I am a self-tanner junkie. I hate being as see through white as I am naturally, and think I just look better with a natural looking tan. I have tried so many different self tanners, both high end and drugstore brands. After my old favorite, the St. Tropez mousse ran out I wanted to try something new. I ordered a knockoff/cheaper version that will remain nameless as I don’t want to bash something that may work for someone else. As with some other self tanners I’ve used, it looked great after it was applied, but once I showered, the tan was gone.

I’d heard great things about Banana Boat’s Deep Dark Tanning lotion, and after using it once, I was hooked! I’ve gone through two tubes of it, and it’s safe to say it’s my favorite self-tanner. Major score that it’s cheap, and doesn’t turn my skin orange! It lasts better than any self tanner I’ve ever tried, and it gets better with each application for a darker, natural look.
{Left: No self tanner. Right: After one application, 24 hours after applying and rinsing the color guard off.}
The steps I take to ensure an even application:
1. Shave and exfoliate well, especially over knees, ankles, and wrists.
2. Apply body lotion to knees, tops of hands, elbows, ankles and feet after drying off. This will prevent these areas from looking orange and extra dark.
3. Put latex gloves on before applying self tanner to avoid dark palms.
4. Apply self tanner, starting at the feet, massaging in circular motions and moving up to the rest of your body. 
5. Remove your gloves and apply a light layer of self tanner to the tops of your hands.
6. Let the self tanner dry for at least 20 minutes. Lock yourself in your bedroom if you have kids or roommates, or make your significant other extra happy while drying.
7. After at least 6 hours, wash the color guard off in the shower with your regular (non exfoliant) soap or just with warm water. This is one of the most important steps. When I’ve failed to wash the color guard off in the past, I end up with patchy-ness on the inside of my elbows and elsewhere after working out especially. This usually results in having to exfoliate all of the self tanner off and starting from scratch. When you rinse, the color will stay (unless you’re using a crappy self tanner)!
8. Keep your tan dark by applying the self tanner following the above steps every other day. If you want extra moisture and are a tan-aholic (like me), use Jergen’s Natural Glow in between self tanner applications.