Correction, I love being tan.
Whenever possible, I like to ignore everything I hear about tanning leading to skin cancer. But the problem is, it's not really just a possibility anymore, but rather backed up with a ridiculous amount of evidence. And I am from a family where both sides tan like crazy and have always tanned like crazy and to date, no one has gotten skin cancer. But having the, "it'll never happen to me" mentality isn't always the best way to go. So while I still enjoy the sun when I have time to, I'm getting much better about wearing sunscreen daily. And I use a different method to keep my skin the healthy summer color I want it to be.
Self tanning lotion. Apparently some make you turn orange, but I've only tried two, and both have worked well for me. I started with Dove but switched to Jergens because I like the smell and consistency better. Both are available at WalMart and not all that expensive. I use the Jergens Natural Glow body lotion for medium to tan skin tones, pay attention to your tones and buy the kind for your body.
This is what I do to insure good, not splotchy coverage:
Step 1: Exfoilate. In the shower, exfoilate your whole body. I use Victoria's Secret's sugar scrub(75% off at the Semi-Annual sale right now, that means $3 a bottle! but not available much longer.) in the shower on days I'm going to apply the lotion. It feels good and smells amazing. Any scrub would work though, Caress has exfoilaters in it, or if you're feeling particularly adventerous and have a blender try out Aimee of Homespon Forte's Fresh Coffee Body Scrub. The second I buy a blender I'm trying that out!
Step 2: Dry off your body and tie your wet hair up in a knot on top of your head. You want the lotion to go everywhere, and hair on your shoulders gets in the way of that.
Step 3: Pick a starting point. I always start with my right leg, then left, then rear/front of my body, then arms, then neck/shoulders, then back. Remember spots like the tops of your feet and right up to the edge of your face, all those places are important.
Step 4: Your face. I have Jergens Natural Glow Daily Facial Moisturizer that I apply to my face only when I'm applying the body lotion to the rest of my body. It's got SPF in it so you don't have to worry about applying addition sunscreen afterwards, just apply this to your whole face like you would any other facial moisturizer, but be sure to meet the edges of your face where you left off with the body lotion, and rub rub rub to blend it well. Tricky spots to remember on your face are behind your ears, and your ears in general. I just kind of rub what's left over on my hands on my ears, it hasn't led to any funky discoloration yet!
Step 5: Grab a towel(the color can rub off onto a towel, but it hasn't stained mine, comes out in the wash) and rub it between your hands to get the lotion off your palms, and sweep it between your fingers to rub off the extra lotion that gets stuck there. Then add a drop of lotion to the back of one hand and rub the backs together, hitting the backs of your fingers too. You may want to do this step more often -- it wears off faster on your hands because you wash them more often.
I repeat this process about three times a week and it keeps me with a healthy, natural-looking tan.
Do you use self tanner? What brands/methods have you found to be most successful?