Confession: I’m pale.
I use the lightest shade in every foundation line — except Kat Von D, who’s come out with new shades that finally put me in the the third-lightest range. (Winning!)
Even though I poke fun at myself — and my pale skin — a lot, I respect my epidermis enough to not want to ruin it. For me, natural tanning (i.e. sitting in the sun for hours) does just that: I’m never left with a bronze-y glow, but instead find myself soaking in aloe with peeling and angry skin.
Yet, self-tanning has always intimidated me. What about streaks? Would I leave a trail of product around the house? How would I ever reach my back?
Today, armed with a bottle of Fake Bake’s 60 Minutes Tan and Express Self Tan Liquid and loads of Internet research, I set out to conquer the unconquerable: an even, natural-looking tan.
Ahh, every experiment needs to have a control, doesn’t it?
I prepped my skin according to all the Internet gurus — reading up on the process at Allure, among other places. Basically, I knew I needed to be hair-free (I shaved), exfoliated (I scrubbed), and moisturized (on my elbows, feet, knees, and hands). I even rigged up a slotted spoon to reach my back.
Check, check, and check. I’d dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s — it was time to get glowin’.
For a self-tanning novice like me, it was surprisingly easy to use the Fake Bake product. It’s a spray (more on that in a sec), which is a little weird — but, once I sprayed it on my mitt, it was easy to blend and not at all streaky. The package comes with a pair of black plastic gloves and a super-soft, comfy mitt, so I had everything I needed to get started.
It didn’t smell terrible, either, although you could definitely tell I was wearing something with a scent.
Even better? The Fake Bake instructions give you three different options for wear time, depending on the color you want to achieve: for an express tan, leave the product on for an hour; for a deeper tan, leave it on for two; and for the most dramatic effects, leave it on for three.
Because I wanted to see results, I opted to wait three hours — binging on Netflix and eating leftover Pad Thai while I awaited my fate.
The spray formula is one crucial con — I felt like I was using a ton of product (4-5 sprays, twice on each leg) to get everything covered evenly, and to actually see the color guide show up. The Fake Bake bottle is black and opaque, so I’m not totally sure how much product I used in just this one application — but I’d venture to guess I made a pretty significant dent in it.
As I mentioned, I had no streaks with this product, but it was also a little hard to see where I was applying, since the color change wasn’t as dramatic as, say, a foam might be. (As I said, I did my research: fellow self-tanners using mousse or lotion seem to have an easier time seeing where they’re applying, and how much.)
Spray or no spray — it doesn’t matter if it works, right?
Well, the jury’s still out on this one. I expected pretty dramatic results with three hours of wear time on my pale skin, but they were more “eh” than “yay.”
Don’t get me wrong: there’s a subtle color difference.
But not enough to warrant all the prep, obsessive blending, and after-care. If I’d gotten great results, I’d consider doing this every week — but for now, I think I’ll hunt for a new product.
In the meantime, I picked up Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer to see if I can’t bump up my subtle tan into something more aggressive. ‘
Til the next chapter in my tanning misadventures…