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The Easiest Self-Tanner for Pale People

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer

I always viewed a tan the same way I view cilantro: Totally unnecessary. If you like it, good for you! It’s not for me. Then I moved a bunch of my furniture around my apartment and starting doing more high-intensity workout classes. My knees and shins became bruise city — so full of scrapes and mottled bruises that it looked like I had tie-dyed my legs.

It turns out a light tan is the easiest and best way to make your legs not look like they belong to an 8th grader who just finished field hockey practice. Specifically, one light coat of James Read’s Sleep Mask Tan will do the trick. Ignore the complicated name — it’s a self-tanner. And it’s easy. Using a mitt (you must buy the mitt, do not skimp on this unless you want streaks), just smear about two pumps of the caramel-colored lotion all over each leg. Rub in circular motions, making sure you get it everywhere, including your feet, your knees, and the back of your legs. And then breathe easily, literally — there’s no telltale DHA/rotten cinnamon cookie smell with this product. Go to sleep and don’t worry about it getting on your bedding, because it won’t. It dries quickly and without stickiness.

The next day, wake up to find your legs are just slightly but noticeably more glowy and even-looking. They won’t look orange, just slightly darker. My bruises didn’t go away, but they were hidden enough that friends stopped asking, “What happened?” every time I wore a dress. It fades easily, without streaks or blotches. The tan lasts only a few days — but with an application that’s this easy, you can do it any time.

Before Photo: Kathleen Hou
After Photo: Kathleen Hou

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The Easiest Self-Tanner for Pale People