How To Apply Self Tanner feat. Sun Labs Tanning Lotions

By Dana Fox

Ah yes, the wonderful world of self tanning! I’ve been wanting to create a post about this forEVER so when Sun Laboratories sent me their tanning lotion set to try out there seemed like no better time.

Since my genes blessed me with pale white skin, I’ve always been jealous of people who can step outside and get an instant tan. I am Irish and Scottish way far down the line of ancestry, and literally nothing else mixed in. I wish I had even one tenth of some exotic, gorgeously toned family member in my genes, but I guess my family has just been boring and continued marrying Canadians with ghostly appearances. So when you throw a self tanner at me, you bet’cha I’m going to give it a whirl! Even if it means posing in a bikini in front of the world.

The Sun Labs dark self tanning kit comes with three bottles. One is your tanning lotion, one is an exfoliating scrub, and the other is a tan moisturizer/maintainer lotion.

First impression of this tanning lotion was that it doesn’t smell funky like lot of other tanning products. It is brown with a green tint. The green tint told me right away that this stuff wasn’t going to turn me orange (if a tanning lotion has a green tint, that is the kind you want).

Check out my before and after photos and then I’ll explain how I apply tanning lotion to be free of streaks. Before:

3 hours after the Sun Labs lotion was applied:

bikini top: volcom

As you can see, it gives you a really nice natural glow. This was with just one application, but you can definitely layer another on top if you want to be super dark. Personally, this is enough for my liking.

How to do it:

Before you begin, you need to prep your skin. Don’t just get excited and start applying self tanner all over yourself. Take a shower and really scrub yourself clean. Use an exfoliating cloth or sponge and make sure you get every area of your body. Imagine that you’ve just committed a crime and need to get all traces of DNA off of you… that is how clean you should be! Shave your legs too!

Next, apply a moisturizer to all areas of your body that tend to be drier than the rest or places that would hold more product than necessary. These include:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Wrists
  • Knuckles
  • and I like to do my belly button and the area right outside my armpits (where they crease)


Then start applying the tanning lotion, doing one body part at a time. I usually start at my wrists and move up to my shoulders, then do the same on the other arm, then continue onto my chest and torso all the way down to my feet. Rub it around in circular motions until it starts to feel like you can’t really rub it anymore. It will almost feel a bit chalky. Wash your hands often after each body part.

It is SUPER important to get the product onto every inch of your skin. Look in a mirror and turn your body parts around as you go. To do your back, you might need to ask a friend or willing boyfriend/husband to help out. Once finished, don’t dress yourself right away as you will get the colour onto your clothes. Usually I wear dark garments until I can shower.

The Sun Labs tanner goes on brown so you can see where you put it. The added bronzer means you will have a bit of an instant tan, but the chemicals inside of the lotion also take a bit of time to react to the melanin in your skin, so after a couple of hours you will have a great glow.  You can shower a few hours after applying a tanner to get rid of the residue and be assured that your clothes will be free from marks.

Overall, I am definitely happy with the Sunlabs tanning products. It might be one of the best self tanning lotions I’ve tried. The colour is fabulous and one of the more natural tones I’ve achieved. The tan lasts about 4-5 days on me so if you want a continuous tan you’ll have to keep repeating this process every few days.

You can get this tanning kit here or check out the other products they offer!
You can also save 10% on their website with this self tanning coupon code 0333.

Do you self tan? What products have you tried?

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Dana Fox
Dana Fox
About me

I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends!


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  • Carlee, Little Sloth

    Wow I have never tried self tanner before because I have always been afraid of getting that orange look but you look so beautiful! Great post
    Little Sloth

    • dana @ wonder forest

      To avoid the orange look, you probably need a more professional product. The Sun Labs products are professional ones. You also want to make sure any one you do try with an added bronzer has a green tint, not a yellowish tint.

  • Lauren Douglas

    I personally don't tan or use any products. I like to get enough vitamin D from the sun and that's about my limit. As a kid, I burnt, peeled and I swear I would turn more pale than I previously was.
    I tried tanning as a teenager with friends that were obsessed with their looks. Personally, it's not my bag. I'm all about body modification, and if it's your thing, more power to you. But I love the way I look. I like being ghostly pale. My pale-ness actually is half-blinding in the bright sun, haha. But I am Scottish and Irish way down the line as well. I love being pale. :)

  • Talisa Tossell

    You look so bronzed! I always forget where i put tan and end up with white areas and others orange- such a clutz! This guide is great will deffo have to pick these up!

  • ZeebLikesIt

    This looks amazing on you! I'm super pale too and always so scared of being turned orange! Will see if they sell this in Aus.


  • Liz Marie

    Pinned it! Great post love! xx

  • Leah Symonne

    I've never needed self tanner, as I'm naturally tanned & live in Jamaica (in the Caribbean) haha. But, I must say this worked amazing on you & I'll surely let some of my lessly tanned friends know about it! haha x

    x Leah Symonne x

  • Emily Finta

    Wow huge difference! I'll have to try that sometime!
    Designs By Emily F

  • Hanna Lei

    I love your color. So dark. –Hanna Marie

  • Toyin

    It looks so real could ha fooled me!
    I love this blog so much!

  • Emily Andrews

    Hi Dana, that Sun Labs worked really well on you! For some other self tanners to check out, take a look at We review dozens of self tanning products… I'm sure there's a few you might want to try out :)

  • Grace Lynne Fleming

    that looks wonderful!


  • Melanie

    the outcome is amazing
    though it gave you quite the color it does still look natural 😀
    click to visit my blog

  • Julie Claveau

    I kind of like my white skin. I used to hate it, but now I'm getting used to it. At least I don't have to change makeup! xD

    This tan worked well on you and it looks great! I might give it a shot at my next dance competition (because you lose points if you aren't tanned… sad, I know).

  • Mariah Dupuy

    I've been using TanWise, it's pretty good but Sun Labs is on my list as well.

  • asianhomie101

    The self tanner looks great on you! I haven't used any self tan products..but I might give it a go since it is summer now!
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

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