Best Self Tanning Products & My How To Routine

I will try to do some before and after pics so you can see how well my favorite products work. Right now all I have is the before photo.

I haven't set foot in a tanning salon since my dermatologist drilled in how much it was aging my face and that it couldn't be reversed, about five years ago. Yikes! Since a tan is hands down the best way to make legs look thinner, faces look brighter and remove cellulite, I had to find some alternatives.

My favorite is a spray tan done by a professional. My friend Leah, a makeup artist, usually does mine for special events and a couple of times during the summer. She's extremely pregnant right now and taking a break. (If you're in Houston, the spa at ZaZa does them for a reasonable price.)

I wanted to share my favorite products (and those I'd buy if I had a money tree in the backyard) and how I use them.

 First of all, I love Loreal's Sublime Bronze Spray. I use it two or three times a week right after showering. I actually spray it on my legs, arms and chest before I even get out of the shower. Remember to hold it about six inches from your skin or you will end up with these awesome spray-paint-like stripes. It dries fully within a few minutes.

About twice a week, I brave it and squeeze my eyes shut and hold my breath to spray my face and neck. I don't want to use too much, so I really hold it at full arm's length. I really can't tell too much of a difference with this but I do have to think it gives my face a hint of color.

 After the spray dries, I use Loreal's Sublime Bronze lotion. It takes a bit longer to dry, so I put it on right before I blow dry and fix my hair.

I really like Loreal's products because they don't have a telling smell like other drugstore products I've used. They dry quickly and leave a pretty natural-looking color for being so inexpensive.

When I'm building up my tan (at the beginning of summer or if I haven't used any products in a couple of weeks), I use the spray after every shower and the lotion every night for 3-4 days. I will spray my face every day.

If the products start building up on my knees and ankles or settling into the lines there, I use my regular moisturizer before any tanning products.

 During the summer with my everyday makeup, I brush just a touch of Bare Escentual's Faux Tan powder right above my brows, down my nose and on my chin. That, along with blush on my cheeks (Benefit Coralista or NARS Orgasm), gives my face a nice summery look.

 If money were no object and I could buy beauty products as if I had a job, I would be addicted to St. Tropez products. I've used them in the past and they are really effective and give a great tan. They do come with a mitt that apparently helps the product to go on evenly and leave no streaks. There's also a cheap version of the mitt at Ulta, but I haven't had any problems with streaks or application so I haven't bought it.

 My face tanner, if I could blow and go, would be Clarins Radiance Plus. In fact, if I had this, I would use it year round to keep a glowy look on my face. I have tried it and it's a very subtle color.

What products do you use? Any drugstore items I should try?

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