As a beauty and fashion blogger, I often get to try new products for free. Companies send them my way and I give it a go to see if the product does what it claims to do. Lately I’ve been getting request after request for sunless tanning options. With the summer months quickly arriving here in the US, women (and some men) are realizing the winter months have made them pale and slightly sickly looking.

But now, with the knowledge of how harmful extensive exposure to the sun can be for our skin; and how completely detrimental it can be to fake-bake in a tanning bed, people are turning to alternative more healthy options.

But it’s not as simple as running to the store and purchasing the first lotion that claims to moisturize and bronze. Try these tips to make the bronzing process go smoothly:

1. Pick a color that is not too drastically different from your natural skin tone. If you go with one that is shades darker you are going to end up with a orange glow instead of the coppery one you’re aiming for. Orange = BAD.

2. Smell before you buy. Some of the lotions smell pretty potent, and not always in a good way. Crack the tops open and smell the lotion you’re looking to buy. If you don’t like your first whiff you probably aren’t going to want it slathered all over your body.

3. Even application is crucial. You want to make sure you rub the lotion evenly over your arms and legs. That includes all the way down to the bottom of your foot, making sure to hit the top. If you don’t rub it in enough and cover the whole visible surface area, the ankle area is going to be the one tell-tale sign that you are using bottle-bronzer.

4. Wash your hands as soon as you are done applying the lotion. This will prevent you from having concentrated orange spots around your palms and nail beds. You still want your hands to be the same color as your arms so after you wash them completely put a small drop of the lotion in your hand and rub it around, covering both sides of both hands evenly.

5. Lotion is best applied after your shower. That way you are locking the moisture in, which in these hot and cold weather patterns can be really helpful.

6. Only apply bronzing lotion when you have time to let it dry. Smoothing the lotion into your skin then throwing on your clothes for the day will leave streaks of orange-colored lotion on your clothes and will leave bare spots on your body. Apply the lotion and let it settle in before finishing your dressing routine.

7. Don’t apply daily. If you use the bronzing lotion daily you’re going to look orange. I suggest one day on and one day off. The best is to use the bronze lotion one day and then a non-tinted lotion the following day to make sure your skin is still getting the moisture and you are subtly locking in the color too.

8. Be careful around the face. If you are going to apply this lotion to your face make sure you rub it in evenly everywhere – all the way down your neck, near your eyes (but not in them – obviously), and on your ears. Pretend you are putting sunblock on in the summer and you’re one of those girls who burns immediately. You need every inch evenly covered. Otherwise the orange spots are going to be a dead give away and unflattering.

With all this said… A little is good, a lot is ridiculous! Applying often or attempting to drastically change your skin color is not an attractive or appealing look. When determining the color and frequency of applications think: ‘Does this help to slightly enhance on overall complexion?’ Treat sunless tanner like makeup: a little can enhance your natural beauty; a lot makes you look like an overly done-up clown.

What do you think? Is a little sunless tanner help OK or should we leave the tone of our skin color alone?

 (pic from

Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing...