Anyone care to recommend a self tanner?

I’m attending a wedding this weekend. I have a lovely new dress and some awesome new shoes. Unfortunately, I also have a not so attractive farmer’s tan, despite the fact that it’s done nothing but rain this spring. I thought that maybe a little self tanner might go a long ways to evening out my color, but I’m terrified of turning streaky or splotchy or oompa-loompa orange. Any advice out there for a self tanning newbie?

Spray tan. I’ve tried many of the different tanning lotions, but hands down the best tan I ever got was a spray tan. (there are a ton of spray tan places, like Hollywood Tan.) You strip down nekkid, stand in a booth resembling a shower stall, hands and legs spread and you get sprayed. Turn and repeat.

The tan was even, immediately visable, yet darkened somewhat over the next few hours. It looked AMAZING and lasted about a week or so when it gradually faded. If I had the funds, I would do it weekly.

(I’m a red head with hazel eyes. I tend to tan somewhat naturally, but still burn. Due to the risk of skin cancer, I never tan in the sun.)

If you’re not able or willing to go the spray route, there are good products available at your nearest drug/big box store, but there’s tricks to using them.

My take on it:
I like Neutrogena products, the pump foam for light to medium skin in particular. It goes on easily and doesn’t look too orange.
Follow the directions on the bottle religiously. Be very careful to spread the foam out evenly and rub it in. Avoid applying too much on elbows, knees, and ankles - reason being that the stuff darkens by reacting with dead skin. There tends to be an accumulation of dead skin in these areas. Especially be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after application.
Do not use it for the first time the day of the event. In my experience no matter how many times you use this stuff, you will miss a spot or two. It’s better to apply it lightly two days in a row, that way you can even out any missed or streaky spots.
If you’re trying to even out a farmer tan, you may have luck just applying it on the paler areas. You can fine tune the darkness if you’ve got a few days to work with. I successfully painted out bathing suit strap lines to wear a strapless dress once, but I wasn’t very tan in general.
If you get too much somewhere, you can exfoliate that area and it will lighten faster (but don’t count on being able to completely remove it).

I’ve had the best luck using it on my legs and arms. Any time I’ve tried to use it on my face or torso it’s looked strange. I mostly use it to keep my legs from blinding people on the rare occasions I’m out in shorts or a skirt.

I’ve tried the Neutrogena MicroMist version. Have you ever spray painted furniture? It’s impossible to get everything even the first coat, and what’s worse is you can’t see where you’re applying the stuff. The only way I managed to get that version to not look streaky was to rub it in, just like the foam, which totally defeated the purpose, so I went back to the foam version.
They used to make a version with built-in bronzer, but I didn’t see that in stores this year. It was nice because you could see that you had applyed the self-tanner evenly, but not nice because the bronzer ran if you sweated later.

The build-a-tan lotions aren’t bad, but they do need several days to become obvious. I couldn’t stand the way they smelled, or the feeling of heavy moisturizer all over my skin in summer.

Yeah, I was coming in to recommend Jergens Natural Glow, but it does require multiple applications before you notice it. This particular one isn’t too heavy, and smells better than the self tanners I used years ago.

When you apply the self-tanner, rub it on your skin in both a back and forth motion and in circles–theoretically, this should eliminate streaking…

I’m pale skinned but grew up in the tropics and have very slightly tanned arms, face etc but my legs remain pale because I don’t expose them much. I found that all of the apply yourself creams left me streaky no matter how much care I took I think it’s just the very white colour of the skin, makes it near impossible to apply without streaking. I have friends who are white but with much darker skin than mine and they can get away with it.

I found that St. Tropez brand spray tan done by a professional at a beauty salon is amazing. No orange colour at all, looks natural and fantastic. I always go for one single light spray but they can do two layers if your darker to start with.

As an aside, I like the philosophy behind people who declare that natural is best and that girls who aren’t tan shouldn’t fake tan. Seriously though, if you want to wear a swimsuit or slinky dress and your back, legs and stomach are a different colour to your arms, face and neck a good quality spray tan looks great AND it makes you look slimmer and more toned. Laws of physics here, darker colours absorb light, they don’t reflect it so your cellulite etc is less visible (not that I have any of course).