Now if you have used self tanners before you know how most claim to be "natural" looking, it will give you a healthy bronze glow, or it wont streak or smell like death. Most times thats false. Most drugstore self tanners are horrible in my opinion. They are orange, blotchy, messy to apply, streak horribly, smell awful, peel and flake off quickly and leave skin very dry. With the exception of gradual self tanners. I do enjoy the Jergens gradual tanner lotion. But if your wanting instant results its a pain to puzzle over sucking it up and being pale, or potentially looking like an oompa loompa.
This is what I use, and what works for me.
#1) I exfoliate the CRAP outta my body. Anywhere I want the fake tanner to go gets scrubbed and scrubbed again. If you do not have very sensitive skin and have the time and patience I recommend using a sea salt body scrub. It has very large scrubbing particles and at times can feel like sand paper on your skin but I guarantee it will get every bit of dead skin off. Make sure to concentrate around the joints like elbows, knees, ankles where dead skin collects. If you do not exfoliate your tan will not last long. It will apply blotchy and it will flake off. Guaranteed.
#2) The self tanner I use is called St. Moriz Self Tanning Mouse. ($8-10 amazon.com) This is a UK based brand so you cannot buy it at drugstores here but I promise you its worth paying shipping for! It is an exact dupe for St.Tropez Tanning Mouse which is the most popular high end self tanner. That stuff retails for around $40 a bottle so for the exact same product but called by a different name why wouldnt you spend $10????? This stuff applies effortlessly.Blends like a dream, doesnt streak, the smell is not as bad as reg drugstore brands, comes in a big bottle. Must be applied with gloves though! I use latex gloves from the dollar store. Hands down best fake tanner around for the price! Be sure to let it dry for about an hour before you put on any nice clothes, also make sure to keep skin moisturized.
#3) A good alternative to fake tanning is just to use a one time bronzing lotion. If your going out at night, or have a special event during the day and just want some color quickly but that can washed off then a one use tanning lotion is for you! I use this when I am going out on a date with my hubby and feeling a little pale but dont wanna spend the time using the tanning mouse and waiting for it to dry. This is the St. Moriz Bronzing Body Souffle ($7, amazon.com) Perfect for quick color. Add on color bone, shoulders, arms and legs and your done! Feels like a lotion and will wash off with your next shower! Has slight shimmer. Just an FYI :)