How To Fake A Perfect Tan

Or rather … The Pale Girl’s Guide to Faking A Perfect Tan.

Here’s the truth:  I’m pale.  So pale, I match my husband’s white cotton Hanes t-shirts.  Casper pale.  Like white on rice.

I identify with this scene from the movie The Waitress (which, if you haven’t seen, you must):

Becky:  “As you can plainly see, my right boob is much higher than my left boob.  And Dawn here has pasty, pasty skin.  I’m stuck in a marriage to Droolin’ Phil the Invalid, and Dawn eats TV dinners alone, but still, we wouldn’t rather be you.”

Dawn:  “I do have pasty, pasty skin.”

Pale, pale.

So you see, tanning beds, beaches, and outdoor exposure without a pound of sunscreen, an umbrella, and J-Lo-worthy hat, are out of the question for me.

But even I recognize the benefit of a sexy summer tan.

So I fake it.

A few tips for using sunless tanning lotions + sprays:

  • — exfoliate before you apply product – you may even want to exfoliate well, several days before application (focus on areas that tend to be dry – i.e., elbows, knees – these are the areas where the tanning lotion appears worst)
  • — moisturize like crazy, for the same reason
  • — don’t apply sunless tanner right out of the shower – any moisture will cause the color to drip (think sweat as well)
  • — take your time when applying
  • — wash your hands frequently throughout application
  • — wait at least 15 minutes after application before putting on clothes
  • — look for “gradual color” tanners so that you can’t mess up too badly – I like the subtle gradual color tanners that give more of a shimmer (the dark tanners are great too, but they require a whole lot more patience … be warned!)

Do you rock the sunless tanner?  Any brilliant tips or tricks?

Read up on all of my Philips summer “beauty cheats” here.

And for a chance at winning a $1,500 shopping spree, designer clothes, and the best in beauty, enter the Style Your Spring Sweepstakes at!

Second image found here.

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*Compensation was provided by Philips via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Philips.



  1. I too suffer from the look-of-sickness skin tone! I love a good sunless tanner. …But the BEST trick I have for you is the Sally Hansen spray on pantyhose! I know, I know- Sally Hansen??? YES! It’s a spray on makeup that makes your legs look perfect! And it’s waterproof so you can even wear it to the pool. I cross my heart and hope to die! (I think you’ve just inspired my next blog post. Thanks Lexi!)

  2. bevy

    I feel for ya, girl. Fortunately, I was born with skin that tans quite easily. One afternoon in the sun and I’m set for the summer.

  3. I loved this post it was so informative and fun!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Emily

    Love this!! Am in such need of these tips!

    • Lexi

      haha, ditto! I definitely need to start faking it for summer!

  5. Amber Peterson I found this via pinterest and I love it!!! It is easy peasy and all you need is water and black tea!!!! If you like a cheap easy tan that lasts go ahead and check this out 🙂

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