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Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens and her husband Joe on vacation in Belize

Joe and I might have just got back from vacation, but I didn’t get my tan there. I have plenty of sun damage from my younger years of tanning with baby oil and iodine, so getting a suntan from the sun is not on my agenda. Instead, I get my suntan like I do my hair color…from a bottle. Lol!

There are many ways to achieve a faux tan, but not all of them will give you the results you want. It has taken me a few years, but I pretty much have the routine down to a science.

I have used a lot of self-tanning products, but most of them have some drawbacks. I have a slight allergy to smells; some smells give me a headache, so finding a self-tanner has been difficult. Most tanning products leave a nasty, lingering odor.

If the smell is not a factor for you, finding a faux tanning product that is non-streaking is still a problem. No matter how adept you are at applying a self-tanner, you run the risk of having a “spot” that is either too dark or too light. Here are my steps to help you look your best.

Shower and Exfoliate

Shower. Shave. Exfoliate. To get a smooth and streak-free tan, you need to rid yourself of any dead skin on your body. Showering and shaving are not enough. You can use several options for exfoliating; just be sure to give your skin a good scrubbing to get all of the dead skin off.

I’ve used an exfoliating mitt before, which takes off dead skin, but I’ve recently started using a pumice stone instead. I lather up with soap first and then use the pumice stone to gently remove any dead skin. Make sure you scrub lightly; you don’t want to irritate your skin. You can also use an exfoliating bar of soap instead of the pumice stone. You should regularly exfoliate your skin, even if you were not applying a faux tan.


I have extremely dry skin that flakes, cracks, and is all around yucky. Moisturizing is something that I have to do all of the time, not just when applying faux tanners. I switch around and use a lot of different products; the Lubriderm Advanced Therapy works great, and I also use Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion. Both of these lotions work great, or you could choose one that you like instead. After I shower, I apply the moisturizer all over my body. Applying a moisturizer is a crucial step, and it helps the tanner to spread smoothly and helps to reduce streaking.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1983

Lubriderm lotion


Which self-tanner do you pick? I like a couple of different tanners; here are a couple of my favorites. You have to ask yourself what type of tanner you want to use and how much of an expert you are at applying self-tanners. Do you want a tanner with a bronzer in it, or are you comfortable with the type that goes on clear?

If you are a novice at tanning, you want something natural-looking and won’t show when you miss an area. Jergens Natural Glow is a great product that is forgiving. It will take several applications to get the color you want, but it also moisturizes your skin. I am not a fan of the scent, and I like a darker tan, so I use something different.

I’ve also used the Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Butter, and it is forgiving and natural-looking. I didn’t notice the smell, so maybe it isn’t that bad. Tanning Drops are popular also, but I didn’t see results with those, so I quit using those.

So, I am currently using Loving Tan 2Hr Express Tan. This gives me a rich dark tan that I can see immediately, and it doesn’t all go down the drain once you take a shower. I also don’t notice the smell, so that is a good thing. However, this is not for those who haven’t used tanners before. It dries fast, and if you are not quick, you will leave streaks. I’ve used the medium and dark shades for years, and I don’t see much difference between the two colors.

I was using SUN Laboratories by Gissee, a dark tanner, but it doesn’t dry as quickly. The color is great, the smell is relatively light, and the wash-off residue is small. With any self-tanning product, you need to try the product on a small area, on a hidden part of your body, to make sure you will not have an allergic reaction.

SUN self-tanner

How To Apply

Below are the instructions for applying the products, but I did a YouTube video that shows the process in greater detail. Watching the video will help you understand what I’m trying to tell you with photos.

Self Tanning Mitt

After I have applied the moisturizer, I use a Self-Tanning Mitt to apply the self-tanner. I used to apply the tanner with my hands, but the stain would get in the lines and wrinkles, and it was hard to wash off. I have used other mitts before, but they bled through, and my hands still got dirty. This one is great, and I’ve not had any problem with stained hands.

Applying sunless tanner

Apply the tanner to the largest portion of the part of the body you are working on. When I start on the leg, I do the shins, going around from top to back, and then when I am sure that all of that area is covered, I’ll use what is left on the mitt to do the ankles, knees, and the tops of my feet. You have to be the most careful of those areas because they will look “rusty” if you have too much product. Then I move on to my thighs, each arm, chest, stomach, etc.

one leg tan, and one leg not

This is after I rubbed the lotion on my one leg. You can see the difference immediately. It will darken a little more in the next couple of hours. If I want more color,  then I’ll add another layer. I usually begin by applying one layer. I want the tan to look as natural as possible, and I don’t want someone to say, “wow, I just saw you yesterday, and you sure look different today.” After three or four days, put on another layer. Do this till you get to your desired color.

Finishing Touch

If you didn’t use a mitt, wash your hands with soap, then use a washcloth to dry your hands. If you did use the mitt, then you will want to dampen a washcloth. Then, you start making sure you don’t have too much product in specific places. Take the cloth and go in between your fingers; also, very lightly wipe off your wrist, elbows, knees, and ankles. These are your problem areas. You don’t want extra tanning lotion to “pool” in crevices.

dirty washcloth

This is how much excess tanning product came off onto my washcloth. Let the tanning lotion dry completely before you put clothes on. I will put on a housecoat while it dries. Don’t wear white. Lol! Even though the tanner is dry, it may still rub off a little. It might take you a couple of tries to achieve the perfect faux tan, but with practice, you’ll soon be looking like you just got back from the beach.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens on vacation in Belize

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