I have a confession to make: I know I’m a beauty blogger, but I’ve never actually used any fake tanner before–the closest I’ve gotten is Jergens Gradual Tan moisturizer. I know. It’s not that I’m against it; it’s just that I’m super pale as it is, so I’ve always thought I would look totally unnatural if I ever tried it out.

So! When the opportunity came up to try out the infamous James Read Tan products and I got invited to a pool party, I thought, what better time than the present to give my ghostly legs a bit of a glow before revealing them to the world this year?

This is actually the most nervous I have been before trying out a product, not going to lie–I was so scared of getting super orange, streaky limbs and doing it all wrong and ending up with stained palms. I must have read the instructions manual about 5 times beforehand, and I even read an article on faux tanners in Cosmetics magazine for more info.

I exfoliated two nights in a row, making sure not to miss any rough patches anywhere–I recommend you do this step thoroughly to avoid and weird splotches. Then, I apply a light coat of moisturizer everywhere, and an extra layer on the tops of my hands, elbows, feet and ankles–these areas are often rougher and dryer and can cling onto the tan.

I even lined my bed with a towel, and then slept with an extra older sheet on top of me so I wouldn’t stain my new white bed linens. This was probably overkill as I didn’t see any stains anywhere, but better safe than sorry!

Overall, the products themselves are really easy to use, and were an excellent way to break my fake tan virginity. Taking my time, and having someone around to reach the middle of my back were the keys to success.

Onto the products themselves:

Tanning Mitt: This is a vital instrument to a succesfful non-streaky bod: buy this. However, do not wash it afterwards with hot water, the inside melts and sticks together (oops). The mitt really helps to evenly distribute the product.

Bronzing Mouse: Easy to blend, no smell whatsoever, very lightweight, non-sticky, and hydrating. Only cons: It did create quite a dark tan on me, more than I am comfortable with, but not orange, more of a dark golden shade. I think it would work better on people with more medium-toned skin (I am quite fair). Also, I found that at times the nozzle could be tempermental, spraying the somewhat runny mousse across my bathroom. Not a huge issue since it didn’t stain anything, but something I think that could be easily fixed.

BB Gradual Face Tan in Light: Comes with a handy brush attached, very soft and perfect for any touchups or adding any definition on the arms, abs, collarbones or cheekbones. This is gradual meaning that by the end of the day, your face will be tan, not meaning that this needs to be applied a few times before you see a tan. However, you could easily build this up over a few applications to be quite golden. The cream is really hydrating and light. Be sure to really exfoliate your face first, then seal up pores with an ice cube. This product comes in both Light and Medium Shades, which make it easier to adjust for fairer skin tones.


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