I have always baked in the sun, ever since I could remember. I loved being at the beach, by the pool, and being tan.

I am guilty of going to a tanning bed on occasion, mostly for special events like proms, formals, or my sweet 16. It doesn't make it better because I was still exposing myself to the harsh UV rays and possible skin cancer.

I am also guilty of never putting sunblock on... like ever. The last time I put sunblock on was on spring break in Punta Cana last year-- and I still came back with sun poisoning. I am honestly not a role model when it comes to safe tanning.

Sometimes it's because I'm lazy and I'm sitting out on my balcony for an hour and the thought of applying sunscreen is annoying, and I also don't like feeling greasy, only to come back inside a few minutes after sitting out.

I have though, gotten better about the sunscreen on my face. I now use moisturizers that have SPF built right in!

As I get older, I know I need to be better about sun protection but that is not the point of this post.

I love being tan. Being tan is probably my top 5 favorite feelings. Does that make me shallow? Is that just a New York/Queens/Brooklyn/Long Island thing? Everyone in my life adores being tan. Every one of my sorority sisters praises the idea of being tan. Stereotypical? Of course!

But honestly, it just makes me feel good. I feel more confident, I feel prettier, I feel skinner, I just feel comfortable when I'm bronzed and tan.

But, to be tan, you need TO TAN and as previously stated, there is a very slim way of doing that safely.

I have gotten two spray tans before and know people who go spray tanning religiously. It's a safe way to be tan but it can be messy. I went for my first spray tan a little over a month ago before my sorority formal and it was quite the experience. Standing naked in front of a stranger? Inhaling the tanning fumes? It was not the best moment, but the tan came out awesome.

There are a lot of rules when it comes to spray tanning and is kind of complicated, and it's pretty expensive.

I wanted an alternative and that is when I discovered all my favorite youtube beauty v-loggers do their own spray tanning or "self tanning". There is a whole industry dedicated to this (i.e St. Tropez) and I was too nervous to embark on the journey. I didn't think I would be able to pull it off.

It was still on my mind when I went on my spontaneous work trip to Chicago back in April and while at the conference, I received a self tanning mousse by NKD SKN, and immediately was super psyched to try it out.

NKD SKN is under the umbrella company Vita Liberata, which is known for their self tanning products. NKD SKN is sold at Ulta and the mousse I have is Tinted Tan Mousse in Dark.

There is so much information about self tanning with these types of products, so it can seem overwhelming at first. You are in control of the entire process and it's very easy to mess up.

Basically what you need to do in order to get a gorgeous, self tan is exfoliate your entire body, shave, and make sure your body is smooth and silky. DO NOT moisturize before proceeding with the tan.

Then, get your mitt ready (yes a self tanning mitt--NKD SKN comes with a mini one but I soon realized it was not up to par. I went out and bought the famous St. Tropez Self Tanning Mitt for $6.50 at Sephora). Pump out the self tanner onto the mitt and start working it onto your body in circular motions.

See the difference in size?
I watched a few of my favorite v-loggers aka Jaclyn Hill, to know the right way to do this. Most people recommend starting with your arms, then your legs, and always working up toward your heart.

After carefully reviewing all of this information, I took a deep breath and got to work. I was nervous but at the end of the day, didn't really care if I messed up. It was my skin, my body, a few mess ups wouldn't be the end of the world. Let's remember this isn't permanent!

I laid out a towel on my WHITE shag rug in my bedroom, wore shorts & a tank top (I didn't self tan by stomach because no one was seeing that and I was kind of lazy) and got to work. As I said before, the mitt that came with the NKD SKN was teeny tiny but it's what I had to work with. Because of this, the self tan got all over the palms of my hands but it washed off almost completely the previous day.

I smoothed the tan all over my body, my arms, then my legs, and as Jaclyn Hill said, moisturized my wrists, hands, ankles, and elbows to make the tan apply smoothly on those rough, hard to reach areas.

The tan dried almost immediately and over the next few minutes started to deepen. I noticed a few blotchy areas on my elbows and arms, and went back over those areas with no problem.

I apologize for the poor photos--we all know photography is my weak point
There was no horrific smell to the tan, and it blended out really nicely. You could tell this is high quality, yet it isn't too expensive with a price tag of $19.50.

I didn't shower that night after the tan (I don't think I did--this was two weeks ago) because I was afraid of it washing away completely and wanted it to darken. It didn't transfer onto my sheets or my clothes, which is very important.

You can see the little dark spot on my palm, from the tanning mitt not being big enough
I went to work the next day, very tan and natural looking. I got compliments on my tan all day and people told me it looked like I had been at the beach.

Now that is how you know you have a great tan!

I did have a lot of splotchy areas on my elbows, they were a lot darker than the rest of my body, but to be honest, I did not care. That's just me though.

It lasted a little over a week and I'm anxious to try it again--most likely this upcoming weekend.

Honestly, I'm kind of obsessed with self tanning. It's safe, it's easy (once you get the hang of it), and you are in control. It also doesn't cost much once you have the supplies needed.

I would do my research before selecting a self tanner. Make sure it works for your skin type and tone, and make sure it's one that is easy to blend and work with. No one wants a streaky tan, but if you're a beginner, I would definitely recommend NKD SKN. It's inexpensive, and very easy to use.

Here's to a tan & safe summer, ladies!

Do you use self tanner? What are your thoughts? What techniques do you use?

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