Fake ‘n’ Bake: How NOT to Look Like a Cheeto

Surfs up OM Readers!

And with the summer days dwindling away, the express obligation to hit the beach is constantly hounding us to oblige. Having a tan in the summertime is, in my opinion, one of the best accessories for beach days. Having some color to your complexion can give the look of a healthy flush and can also be more slimming! Recently, my method to achieving a summer flush is with self-tanner; when done the right way, artificial tanner can be a convenient and quick fix for your bronze goals. 

Your worst nightmare: beware bad self tanning.
Your worst nightmare: beware bad self tanning.

Similarly, the importance of SPF as a daily part of our skin care regiments has become necessary to avoid the medical and cosmetic dangers associated with the harmful rays of the sun. Like anyone else, I like to have a healthy glow about my skin. But its important to me to do it without risking pro-longed damage from sun exposure like premature aging, uneven complexion, and skin cancer. Thus, I have perfected the art of fake tanning with artificial tanners while avoiding the dreaded “Cheeto Tan”!

This is what my skin looks like without any artificial tanners.
This is what my skin looks like without any artificial tanners.
And this is the difference applying artificial tanners can make when used properly.
And this is the difference applying artificial tanners can make when used properly.

Step 1. Exfoliate

The most important thing to remember when applying fake tanners is that is that it’ll look best  on smooth skin; applying fake tanners on to an old fake tan or dry skin can often look muddy and unnatural. Any fake tanner applied to dry, scaly skin will cling to this area and develop too dark, resulting in a patchy appearance to the skin. In order to avoid this and to also aid in prolonging the life of your tan, exfoliating your skin regularly is crucial.


My personal preference when exfoliating is creating my own mixture of dark brown sugar and coconut oil and scrubbing quite vigorously with a washcloth. The sugar granules are powerful enough to polish off dry skin, but the coconut oil works to hydrate and smooth the fresh layer of skin; it’s one of my essential products because the properties of coconut oil help to plump, tighten, brighten, and improve the skins texture, making it more radiant and healthy.

Step 2. Cleanse

Because coconut oil is quite a dense moisturizer, it won’t allow the fake tanner to completely absorb in the skin, preventing the pigment of the product from performing as well. I like to cleanse off the excess coconut oil in the shower with a refreshing cleanser that’s also non-drying; recently my body wash of choice has been Dove Go Fresh in the cucumber scent. Using a washcloth, you will also be able to scrub away any of the dry skin you missed with the sugar mixture.


Step 3. Bronze

The secret to a faux tan that’s not orange or completely fake looking is to choose one that has an olive undertone; olive as opposed to an orange or red based tan is more complimentary to a universal number of skin tones and looks much more natural. Choosing orange/ red based tanners will oftentimes result in the dreaded “Cheeto Tan”.

As far as formulas are concerned, whether you choose a foam, gel, or lotion formula is up to personal preference; but it IS important to find one that applies pigment evenly, to avoid patchiness and uneven complexion. Some fake tanners also require time to develop before you can wash them off, so be aware if they have a heavy scent, it will linger until you’re able to shower; if you want to avoid the waiting game, many brands offer quick developing formulas. If the self tanner you choose is staining, applying the product with a mitt will prevent your palms from turning a dark color.

My favorite self tanner has to be the Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanner. There are some cons that come along with this product: it requires a mitt because it’ll stain your hands; the scent is heavy and it needs 8 hours to develop, so I usually have to apply it at night and rinse it off in the morning; and it is a little bit on the pricier side. However, the product’s deep and natural color and lasting power make it worth the money and the extra hassle; it gives instant color and develops darker, leaving your skin with a glow that mimics a natural sun-tan.


4. Moisturize.

After the fake tan has dried and set, it’s essential to lock in the color with a heavy moisturizer or body butter. Well moisturized skin will help the tan last longer and look better altogether, so continuously applying a moisturizer is important to lock in your skin’s hydration and prolong the life or your tan. The hot summer sun has a tendency to dry out the skin when we are exposed to it frequently, so taking extra care during the summer is important. Because cocoa butter improves the luminosity of your skin, my preferred moisturizer is the Vaseline Intensive Care in the cocoa butter variation; it leaves my skin smooth and hydrated for hours, but isn’t overly sticky.


Bonus: Bronze Booster.

If you want a quick way to intensify your tan’s color or keep your tan going for a longer period of time, try applying a moisturizer with a built in gradual tanner. It will add an extra boost of color while keeping your skin hydrated at the same time. My favorite gradual tanner to use is the Jergen’s Daily Glow moisturizer in the medium to tan shade. Unlike most drugstore tanners that leave the skin orangey, this product has a natural warmth to its color and also smells amazing.


I hope my tips for self-tanning are helpful and make the best of what remains of summer! Now get to the beach and show off that glow!




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