out in the sun and baking my skin all day long. For one being the obvious skin cancer, and secondly I burn easily, and I get bored of laying out.

A couple of people in person asked me how I get so dark, when I tell them I use self-tanner, they’re almost always shocked at how natural it looks. So today I’m showing you, whether or not you’re super pale or already have a nice olive skin tone how to apply self tanner, and what tanners I recommend without sitting in the sun baking your skin with all those UV rays ruining and wrinkling your skin up!

favourite-self-tannersI have a number of favourite self-tanners that I use (bareMinerals Faux Tan Body, St. Moriz mousse in dark, Fake Bake flawless darker, and finally Clarins Self-tanning instant gel + Liquid Bronze +  is what I used on my wedding day!). Everyone is different and prefers different brands. But for the sake of this review, I will be only using one self-tanner to keep things simple, the bareMinerals Faux Tan Body.

For the best and most natural looking tan you need to start off by preparing your skin before the application. I’ve been using a self-tanner for 5-ish years and I am always being complimented on how natural it looks!

Prep your skin:

Exoliating-mittsExoliate in the shower
My skin is on the normal to dry side, so I want to scrub off all the dry dead skin before applying a fresh coat of self-tanner. I would suggest hopping in the shower to shave, then exfoliate your skin with an exfoliator mitt, and a body scrub without oil in it. Oil will hydrate your skin and leave it too moisturized therefore your tan will not stick on, and it will apply patchy!
Tip: I pick up my exfoliating mitts at the dollar store! No need to spend any more than a dollar on these.

philosophy-grace-moisturizeApply moisturizer to stubborn dry areas
Once you’re dried off get out your thick moisturizer (I like to use body butters) and apply it to the tops and bottoms of your feet and in between your toes, apply more to your knee caps, and elbows.
Tip: I use either philosophy whipped body butter or lush’s dream cream

Self-tanner-and-mittBuy gloves and a tanning mitt
Since I’m scared about having the palms of my hands dyed, I like to use disposable gloves underneath the tanning mitts.
Tip: You can pick up disposable gloves anywhere, and I found that the tanning mitts are beneficial for an even tan — those can be purchased online (I get mine from eBay) or at Sephora, Ulta, Shoppers Drug Mart.

How to tan:



Self-tan-one-sideI prefer to work my way up the body in sections so I don’t miss spots. I either work in circular motions or in straight lines upwards/downwards. Use a full length mirror to make sure you didn’t miss any spots. To tan your back (it’s tough around the shoulder blades/spine area) ask someone to do it for you, or if your left arm is super flexible like mine, you’re grand. For the last picture shown above, I only did one half of my body so you can truly tell how dark it can get. I like to be extra dark, but you don’t have to apply as much tanner as I do. What’s great about self tanners is that you can go as light or as dark as you want, depending on how much product you use.

Tip: If you want to get extra dark for a special occasion, allow your self tanner to dry for the recommended 6-8 hours, then apply a second coat of another product (for this, I prefer to use Fake Bake’s product). Sometimes I just use this on my legs, or just on my chest area. It certainly makes a difference. If you don’t wait until your first layer is dry, you’ll ruin/streak the tan.

Leave feet/hands for lastSelf-tan-handsToes/hands are the most difficult areas on the body to tan as that is where you can ultimately see what mistakes you made. Finally after a number of years, I have perfected how to apply self tanner to those areas without them looking unnatural. Here’s how!

  1. HANDS: With my rubber glove still on one hand (your left hand say), apply a bunch of hand cream to your right. Don’t rub it in the entire way. We’re going to act like the tanner is like a tinted moisturizer.
  2. You can either pump out thesmallestamountofproductonto your glove (not even 1/8th of a pump!), or put the tanning mitt back on. I do either/or:
    1. With the mitt, since it already has tanner on it, lightly sweep over your hand. Make sure your hand is in a ‘claw’ shape so you don’t miss the creases.
    2. Or, with the disposable glove, I feel like I have more control and it’s like I’m using the tips of my fingers to rub it in, and get it all even.
    3. Even better tip: apply a small amount of tanner to a makeup brush and blend it in. It applies seamlessly!
  3. Once the tanner is applied to your hands, grab a tissue and go over the stubborn areas and wipe them off! I always wipe off my tanner on my knuckles, nail area, otherwise I feel like it gets too dark.
  4. Same goes for the wrists, make sure you don’t apply too much, and make it flow to your hand in a gradient so to speak, so it looks natural.
  5. FEET: Gosh, these are always the worst to do. I apply it the same way, but you really need to take your time doing it. And make sure you have tons of lotion on, not all the way rubbed in. I mean, coating it. It’s going to look ridiculous and you’re going to second-guess me,  but trust me on this. You don’t want orange feet. I don’t really do the back part of my ankles/heel since you’re putting so little tanner on your feet, you don’t need to put it there (as much). Follow the same steps as on your hands, but be more cautious and use a tissue to wipe a lot of it off, especially if you’re going to be wearing sandals. Damped the tissue and run it along the base/side of your foot if you’ve applied too much, again—we’re going for the gradient look here, not a stark tan. If you think you’ve applied too little, stop. You’ve applied just enough. I’ve made the mistake of going back in and re-applying thinking I was going to be too light.

Wear loose clothing and allow your tan to dry
Full-body-after-selftanStay naked for as long as you can, or until the tanner dries, about 15 minutes. I tend to do this at night time when I’m getting ready for bed.
Tip: Wear loose dark clothing – the guide may leave marks on your lighter clothes but it will wash out.

Wash the guide off in the morning
A self tanner usually has a guide so you know where you’ve applied your tan. You need to wash it off in the morning and then you’re left with a tan for about 5-7 days.

Self tanners I recommend

Faux-Tan-BodyYes, I use all the self tanners listed below on my face, with no issues. Tip: If you’re more comfortable with sunless tanner, try layering them to get a deeper colour. Once summer hits, I apply my first coat of self tanner and apply a second brand 4-6 hours later and I’m SUPER dark. If you apply too soon, the colour will streak.

bareMinerals Faux Tan Body ($26USD / $32CDN)
Pros: Although I listed this as a pro, I love how quick it dries, and I don’t feel sticky afterwards. You do have to work at a faster pace than if you were to use mousse sprays. It has a really nice smell (like a food, but I can’t put my finger on it. Apple?). It feels moisturizing when blending it into the skin.
Cons: It dries quickly, so I wouldn’t recommend this to people who are new to tanning. Although, if you’re concerned about that I would recommend you mix it with your moisturizer for a lighter glow. So don’t miss out on this product simply because of the drying time.

St. Moriz mousse in dark ($8.13USD)
Pros: The cheapest self-tanner I’ve used, and the one I reach for the most.
Cons: If this even counts as a con, it’s rarely sold at Ulta, and so I have to buy it on eBay and it takes a few weeks to get in since it comes from the United Kingdom.

Clarins self-tanning instant gel ($37USD /$37CDN)
Pros: Smells good, doesn’t leave a sticky residue and is relatively available at many stores.
Cons: If you use too much you will turn more orange, so you have to be cautious. It also applies clear so it’s easy to miss spots.

Fake Bake flawless darker ($30USD at Ulta but $13 on Amazon!)
Pros: Excellent for layering. It has a fine mist and a nice reddish undertone so it’s mimics an authentic tan.
Cons: I don’t like to use mists (I find that it’s a bit messier). Other than that, it’s definitely in my top 3 of must-buy tanners.

Prolong your tan

Simple and to the point, to prolong your tan make sure you moisturize every day. If you notice it is wearing off and want to remove the rest, hop in the shower and exfoliate and start the whole regimen all over again :)

Self-tannerDisclaimer: I asked to the PR company if I could review the bareMinerals faux tan body because I am a fan of self-tanners and wanted to try this one out. 

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New Mom Basket

New-Mom-BasketNicole (the person I refer to as my neighbour all the time here on the blog) and I have been walking our dogs together for close to a year. Alfie simply hates Penelope aka Nelly, (she’s half chihuahua and half weiner dog) and any time he sees Nelly he barks at her for a good 2 minutes straight, then completely avoids her when we walk together. Poor thing! All Nelly wants is another buddy!

We used to walk only in the evenings, but now that Nicole is on maternity leave with her first child we have been walking upwards to 3 and 4 times a day. Yes, Alfie still has terrible behaviour even if I simply mention Nelly or Nicole’s name. After almost a year of daily walking, you think my dog would get used to them. He can be a saucy bugger when he wants to especially if I give any attention to Nelly.

Since I’ve known Nicole for a while, we’ve grown close talking about all sorts of hilarious, girly things and telling each other stories about our day, on our daily walks. I wanted to do something extra special for her when her newborn arrived. With the obvious of bringing over home cooked meals to their home, I also wanted to put together a special basket just for her. Everyone spoils a baby when it first arrives, but I wanted to spoil Nicole a little bit. So I put together a small basket for her to enjoy! I reached out to a couple of companies (as I knew she loved bareMinerals mascara) and they also donated 4 items. For the most part, everything was purchased by me. I’m not a Mom yet, so I have no idea if this is the kinda stuff new Mom’s would like, but it’s a couple of necessities, and other fun things for her to enjoy.

The baby is now a week old, and I can finally blog about my secret I’ve been holding out from my neighbour. She wasn’t sure if she was going to delivery early, so I put this basket together for her in late March. I’ve been dyin’ to give it to her ever since. But I wanted to wait until I knew she really needed it— after the baby was home with her!

So here it is, the New Mom Basket:

Free-Hugs-New-MomSo much fun stuff! A couple of things for the baby too, can’t forget the little one! I picked up the basket from TJ Maxx not too long ago, perfect size for all I wanted to put in it. Most of the items I picked up from Target and luckily so much of it was on sale.

Baby-clothesThen a couple of things for the baby. The free hugs onesie and the newborn leggings were on sale. Rachel is the designer and creator behind Lucy & Leo  (the company named after her two little cousins) so she graciously sent over a little tub of Tender Tush for the baby in case he ever has a sore little butt and needs some extra TLC. Lucy & Leo is a company based out of New York who also sell the most adorable organic baby clothing, along with the Mommy and Baby skincare items.

Whats-in-the-New-Mom-BasketInside the basket:

Lucy & Leo Tender Tush, 2 pens from $1 section at Target, Altoids mints, Wet ones, Vitamin Water (lemonade flavour), mini Dove deodorant, eos lip balm, 2 packs of extra gum (for fresh breath!), 2 sticky notes from $1 section at Target, eos hand cream in cucumber, a box of tissues, a bottle of water, cucumber scented hand sanitizer, 2 clothing items for baby, Lash Domination by bareMinerals (Nicole’s favourite mascara!) along with a bareMinerals marvelous Moxie lip gloss, and bareMinerals Well-Rested face & eye brightener, a bottle of diet coke (one of her drinks of choice), and a bit of chocolate.

New-Mom-Basket-oddsnendsI thought a couple of these things would be handy to have in the main living area when she’s with her newborn. I know when my friend had her first baby last year she gave me this great idea to have a station set up where she would be for most of the day, which included a lot of baby stuff, but even pens, notebooks, hand cream in case she needed access to it. 

New-Mom-Basket-It had been sitting like this for a number of weeks. So I had some time to add a couple of more goodies to her basket once she delivered. Added: Lindt white chocolate balls, a fun light magazine to read, a tide-to-go pen, and a little arrow necklace.

New-Mommy-BasketI can imagine no one wants to cook after having a newborn. So I decided to spoil them a little bit with some the chicken stir fry I LOVE, blueberry muffins, fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s put in a $1 store glass cylinder vase, and this gift basket I put together for my friend. It doesn’t have to be expensive, most of the basket game from Target and even then most was on sale as I already stated above. The cellophane + blue ribbon was just from the $1 store! Plus, home-made food — what’s better than a nice hearty meal? Since she’s my neighbour, she gets it fresh from the oven, and delivered right to her door. :)

Disclaimer: bareMinerals products and the Lucy & Leo product were sent for the basket. I did not purchase those items, but I did ask the company if I could have them for this basket!

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California Bronze . Beauty Talk Tuesday

California-Bronze-headerSpring has hit, and you’re telling yourself you need a little bit of sun to warm up your face after a long winter. Except you’re super pale, the weather is still cold and you have no idea what to do with your skin. Girrrrrrrrrl, fake it til you make it!

If there is one thing you need to buy this spring/summer for your makeup collection, it’s California Bronze by bareMinerals. it’s a brand new product that recently launched, and I’m here to tell you it’s the best matte bronzer I’ve used — even after only trying it out for an entire week (psst: it’s only because you need the tinest amount. Best bang for your buck here!).

bareMinerals-California-BroTwo universally flattering matte bronzers (The Ocean View & The High Dive) and one golden highlight called The Shining Moment.

CA-Bronze-BMI was flipping through my latest Ulta catalogue and noticed that bareMinerals came out with a bronzer duo + a highlight for summer, appropriately titled California Bronze. I e-mailed my contact from bareMinerals asking if I could review it. Because if anyone knows bronzer, it’s me. All I need in life is a foundation, concealer and bronzer, then I’m set for life. The other makeup items is simply a bonus. And just because I received the product for free to review doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust my opinion. You should trust my opinion because I’m always 100% honest and tell you how it is. Seriously, go back and review my other beauty reviews. They’re not all honky dory! Not only that, I wanted to try this product out, so I made it happen by reaching out to the company instead of vice versa.

Just because I live in California doesn’t mean I am a sun worshipper! I am indoors most of the days, trying to retain this youthful look I’ve got goin’ on here in my thirties. Ya can’t take wrinkles and and leathery skin back. Can ya. Sunless tanner + bronzer = my bff. I’ll get into the sunless tanner routine a little later in April, but for now. I’m going to create a makeup look using it so you can see how it works on my pale skin.

CaBronzeLook11. Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream: Apply an eye cream before your makeup.
2. Philosophy Full Of Promise: This is a firming neck cream, but I asked my philosophy friends if I could use this on my face, since it was feeling extra dry lately. Sure enough, you can! Apply a nice helping of moisturizer to the face before applying makeup. This will make sure your foundation doesn’t stick to any dry patches.
3. Dior Star foundation: One of my favourite go-to foundations lately. I use a damp beauty blender sponge to achieve a dewy look.
4. Laura Mercier concealer: I’m trying to use up many of my makeup items before purchasing new ones. Here is a Laura Mercier concealer I used under the eyes to brighten them up.

Before we get started on the next few steps, I thought the animated image would help you understand where I will place my bronzer in a “3” shaped motion on either side of the face.bareMinerals California Bronze

CaBronzeLook21. bareMinerals California Bronze trio: The bronzers are on either side of the trio, the middle is a powder highlight. Something I prefer to skip over because I usually like to use cream highliters to achieve a more dewy look to the cheek bones. I’ve used it a couple of times, but I definitely won’t use it up as quickly as I would the two broznzers. If you’re a little pale, use the one on the left titled The Ocean View, and if you’re already a bit darker use The High Dive (in which case I used the latter for the tutorial because colours always seem to wash out when I photograph this kinda stuff for you). Use a fairly light hand, these two bronzers are so pigmented you’ll only need a touch — which is excellent, as the product will last you that much longer. I’ve also used two of the bronzers together to create a multi-dimensional looking tan, just layering ever so carefully. I love it.
2. Jordana Lengtheinig Mascara: I picked this mascara up at Walgreens a few weeks ago, asking the lady at the counter which of the 3 Jordana mascaras was the most popular. Apparently it was this lengthening one. I bought the volumizing one before but it clumped so bad I had to throw it out after a month or so. This one isn’t too bad! I’d repurchase.
3 & 4 bareMinerals moxie lipstick in Express Yourself & Buxom lipgloss in White Russian: My go-to peachy pink lip colour lately. I’m already half way through the lip gloss. Good thing I know where to buy the full sized!

The finished look:


Do you use bronzer on a daily basis?
On the days I wear makeup, absolutely. Otherwise I feel like my skin looks to “flat”.

What is your favourite item in your makeup bag?
Concealer + bronzer.

Which season is your favourite?
I always say Fall, but living here in California I’m pretty cool with the warm sunshine happenin’ daily. 

bareMinerals California Bronze is now available in stores, and retails for $29 USD / $35 CDN.

Disclosure: I received the bareMinerals products to review (but those were ages ago) and I already mentioned I asked for the bronzer to review! No one ever tells me what to write, so all opinions are always my own.

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