Adventures in Faux-Tanning

A few of my fellow pale skinned brides have mentioned their exploits with getting their (lack of) tan on for the wedding. I know that being a pale bride is beautiful and all, but…I still yearn for that sun-kissed skin. I think it’s that whole “want what you can’t have” thing.

See, I have this perpetual fantasy that I can get to be this nice shade of golden tan, whether it be through the sun or lotions or sprays or what have you. The problem is, I usually just go from white as heck to red as heck. On occasion, that red eventually fades into a pale shade of tan.


Not cute.

Back in college, I used the Jergen’s Natural Glow for fair skin tones almost every day for two weeks.



That, up there? Is incredibly tan for me. I’m sure I also went to the beach a few times that summer, but I sure was rocking my version of a golden glow. On the flip side, though, I have very distinct memories of feeling gross and slimy and sticky every time I sweat or, you know, moved (which is a lot when you live in an apartment with no air conditioning in Philly in the middle of August). It just wasn’t an ideal scenario.

Regardless, I decided to try again with the tanning lotion back in March, this time using Jergen’s Natural Glow Express for fair skin tones – it’s supposed to give you the same amount of glow, just in less time. This is what happened after four days of using it.


That would be nothing, by the way. Especially not compared to Em’s fantastic glow up there. So while I oohed and aahed over her sun-kissed skin, she told me to stop messing around with the fair skin tones stuff and just use the lotion for medium to dark skin tones.


Well…ok then. So I did just that. Then this happened.



I was…very sad. I also didn’t see this part of it until halfway through the work day.

I hope you appreciate what you are seeing. That is a very distinctive tan line, where I clearly washed my hands (and wrists?) after applying. In my defense, that’s what the bottle told me to do! On the bright side, however, this was after only one application and, even though I was seemingly channeling my inner Michael Jackson, the color was pretty good and natural.

So I tried again the next day, in an attempt to even out the harsh lines and get some color on my hands (and feet…those were bad, too).


Uh-huh. #fail

For the life of me, I do not understand how you are supposed to apply/wash off the lotion on your hands and feet. But again, on the rest of my body? I looked pretty damn sun-kissed.


At this point, I’ve resigned to fact that I’ll just be pasty-pasty for the wedding. But I’m still turning to you for help, because I will forever hold out hope that I can be golden: how the heck do you get even coverage, without lines and splotches of orange, on your hands and feet when using tanning lotion? What have your experiences been?


Mrs. Fox

Washington DC/Havre de Grace, MD
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Last Minute Details
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  1. msfox Bee
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:19 am

    @julis120: Oh goodness, I would be *terrified* it was smudge all over my dress!
    @abby382: Ohh I haven’t heard of the glove/mitt thing.. I think between that and the tan towels, I have a lot of options to try!
    @almostmrsj: It seems like regular lotion before tanning lotion is the way to go.. thanks!
    @lolalovesjosh: Definitely trying this with the Express stuff to see what happens. Worst case, it fades within a week or so. Thank you!
    @YoungBride1414: Good call with the Vaseline!! I def had some cuticle issues last time. 😉
    @ashelliott99: Thanks! That was with the Express tanning lotion, which looked good everywhere but my hands and feet. 🙁
    @peachplum09: Girl, you’re seriously my life line with all things wedding related. That Yelp deal is fab.. totally think I’m trying this. Thanks!

  2. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:51 am

    I’ve never tried spray tan because I’ve always been leery about being orange. I do think it may be best to get a professional, however, I’m just too cheap so I do it myself.

    I use the Jergens natural glow lotion (actually I use Target brand now because it saves me about $2) and just slather it on pretty thick. I also supplement with Neutrogena fine mist tanning spray (it may be the best thing ever). I can’t say that I’ve never been streaky, because sometimes I just mess up, but alternating the lotion with the spray helps me avoid 95% of streak-age. If I want to be tan in a jiffy, I do two heavy coats of the lotion and a coat of spray, leaving about 5 minutes in between to dry. Usually in a few hours I’m looking pretty tan, and if I repeat for 2-3 days, I’m about as tan as I ever get!

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