How to Fake a Tan


Continuing on with my new Makeover Monday beauty posts. Today is all about fake tanner!
Living in California you’re expected to be tan year round. When you have a full time job, spending multiple days a week at the beach or pool just isn’t practical, or even possible. I’ve used more self tanners than I can remember. From a strange smell that permeates the entire room, to brown knees, elbows and even a dark handprint across my thigh I’ve experienced the worst of the worst. After many years of perfecting the technique I think I have it down, and the right products to go with it.

1) Kiehls Sun Free Self Tanning Formula– this has been my go to face tanner for years. It’s perfect for the sensitive skin on your face and is extremely thin- no thick or heavy cream. My trick is I mix it half and half with my daily face moisturizer and then after rubbing it completely in I wipe off (with warm water) my eyebrows, around my hairline and the area around my lips. You only use so little of this product that I barely notice any smell.

2) Kate Somerville Somerville 160 Tan Towel– This is my current favorite fake tanning product. They are little towelettes that you wipe over your whole body when you get out of the shower. They say to do it on dry skin but I always put lotion on my knees, elbows and feet before applying because those are the areas of thicker skin where it’s really easy for tanner to get streaky. After using the tan towel I apply lotion over my whole body to really help blend it all in. You might not get as dark using the lotion, but you won’t get streaky- which to me is much more importnat.

3) Toma’s Total Tan Lotion- This is one of those weird products in strange packaging that I found at a random beauty supply in East Hollywood. I tried it out of desperation (and a really low budget) and have been using in for about 5 years now. I mix it 1/3 tanner with 2/3 lotion and make sure to blend it extremely well. The cream is dark brown, almost black, so it’s easy to see where you’ve put too much. The best thing about this product- its to date the self tanner with the least amount of after smell I’ve found.

4) Lorac Tantalizer Body Bronzer– This isn’t a fake tanner like the rest, its just a bronzing cream that comes off after one rinse. It makes your skin look not only multiple shades darker, but sparkling and perfect like photoshop. It’s really an amazing product besides the fact that it easily can rub off on your clothes. If you’re wearing white forget it… but my trick is if I’m wearing a dress I put it on my legs and arms very carefully after I have the dress on so that the dress doesn’t rub across my skin when I’m putting it on. I’ll sit on the bathroom floor, lift the dress up to my waste and slowly put in on each leg. Give it about 3 or 4 minutes to dry and then put my dress back down. Don’t do this one in a rush- you’ll regret it.

5) Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer – It’s not in the picture because I just ran out of it and haven’t had a chance to run to the store to get a new one, but I use this product everyday. It’s an extremely subtle fake tanner (it’s more so a moisturizer) but if you use it everyday you wil begin to notice darker skin over the course of a week or so. It just helps keep a mild faux base tan.

Good luck and go get your tan on (the safe and damage-free way of course!)

Also, I put two posts up today (really getting productive!!) so make sure you see my latest outfit post here.



  1. So glad you posted this. Faux tan or no tan.

    Juliette Laura

  2. Carly says:

    I was recently introduced to the Fake Bake Flawless self tanner and it is by far the best I’ve tried. Have you used it? How does Kiehl’s compare? I also use the Jergens moisturizer and looove it! <3


  3. I love the jergens self tanner! it´s really natura looking!

  4. Cory Scott says:

    I’m glad I don’t have to fake anything! :-)
    Paris-New York Fashion Blog
    The Deep Blue Cory Fashion Blog
    The Deep Blue Cory Facebook Page
    Xoxo Cory

  5. great post..i have had my own misadventures with these creams but i do agree that jurgens is not bad at all…supposedly clarin’s is also good

  6. Feriel says:

    Hello and thank you for your valuable opinion on tanners. what do you think about spray self tanners, I tried l’oreal spray because I was scared of using lotions. it was ok a little orange if I used it too much but found that I had more control…thoughts on this?

  7. Maddy Cane says:

    The Kiehls one looks lovely, and it is great that it is for sensitive skin! xxx

    Maddy from

  8. Bianca L. says:

    Loved this post, you give the tips in such a easy and fast way!

  9. jane says:

    I simply adore the Kiehl’s formula. It’s the perfect one for my skin!

  10. ELISA TAVITI says:

    Thanks for this post!

    xx Elisa My Fantabulous World

  11. I love using the Jergen’s! Gives such a subtle tan. Must try the Kate Somerville wipes. :)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your tips! Summer is almost here so good to get ready:)

  13. Karolina says:

    Thank you for your great tips! Summer is almost here so it’s good to get ready! I am exited to try that!

  14. I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter tanning moisturiser, not sure if they have it in America, though! Thanks for the tips x

  15. Pauline says:

    I like very much using tan towels; however you have to be pretty careful not to miss a spot, which tends to happen more easily with towels than cream :P

  16. Amanda says:

    Great tips! Thanks Shea!

    Can’t wait to try out the Kiehl’s!


  17. Millie says:

    Great products! I love the Clarins facial tanner, I definitely recommend it! :) ♥

  18. Lorna says:

    Oh thanks for sharing your tips! I always thought you were brown because you lived in LA! I’m as white as can be, almost vampire like lol!

  19. Mary says:

    Lavera is my favorite, great natural color and no preservatives or chemicals!


  20. Deborah says:

    Great advices…thanks for sharing!


  21. It seems a good selection but I actually hate self tanners…indeed I usually go to the solarium here in Italy! :P

    New post:

  22. Oh gosh everyone with red hair (like me!) needs this so badly! thank you so much!!

    Léa La Rousse

  23. Love the Kiehl’s suggestion as I’ve been looking for a good fake tan for my face!

  24. Lara says:

    amazing blog section, always keep them coming:D


  25. Ivette says:

    I love this, thanks so much for sharing! Have you tried the Comodynes towelettes? they´re also great ! may i ask what lens did you use to take this photo? Thank you

  26. Lubna says:

    Great post! I was desperately seeking self-tanning reviews, and this has been very helpful. I personally use Rimmel London bronzer in light matte and think it’s fab! BTW, I think you’ve mixed up numbers 4 & 5 :)


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