Sense of Sarah: My Favorite Self-Tanner + How to Use It

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's getting to be that time of year where some days the temperature is nice enough to wear a shorter dress or short sleeve tops.  For most of us, we're probably really pasty and pale, too.

That was definitely me last month.  February had some warmer temperatures for Alabama (like 76 degrees), and so while I want to break out the spring dress with sandals for school, I also don't want to scare anyone with extremely pasty skin.  And if you're like me, you stay as far as you can from the tanning bed.

I've always relied on laying out in the summer (with sunscreen on) to develop a really nice tan, and then that tan usually fades over the colder months.  This doesn't help me when it's March and I'm able to break out the spring clothes.

I've never really been interested in using self tanner because of the gross smell until I tried the self tanner from Rodan + Fields when they were running a special last year.  I decided to try it since it was only $25 and I knew Rodan + Fields had a really good reputation.  (This is in no way a sponsored post although that would be really great if it were ha!) Plus, I knew that if I had some crazy allergic reaction to this stuff (it's happened before to tanning stuff) then I could return it, so it really was risk-free.

My only issue with the self tanner was the way everyone (and I mean, I did my research online) was telling me how to apply it.  They all said to apply it at night before you go to bed, sleep in a long sleeve shirt, pants, and socks, and then your color will be developed by the time you wake up the next morning.  Only I cannot sleep in all of that.  So I decided to try applying one morning before school and it was great--I didn't smell that weird tanning smell and my tan was developed by that evening.  I just showered it off before going to bed that night, and the color did not transfer to my clothes.

Below I'm giving the tips I've found to be the most helpful for me when using the R+F self tanner in order to achieve a natural coloring:

Before Applying:  Shower in the morning using an exfoliating shower gel.  Make sure your knees, ankles, and elbows are exfoliated well.  Apply a thick, creamy lotion (I use Jergens) to your knees and behind them, your elbows and your elbow bend, and your ankles.

Legs:  Use two pumps for one leg.  Rub into your leg evenly, but do not rub onto your foot--that comes later.  Make sure you get every bit of your leg.  Wash your hands after applying to your legs.

Arms: Use two pumps and divide evenly in both hands.  This will be enough for each arm.  Rub evenly into your arms and up onto your shoulder.  Don't forget to get your armpit.  Rub all the way onto your wrists, but don't rub on your hands yet.

Torso: Use two pumps for your whole front torso.  Make sure you get around your collarbone evenly.  Wash your hands after this.

Back:  Get your husband to do your back haha!

Face: Use almost one pump (or use a whole pump) for your face and neck.  Make sure you rub into your hairline and onto your ears.  Wash your hands.

Hands + Feet: For each hand and foot, rub a little lotion on your knuckles.  Then use one cotton round with a very small pump of self tanner and rub evenly on each hand and foot.  I use one cotton round for both hands and then one for both feet.  Make sure you rub on top of your fingers and toes and the side of your feet--basically getting everywhere sun would hit.

You're supposed to give yourself 15 minutes to dry completely and for it to soak into your skin before you put on clothes.  I apply it right after I get out of the shower and I've never had any transfer of color onto my clothes when I finally get dressed for school.

If you don't have someone to buy the self tanner from, contact me and I'll give you the info for my girl!

To see my other Sense of Sarah posts, click here.

Linking up with Jenn and Shelly


  1. Yeah I didn't apply it at night right before bed either. I don't see why they tell you that. I watched some tutorials online before I applied it, and especially for the face because no one wants to look like Tony the Tiger on their face haha. I love love love this product--it's my favorite self tanner!

  2. I have heard really amazing things about this self tanner and I wish I had purchased it for my upcoming trip, but I really like the jergens foaming one for a tan that lasts a little longer and is basically fool proof so here's hoping I don't mess it up tomorrow night! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. I really need to invest in a good self tanner, because we get SOO pale here in the winter! Anything that doesn't have that icky self tanner smell is a win in my book!

  4. I've had this tanner sitting in my cabinet for two years and I've been afraid to use it. I'm going to try it out using this tutorial!!

  5. I have been thinking the same thing! I'm so pale!! I need to break out some self tanner this weekend maybe! Not that the weather is great but man I just don't like being this pale! haha

    Happy Wednesday!

  6. I have heard such great things about this tanner. I may need to try it out this spring. I use the Jergens foam and that worked great too. I need all the help I can get in this department because I am so pale! Aint' nobody got time for that! Have a great day!

  7. I definitely need a good self tanner, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

  8. I would love to use a self tanner, I am just worried I wouldn't do it well and then I'd look crazy.
    What exfoliating shower gel do you recommend?

  9. Love this step by step! Self tanner kind of scares me, and I don't necessarily have the patience for it, but you make it sounds like I could get it down, no problem!

  10. I love self tanner, but I've never really found a great one that I love. I really need to just try the R&F I guess. How often do you have to apply it to maintain it? Every single day?

  11. Does it wash off each time? Do you continuously build the color back up?

  12. You are so brace! I'm so afraid of being orange or splotchy that I never try!!

  13. I need to try this! I have several sunless tanners I love but I keep hearing good things about this one. I had a spot of basal cell carcinoma removed when I was 20 so I go sunscreen crazy and never get a natural tan. Sunless tanner all the way!

    Elizabeth | The Lovely Latte

  14. I really need to give this a try!! Thanks for your application tips. I've never used self tanner so that was super helpful. And I love that checked dress on you!


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