the one major downside of being a redhead

There are many things I like about having red hair.

The uniqueness.

The compliments.

The supposed higher pain tolerance that comes with it.

And I actually really do like the color of my hair. I would say it is my best feature and probably the thing that defines me most.

But what I don’t like is the one physical attribute that often accompanies redheadedness:

pale skin

Now I’ve heard that there is pasty-pale and pretty-pale and I’ve been told that I have the latter, but I’m not sure I buy it. Pale is pale and I’m pretty much convinced that everyone looks better tan.  The problem with redheads is that most of us don’t tan – we freckle. Again, I don’t hate my freckles; in fact I sort of like them.

But I sure wish I could get tan, too.

Before Maui my friends and I went against our better judgement and spent time in pure uv bliss {aka: laying in a tanning bed} in preparation for our trip. They all showed up tan … I just came with freckles.

I’m learning to embrace my paleness. It is part of who I am and I can’t do much about it {although I just discovered that there are artificial melanin injections to make you tanner – crazy but interesting}

What I can do is use self tanner.

Not all self-tanners work for pale skin – most turn out really orange/overly bronze for me.

I have only tried a handful of self-tanning lotions, sprays and foams {mostly drug store varieties} but I have found that Jergens Natural Glow firming lotion is my favorite so far.

It says it takes a few applications for the color to develop, but it actually shows up on me with just one coat. I like how subtle it looks … but could do without that strong self-tanning scent.

There are a million different products on the market that claim to give a natural tan and I’m always looking for one that is just right.  If you are the self-tanner type and have a favorite product, will you share your tanning secrets in the comments below?

Just in time for summer.

The fair-skinned girls of the world will thank you.

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138 Responses to the one major downside of being a redhead

  1. Barbara Ann March 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    26 yrs ago I discovered Water Babies when applying to my children i decided to try it.. I have been getting a TAN ever since…. I am a FIREY RED HEAD with pale freckly skin and I swear by Water Babies… Caution DO NOT use the spray on kind use the lotion and lather it on, repeat again in a couple of hours.. And yes I even go swimming, go to the ocean and anywhere else i choose covered in Water Babies…..

  2. Tegan February 26, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    I am a red head with a ton of freckles and fair skin. I don’t tan. I burn, peel, repeat. I LOVE Loreal Sublime Tan gel in medium. It has a bronzer so you see where you put it and get an immediate glow. It developes within a few hours and I usually only need two “coats”…the initial and one for touchups. But I’ve come to trust it so much I can actually use one coat in the morning and go to an event in the afternoon and trust that I don’t have any weird streaks or anything. It of course smells like self tanner but it’s the only brand I’ve found that is totally worth it. I buy it at walmart for about $8 and one tube will last a year. (I don’t stay tan, I only use it when I know I’ll be wearing a dress or shorts to an event in July when everyone else will be a barbie doll)

  3. Leah January 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Emily! I too am a redhead that feel EXACTLY the same way!! Sally Hansen makes a product called something like …. airbrush legs? It is sold at every drug store and is usually by the nail polish. It is water-proof, sweat-proof, and makes your legs look AMAZING. I have naturally tan friends that use it to make their legs look nice. It gives the appearance of panty hose but with the bare-legged look. A MUST!!!

  4. Ashley May 19, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    I have to include~ I love your red hair and complexion! Beautiful!

  5. Ashley May 19, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Banana Boat Summer Color… go with a dark. Slather on at night, heavy but even!, wash the bottom of your hands really well, and a shower in the morning takes away the smell! Lasts for almost a week.

    I had red hair when I was young, now a bit darker which I make blonde! My little guy has red hair- freckles and all. I definately have fair skin- I can tan, but freckle.

    Love this stuff. People always compliment me on my tan!! You might try it (Walmart!).

  6. Gina Wilcox May 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    L’oreal’s sublime bronze GEL is pretty awesome! I have had very goof luck with it and reccomend it to all my inquiring friends!:) You are beautiful and I love that you embrace yourself as you are! truly inspiring!

  7. Kelly May 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    A new one just came out for faces, I think it is jergens I want to try! I could tan but come from a wrinkly family so I’m trying to avoid that!

  8. Chris (aka Freckle Face Girl) May 15, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I am a red head too – I have never been to a tanning bed, but I have gone to a tanning salon to do the spray tan in a booth and that was pretty interesting and it worked really well, stayed on for quite sometime. But I felt like a fake when I came out all bronze. Usually I just use one of the myriad of products at the drug store…and oddly only use it on my legs. Because in my red head brain, it somehow makes sense that my legs aren’t freakishly pale, but anything else just looks weird to me. Let’s embrace our bodies rejection to tanning – we’ll look a whole lot younger when we get past 40 and we won’t have that leather look. It’s a good thing! :)
    Chris {aka Freckle Face Girl}

  9. Jodi May 15, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    The Mary Kay subtle tanning lotion is awesome! Smell is not bad and the color is amazing. I can tan a little, but I prefer not to so I am always covered from the sun. The self tanner gives me great color!

  10. Stephanie Burton May 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I have blonde hair and fair skin, and would tan in the tanning beds in my 20’s, and loved how my skin looked! Unfortunately, the 4 summers I tanned resulted in melanoma…..4 surgeries and huge massive scars later, I would give anything to take that back. Now I embrace my fair skin. I am 32 and the mother of 3.

  11. Kim May 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    I too am a redhead and enjoy using Jergens for color. I put a good smelling lotion on top of self tanner to help with the smell

  12. Andrea May 11, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Okay, i’m a redhead too and can totally relate. I LOVE my redhair and I have always been told that I have a “peaches ‘n cream” complection so I don’t have a ton of freckles…but I”m definitely a true redhead. Anyway, I love St. Tropez. I swear by it! I need to send you an email with a pic from this past summer. It really works wonders and isn’t orange at all. Plus, the scent is very nice.

  13. elizabeth May 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    the 8 oz will last all summer too.

  14. elizabeth May 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    The BEST self tanner on the market is by St. Tropez. The bronzing mousse is my favorite, it dries quickly and doesn’t streak. If you buy the mitt they sell it goes on perfectly smooth and your hands don’t turn dark. Plus it doesn’t give you that weird, jaundice look that some of the others give. I’m a pale skin girl. Pasty-pale, not pretty pale. And I live in the south, where we wear dresses all summer long. This is my trick to faking a tan.

  15. Amanda in WA May 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    I saw a shirt somewhere online that said “Pale is the new tan.” I love that. As a fair gal myself, (my first foundation from lancome was called ‘eau de pale #1), I say embrace embrace embrace. Did you know it only takes 3 burns in the same spot to be at risk for melanoma? I know three girls (in their early 20s) that have already had melanoma removed from their bodies. Embrace, embrace, embrace. If something is going to remove me from this earth, I pray it won’t be because of my vanity. Sorry to be soapboxy, but I am pretty passionate about this one, because it is so preventable.

  16. Daisi B May 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    At the Beach Versa Spa is a LIFE SAVER for me. Makes me bronze-y and tan and not orange in the slightest. If you don’t have that, I actually prefer the Natural Glow Express and I promise you, it doesn’t smell nearly as bad as the one you mentioned.

    Another GREAT option, is from the Hemp line. It smells REALLY good. Swear. And it bronzes you in a slight gradual way, which for us redheads means immediately :)

  17. Bridget Juister May 9, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Emily. I’ve really been enjoying your blog. I discovered you when I was looking for a flower tutorial. It was so great to be in the mood for a craft and be able to actually do it without having to buy the materials.

    Anyway, I hear you. As a paley myself, I’ve learned to embrace it and like to think that in 20+ years when I’m in my fifties, I’ll be so glad I did. I love the CeraVe a.m. moisturizer with sunscreen and the dermalogica tinted sunscreen/lotion for the summer.

    Pales unite!

  18. Julia May 9, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    You always look beautiful!! But if you like a tan, as I do, and have no time to either tan in the sun or in a booth, then you must try TanTowels. I love the towelettes. They apply the tanner evenly and come in full body or half, and in a few different shades depending on your skin type. Love them.

  19. Melaine Thompson May 9, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Emily~could be worse, you could be a redhead with pale skin and be allergic to self tanners! Oh yeah, that’s me! :(

  20. Amy May 9, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    I also have red hair and fair skin. Last summer I discovered Nivea Sun-Kissed Skin gradual tanning moisturizer. It works really well. It doesn’t get splotchy or orange and looks very natural, like those few redheads that can get tan in the sun.

  21. Amanda M. May 9, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    You are so truly by far pretty pale. For sure! I used to worship the sun. I laid outside, in the tanning bed, just everything nonstop. I have no idea why God has blessed me with no melanoma thus far (just had my yearly derm check yesterday!). Anyway, I actually use SPF now and don’t lay out, but I do like to be tan. I use Fake Bake, which I order from Amazon. It goes on very dark to prevent streaking and you rinse that part off in the morning – I like it because it keeps me from streaking! There’s a face version and also a fairer skin version, too!

  22. Hannah Bunker May 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Oh man, I am right there with you! I’m a redhead with pale, freckled skin and have never once in my life been able to tan. Sometimes I wonder if I could make myself one big freckle so then maybe I would look tan. lol jk, I’ve learned to embrace the paleness.

    • jeanie April 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      I’m a redhead and I have had the most natural results with Clarin self-tanners. Estee Lauder makes good ones, too, but Clarins is rather expensive. Jergens is not bad but it makes me look too red, especially my neck.

  23. kristi May 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    i have the same trouble. the jergens shows up instantly. every other brand i’ve tried has been too orangey. i’m always hoping to find something even more subtle.

  24. Jessica May 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    I have tried just about every self tanner out there (except for Sun, which I do want to try). I am not just pale but ghostly white…and athletic build – which just looks bad. My favortie so far is Lancome. I have to lotion up with regular lotion first, let that dry, then put on the lancome lotion. Bc if I dont’, it gets too dark. I do this every other day. In the winter, I use a cheaper lotion (Banana Boat from Walmart works ok). When I was pregnant I used Lavera (I got it from Target)…it didn’t seem to have chemicals…or so they say.

  25. Erica May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I really love to look tan, but am pale, too. I really like the Loreal Sublime Bronze for a self-tanner, but I have some friends who love Fake & Bake. I think in the long run–it’s so much better for you to stay out of the sun–all that tanning can really turn your skin into leather, give you unwanted age spots, and make you look much older than you really are :( Good luck :)

  26. erin May 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I’m fair-skinned as well and have in the past liked the Jergens lotion you mentioned above. I do have to agree with you about the smell, it stinks. So for my sister’s wedding (last month in LA) I tried the foam version and was happy with the coverage and the smell wasn’t as bad as the lotion. You may want to consider trying that product.

  27. Patricia May 8, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Not a red-head, but I have very fair skin. Jergens has been a lifesaver for me! :)

  28. Richella @ Imparting Grace May 8, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I’m a redhead and my three sons are all redheads as well, so I know your frustration well. I’m lucky that I pretty much only get freckles on my face instead of all over, but fair skin can feel like it looks too pale sometimes, I know.

    As a 48-year-old redhead, I do have a bit of advice: Find a sunless tanner you like and rejoice that you don’t tan! Why? Because the tan that looks so pretty and “healthy” on younger bodies comes back to haunt people when they’re my age. I used to feel so jealous of my friends’ tans, but now most of my peers have quite a few spots and mottled-looking skin, particularly in the decolletage area. Now my formerly tanned friends are wishing they’d avoided the sun more. I like Neutrogena’s “Build-a-tan” lotion and Sally Hansen’s “Airbrush Legs” to spray on some color. Otherwise, my advice is to embrace the look of fair skin and know that one day it’ll pay off in a big way! :)

  29. Wendy @ The Shabby Nest May 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I don’t actually have red hair…. my mother is a red head, and my son has red hair…but me, I just got the red-head skin. It’s hard for me to tan as well..mostly I just freckle. And I use the Jergens lotion too. First one I’ve found that does the trick for me as well. I do love that it looks so natural because I’m not so sure if I’m the pasty pale or the pretty pale myself. Lol! Fair skinned, freckle-faced ladies unite!! ;-)

  30. sarah@boxwood May 8, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    PS. I always just a scrub before applying the self tanner, it REALLY makes a nice difference.

  31. sarah@boxwood May 8, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    I’m a redhead too, and proud to be. In England (where I grew up) I used to get teased quite a bit about it, by kids and adults, but my dad always told me I was his golden haired girl and beautiful, so I knew not to listen to the bully’s.

    Although only one other sibling out of 8 is also a redhead, it’s showing showing up quite prominently in the next generation. I’ve already witnessed people saying things about my niece, horrid things adults should never say when a three year old can hear. I wonder if this stupid “ginger” prejudice has spread over here. I don’t know why people even would comment negatively. Are they jealous?

    But you’re right, the downside is the palely freaky skin. My sisters tan so beautifully and look gorgeous soaking up the suns rays all summer long. And I look like an idiot with long coverups, sitting in the shade! Luckily fall comes shortly after, and I can have my season of glowing with the leafs, while my sisters tan’s fade :)

    Jergens is a great self tanner and pretty fool prof. Great just to take the edge of the pasty! It makes me feel less like a vampire, and for me that’s a good thing!

  32. Jennifer May 8, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    As a kid, the most common comment in my school year books was: “Have a great summer and get a tan.” Needless to say the tan part never happened. Never will. 25 years later I’ve finally found peace with my translucent skin and loads of freckles. I’m glad you’ve found a way to enjoy your beautiful coloring. :)

  33. Lindsay May 8, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    This is so true – I’m with you. I always want to be a bit more tan, but can’t bring myself to get too much sun and self tanner works, but smells :( I’m really trying to embrace my natural skin tone, but it can be so hard with all you see out there! I think you look beautiful just the way you are!

  34. martha May 8, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    I read about “sun” from another blog. I bought it off amazon, It is amazing! It smells great and the tan is very natural. It comes in a mist too. Works great on your face as well. I bought the 32 oz. jug that comes with a pump. It will last forever!

  35. Catherine May 8, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    This is such a beautiful picture. Perfect for Mother’s Day.
    When i saw the pic of yall on the beach, the first thing i noticed was your fair skin which is lovely ( in a good way). When i was a teenager, here in the south, we baked under the sun using baby oil with iodine mixed in, which, looking back, the iodine was probably the first rub on tanning component. I avoid the sun and wish i had when i was younger. I use faux tanning products. I looked around online to try to find one without the smell. Banana boat was recommended, but guess what? Still smells. I have used the towellettes, as well, and found they make application very easy. Please let me know which one you try and which one has no smell.

  36. Carly May 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Highly rec spray tan …they even have ultra light for fare skin. The new hd mystic tan machine are amazing.

  37. Anne May 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Emily, I always loved the Jergens lotion, but got really tired of that self-tanner smell! I have been using Nivea this year and it is wonderful! It smells great and looks so subtle and natural. Give it a try!

  38. Angela May 7, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    When you comb through the comments and try something, will you make some recommendations? I am a fair skinned natural blond, and with red hair at least you have the benefit of being unique! I am in my early thirties, no gray hair yet (knock on wood), with nice natural highlights, and I get stopped by strangers and asked who colors my hair. Colored blond hair is so common that my hair doesn’t stand out, except for people to wonder who colored my hair :) I am really pale, but figure that some day everyone who tanned nicely will have leathery skin, and I’ll age well? But I’d be interested in some self tanning suggestions.

  39. Jamie May 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I, too, am super pale, and LOVE the Jergens products. I was thrilled this year when they introduced the newest variation that contains SPF, I’ll still burn, even with my fake tan, in 15 minutes! Last year I was using one that said it would last longer (for obvious reasons) and once accidentally bought the “firming” version you show above. It smelled way funkier than what I had been using, and the glow and protect doesn’t smell that bad either. Maybe try a non-firming variety to get rid of the fake tan smell? Good luck!

  40. Rachel May 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I am a red-head also. Tanning beds when I was younger…baby oil sun bather from pacific nw. (so the backyard sun bathing was few and far between right? ) Once I got skin cancer (3 times so far ) I became experienced in all things tanning lotion.

    Today I use St. Tropez lotion on my legs and arms. Love it! (buy it from amazon, and don’t buy all three steps…not necessary) it doesn’t smell.

    I’m going to have to try the towels though after reading these comments…!

  41. Ashley May 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m “fair” :) too and me and my mom swear by this stuff.. SO natural looking and scent-free! It’s buildable too!

  42. chelsea May 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Jergens Natural glow is my favorite! I have tried lots of self-tanners and I like that this isn’t really a true self tanner. It’s a lotion with a little bit of self tanner in it. I also like that they have light and medium because the light stops working for me after a week or two. I love that it’s goof proof. Pretty much you can’t mess it up. I had many self tanning mishaps with regular self tanners! :( The only thing I don’t like is the smell like you said. I usually put it on at night before bed (after showering) and by the morning it’s mostly gone.

  43. Erin May 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I love the beautiful picture of you and your sweet daughter!

    I just found Comodynes self-tanning towelettes and I love them! I bought mine off of Amazon. The towelettes allow me to add a very natural looking tan without streaking and I reapply every 3-4 days. It takes two towelettes to do my entire body. I’m tan for the first time in my life!

    Fun question. I’ve loved reading everyone’s tips!

  44. Elizabeth May 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I think pale skin is beautiful! Like milky moonlight… it looks soft and creamy to me, almost angelic? I used to be into the tan thing, but I’ve come out of that… I think the rest of society will too, eventually. A hundred years ago PALE skin was all the rage, so, i am sure it will come around again eventually! Also, red hair is a fav of mine… I have green eyes and brown hair, but growing up I always thought my green eyes would be so much better if I had red hair to go along!

    p.s. I think your gorgeous, tan or no tan!

  45. Natalie C. May 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I am a fellow red head… slightly on the strawberry blonde side. I have light blue/green eyes and blonde eyelashes and eyebrows, too.. so mascara is a must!
    For me eating a very colorful diet full of lots of fresh fruit and veggies has changed my skin’s “glow” I have a lot more color and life in my skin and I get told that alot. I have lots of freckles on my arms. If I keep up with eating lots of good quality fats and not much sugar I won’t burn as easily either. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! I like to use Loreal self tanner and I rub lotion around the spots that can get dark and show like ankles, elbows etc before I apply it. I’ve gotten compliments with that product, so it must look natural enough. I just hate taking the time to apply it and keep it up all summer, so I will opt out or use the Jergens (love it!)… Just some thoughts!

  46. Shelley May 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    I too am a “pale-ian” as one of my close friends calls the two of us. I used to use Jergens lotion, but couldn’t stand the weird scent. The best and probably most affordable product I’ve found is Ocean Potion Everglow lotion. I love the smell. It kind of tropical scented – maybe will a cross of bubble gum (sounds weird, but its really nice). It is very subtle, but I never get streaks with it. It is a nice glow with no lines. Best of all, I think it’s under or around 6 bucks at Walmart and comes in a pump bottle. The only downside is that it takes a few days to make a difference, but to me it’s totally worth it – very natural. I know I will not be dark, it just want something to take the glow off.

  47. Aileen May 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    As one redhead to another……I can totally relate! When I was in my 20’s I had girlfriends who would sit in the sun and I would have to find shade. As I’ve gotten in my 40’s not only is my skin “light” (I like that better than pale!) but my hair is lightening up too. I’m turning into a strawberry blond, but still consider myself a redhead. Thanks for this post….it’s fun to read about other redheads!

  48. Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    I am right with you Emily. I’m a blonde but have very very fair skin and absolutely do not tan AT ALL! My husband jokes that I have two colors in the summer, red and white.

    My favorite self tanner by far is the same one you picked. Jergans natural glow for fair skin. It is so subtle but I do notice some nice color. I have tried more brands than I can count for years and I really like this one.

    Your sister in paleness!

    P.S. I love your blog!

  49. Cld May 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I have naturally reddish hair and have been pale with freckles my eh whole life. Both my my sons are true bright redheads with suoerwhite(but beautiful on them!) skin. The only time in my life that my legs have had actual color was in college when I used a tanning bed. Please don’t do this!! I have had 3 basal cell cancers removed in the last 2 yrs and I am just 36! I’d rather have white unscarred arms and back than semi tanned and scars. I always wear high SPF waterproof sunblock if I am in the sun now and do the same for my kids. I still get “color” from this(but still white compared to everyone else$

    I like the jergens lotion, too but my favorite is the loreal sublime bronze airbrush spray. It works faster , goes on evenly if you do not apply too heavily, and does not really smell at all. I hate self tanner smell!
    I have heard really good things about the sun laboraties lotion another poster mentioned.
    Good luck!

  50. Stephanie May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I too have a very similar complexion. I have never been in a tanning booth, but have tried a few lotions. Turns out I am allergic to the ingredient that makes your skin darker. I get a weird reaction that doesn’t allow me to breathe fully (shortness of breath?). So, of course, I no longer use them and probably shouldn’t even try a whole body mystic tan if want to continue living. The consequence- accepting my skin color and slathering on the spf 70+ :)

  51. Stacy May 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    I have recently had skin cancer removed from the top of my head. It has been 8 weeks and it’s still sensitive. I really don’t want to go thru that again! So I’ve been using a tinted sunscreen on my face. I got it from my dermatologist. It’s by Elta. It doesn’t have any chemicals, and has a spf 41. But my newest favorite thing is Sally Hansens Airbrush Legs! I have dry skin and self tanners never look right on my feet and knees. This is Water resistant and you can see where you are putting it! It washes off with soap and water and a washcloth. It doesn’t have a smell either! They have a light, medium or dark glow. It’s only $11 at Target! I don’t have the presure to be out in the sun for a tan anymore! You are beautiful and I love your blog!

  52. Megan May 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Oh my goodness! You are going about this the wrong way. I am from Australia and we have a different way of thinking down here. The stats in Australia show that 1 out of 3 people born in Australia will develop skin cancer. UV beds are frowned upon and are is the process of being banned! We have a campaign every summer which is “Tanning is skin cells in trauma “. I am the same as you…I have two skin colours white and red and since the campaign started and after having ‘bad’ moles cut out from me from the age of 19 I believe that our Snow White completion is stunning. Embrace the inner Snow White and say no to any tanning products and services. Okay, Okay I am going to come down from my soap box now but just remember what is brown in nature…. dead leave (even though I love autumn), stools, mud, off fruit… we do not need to look brown and should not aspire to be brown. Stay good looking!

  53. GirlWithACurl May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I tried the lotions and the at-home tanners. Drugstore, high-end, I had them all. They pale (pun intended) in comparison to paying for an application.

    TRY SPRAY TANNING!! It took me months of contemplation before I did it. I don’t get waxed because I can’t stand being naked in front of someone so I did the Mystic tanning booth. It took two tries before I got the hang of it but the results just MAKE ME HAPPY! Tan!!! Just like back in the 80’s when we bought “amplifier” that acted like “a thousand tiny mirrors to amplify the sun’s rays.” And slathered it on and layed out for HOURS and ended up looking nut brown.

    Pay someone to apply it manually (I hear they do a great job around the ankles/hands/knees where its tough not to look oompa loompa-like) or go into a Mystic tanning booth. The key is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate before hand. And moisturize.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Period. :-) I do it every so often–for an upcoming wedding, as a special treat, etc. It’s bonkers what chemicals go into that stuff, but every once in a while.

  54. Ericka J. May 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Here is my best advice – MOVE TO ASIA! Kidding of course, but I always get compliments on my WHITE skin when I am in India and Thailand. There they put cancer causing chemicals on their skin (in lotion, soap, deodorant, makeup – everything!) to lighten it…. meanwhile, we are laying in tanning beds (also cancer causing) to darken ours…. it seems we all want what we can’t have!

    Seriously though – I have only done the spray tan thing once before (where you get into the machine) and didn’t like it – but I have heard great things about Arbonne’s self tanner. Never found anything Arbonne I didn’t LOVE, so I’d be willing to bet it’s worth a try!

    I love that their products are all natural AND this one has SPF too! Just be sure to exfoliate well before doing any self tanners!

  55. anonymous May 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Emily, My family lives in the Seaside area you went on vacation to awhile ago.. Growing up there I had a tan, with soft natural blond sunkissed highlights on top of my light red hair. Now I’m 33 and live in San Francisco with my husband of 11 years. I have had some of the top of breast cut off and the back of my neck had some skin removal due to cancer symptoms. Also I have pain inside of my nose where some skin was removed . I wish I could tell my 16 year old self how sexy a tan looks. I dye my red hair brown, and feel like a vampire. I honestly hate the way my hair and skin look! I hide from camera and overall cringe at the site of my skin. Your such a pretty lady you don’t need a tan to be pretty.

  56. Kari May 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Hello~so I have not read through all the comments so sorry if someone else already said this, but I LOVE Tarte self tanner. They sell it on QVC, so go to and search Tarte self tanner and you can watch a video and see what it does. Also the creator of tarte is a fairskinned redhead. There are also lots of customer reviews and you can read what people think of it. Good Luck!

  57. Amoreena May 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    My Japanese grandma adores pale skin. She tries to make her skin as pale as possible. :)

    The best self-tanning lotion that I have found is called Fake Bake– although it may have caused me to look a little too tan on my wedding day!

  58. Sherri Cox May 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    This blonde-headed mama hopes she can convince her redheaded baby girl (she’s almost 1 year old now) that a tan will never be attained with our complexions! I finally relented in my early twenties. I love the summer but it always makes me a little sad to see everyone else with their beautiful tans.

  59. Serah May 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I’m very interested in all these comments because I’m pasty-pale with dark auburn hair (with lots of highlights!). We’re heading to Disney World in 25 days and I’m going to try a spray tan this week. I figured a test run would be good just in case it’s a disaster!

    On a side note, what kind of mascara do you use? Your lashes always look fantastic!

  60. Alison May 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Ok.. speaking from PLENTY of experience here, I love So Bronze Body Mist. I have used L’oreal, Jergens,Clarins, Ulta Brand.. so many more and this is the one I love the most! I buy it in an aerosol can and love that I can basically “airbrush” my body and see results within in one hour. I have also seen the lotion and face lotion but have yet to use those. It dries quickly, does not smell and stays on for about 3 to 4 days. I have bought it at Ulta and at Beauty Brands for about $30. SO glad to have found something I will actually buy again and again. This stuff works!

    • Alison May 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Forgot to mention this gives a very nice even tan color. NOT orange. Had a few friends buy it too because they also thought it gave the nicest natural color they had seen

  61. Jane H May 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Jergen’s Express works even faster, still a natural look, and even less scent! I found when working in a small office the other kind did put off a sort of tanning lotion scent, but the Express version did not! As a very fair (former blonde, now grey) I rely on it every summer!

  62. Terri May 7, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    I really like the tanning lotion from Mary Kay. It has a subtle fragrance and I can tell a difference within a few applications.

  63. Elizabeth May 7, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I use Bare Essentials Faux Tan. The smell isn’t awful and the color isn’t orangey. I found it at Ulta last year, but this year ordered from QVC because it was less expensive. I mix it with lotion to dillute it a bit. I’ve also heard the tan towels are amazing.

  64. Mega May 7, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Well, I had to comment on this one, since I also am a redhead and share your only complaint about being redheaded. I, too, grew to embrace and even like my freckles, but I hate that I can’t tolerate the heat and scorch if I’m not covered up and slathered with 100+ SPF!!! In summertime, I like to call my tone a “deeper shade of pale” :) Thank goodness for self tanners! I also like Jergens, but my favorite drug store one is the L’Oreal Sublime Bronze towelettes and their Sublime Bronze tinted lotion (in medium) which has a nice instant glow, too! Now, if we could just get rid of that smell…

  65. Lindsey May 7, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    I used that same jergens lotion last summer and really liked the results, but i could not handle the smell. It smelled too much like sun screen, so I always thought I smelled like I had been sweating at the beach when I was at the grocery store or drinking coffee. This year I’m using Neutrogena Build-a-Tan and I really like it! It gives a very slight/gradual tan and does not smell anything like the jergens stuff. I recommend it!

  66. Erin May 7, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    I haven’t read through all of the comments, so maybe others have already said this, but I, too, have pale, tan-resistant skin and I also like the Jergens product. Like you, though, I find the smell pretty unpleasant. I’ve discovered that Target’s version of the Jergens product works just as well and the smell isn’t nearly as offensive to me. Plus it’s a few bucks cheaper! :)

  67. Kelly May 7, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I have a good friend who is a redhead and always has this natural beautiful glowing tan. Well, a few weeks ago we were headed to a moms night out with our MOPS group and I was in need of a little glow myself, so she shared her secret. She uses Sally Hansens spray on panty hose all over her body (minus her face). She tried it on me and Oh My. It was amazing. Her additional tips were to get it in the medium shade and then use a little tropic hawaiian tanning oil to finish it off. I realze it’s not a self tanner, so the downside is that it washes off (not so good at the pool or beach), but it doesn’t have that annoying self tanner smell and you can control the depth of your tan. Anyways, good luck girl! I think you always look fabulous!

  68. Brianna May 7, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I’m one of those red heads that DO tan well– I freckle a lot, but I also develop a tan. There was a gathering of redheads to try to break a world record in July 2010 in Issaquah. It was a beautiful sunny day and we gathered on a high school football field, and as a joke, the organizer asked “How many of you are wearing sunblock today? Raise your hand” I think I was the only one who didn’t raise my hand, and stood looking around going… um, not me. I was surrounded by 1000 redheads, so you’d think I would feel at home. And yet, no such luck. I should wear sunblock more since skin cancer runs in my family. But I don’t need it to prevent a sunburn unless I’m at the beach or doing some serious sunbathing, so I just don’t think about it.

  69. Fonda May 7, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    You will now find out how many red heads read your blog. :D I loved this post!!
    I have auburn hair and hazel eyes; yup, the fair skin.. My bright red burns do go to a slight tan, but it takes a lot of sun… And to make it worse, I have an office job, so I do not get a lot of sun… :P haha
    But I sooo relate to the journey of accepting my fair skin.. (I have always liked freckles tho. :]) I am so glad that I can find security in personality, etc, and most important, in Jesus Christ! He is SO much more fulfilling than tan skin…. :] :]
    Bless you!

  70. Darcy May 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I can sooo relate to this! I am also a redhead and seriously pale! I feel your pain lol! I really don’t mind the paleness on my face and arms, it’s just having pale legs that I really hate. I’m pretty religious about sunscreen and keeping shade on my face on sunny days, but I’ll let my legs bake in the sun whenever I can lol. (Actually I apply spf 15 or 30 to my legs while ‘baking’ to avoid massive sunburns, but the whole point is to get some color on them). The Jergens has also worked for me, but I also hate that smell and haven’t used it in a few years. I’ve pretty much just come to terms with my fair skin and have learned to love it a little more in the past few years. BTW, I think you have beautiful peachy, porcelain skin that looks gorgeous on you.

  71. Kim May 7, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Hey beauty… we have been programed at some point to like the way tanned skin looks. I think pale is coming back – very slowly lol. I am pale skin (no freckles) and I used to be able to tan and with my older age I can’t seem to. It is strange – I don’t burn but I can’t tan either. I have not found a tanner that I love, yet (still searching). I am a perfectionist and I am not a fan of the jergens because I know there has to be something better out there so thanks for posting b/c I am curious if there is some really awesome product on the market. I don’t know the best self tan lotion but I can tell you Hoola by Benefits is the most awesome bronzer on the market and I believe I have tried every bronzer available. You would laugh if you knew how much time and money I spent Hoola keeps me from looking “sick” and I blend it through the neck and even chest and shoulders when needed. I love it so much I would say if I was stranded somewhere and could only take one beauty product with me it would be my Hoola bronzer. If you try it promise you will let me know if it works for you. It is not for the whole body but it is something :)

  72. Kim May 7, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I am a fellow pale-skinned girl. I have very dark hair and hazel eyes and really pale skin. Everyone assumes I should be able to tan, but I can’t. I burn and peel and burn and peel. Gave up trying to tan in my early 20s, but I still hate having the palest legs in the group. I went on a family trip to Mexico over spring break and wanted to at least not blind my friends when I wore shorts so I tried several new tanners before I went. My fav that I tried was “St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Everyday Gradual Tan for Body”. It worked really well on my pale skin. I put it on for several days in a row until I reached a shade that I liked then reapplied every other day or so. A little smell, but much better than the ones I have tried in the past. I will never be someone that can turn heads with my tan, but I don’t want to shock anyone with my paleness either, you know? And this was perfect. It is not cheap, $30.00 for 6.7 oz at Sehora but it goes on easy and and the bottle seems to last awhile. Totally worth it for me as I have made some bad mistakes with other brands that were cheaper but really streaked or were orange. This same brands makes a mousse version that I have not tried yet.

  73. Jo May 7, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I use this same lotion and recently switched to white towels. I never noticed it in previous years, but it wipes off after a shower. I now just pat my legs dry. My daughter does a fashion/style blog called Style Meganzine (her name is Megan) and she has written a couple blogs about self-tanners. She has some good advice.

  74. Debbie C May 7, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    This was so great! I loved reading what everyone has tried AND it was so nice to hear about so many FRECKLES!!! Here I thought I was the only one with them! HAHA! I find that when I’m at my whits end with the kiddos its because winter is almost over and I need some color (I use the neutrogena one) – it does the trick EVERY time, the happy mama comes back. :-)
    I, too am also very pale. When I was single I lived an hour away from my parents and my dad was always concerned about me (overworking, etc). If I went home with tanner on my father would say I was looking wonderful, and it must have been a good week. If I went without, my father was very concerned, attentive etc. I told my mom that I was putting tanner on and we would always have a good laugh. Now that he’s gone, I think about how lovely he’d think I was looking when I put my tanner on (knowing that he loved me, thought I was beautiful just the way I was anyways). Hee Hee

  75. Sandra K May 7, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I’m a fellow fair-skinned redhead. Here are my suggestions:

    * I love a spray tan from a person, not a machine. It’s much more customized and accurate. Ask them to use their ‘winter’ shade (lightest color) and spray you lightly. Otherwise the color is too drastic when you go from fair-skinned one day to tropical the next. If you moisturize daily, it lasts at least a week. I’ve also been told you can extend the life of your spray tan as it starts to fade by using a product like the Jergens.

    * Please, please don’t go to a tanning bed. I’ve been very careful in the sun most of my life, and already had a skin cancer removed at age 35. It’s scary and not worth it.

  76. Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    oops – it’s to say “Toma’s Tan perfect – Self-Tanning Lotion ” !!!!

  77. Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I like to use Toms’s Tan Perfect Self-Tanning Lotion !!!! To be honest… the smell is not the best !!!! I do think the results are well worth it : )

  78. Catherine May 7, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Another pasty white one here! I do not tan at all, just go lobster red, peel and back to white. I would love to know of a fake tan that just gave a hint of colour without it being obvious on my super white skin. Just for my legs even! So I don’t blind people in summer if I wear shorts…. really, it is a community service.

  79. rachel in Cali. May 7, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Have you tried a “spray tan”? I haven’t, but I hear that the salons that have a person that actually sprays you as opposed to a machine work well. Not overdone. ;)

  80. Jenica May 7, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I have tried them all and this is the only one that looks natural on my fair skin- Fake Bake – the face tanner is great too- Happy Monday!

    • Kristen May 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      Fake Bake is the best! Victorias secrect is great too!

  81. Diane May 7, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    I am user of self-tanner and have also tried quite a few brands. The best brand by far is Bare Minerals self-tanner. I use medicine gloves to apply to avoid my palms from getting stained. I highly recommend to give this a try.

  82. Katy May 7, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    I have to agree to Bethe and Christina… Tan Towels are a lovely alternative. And my favorite part (in addition to the natural looking color) is the scent… light citrus! Dries super quick so no worries about getting on your bath towel or clothes. Takes a couple tries to get the right hang of using the towelettes… I rub and rub until the thing is almost dry to avoid any “missed” spots… especially around knees. They also have a lotion to use in between that is like the Jergens product you like. Like you, I’ve tried them all and this is the best by FAR!!

  83. Millisa May 7, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I second the commenter above about sun laboratories self tanner. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff. By far the most natural color I’ve ever gotten from a self tanner. Its an overnight formula so you put it on before you go to bed and wash it off in the morning so no funky smell throught the day (can’t stand that!). It has a bronzer in it so you can see where you’ve applied it so it will look crazy dark at first but after you shower in the morning you are left with a beautiful sun kissed color. Just make sure you wear gloves with this stuff or it WILL stain your hands! They do sell it on amazon but I ‘m not patient enough to wait for them to ship it so I buy mine from Ulta (kinda like Sephora, not sure if you have one of those where you are at).

  84. Veronica H. May 7, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Hi there! I have dark, dark hair and pale, pale skin! Plus, because I have lupus, I am not supposed to go in the sun much. Sooooo…. my kids always joke that I’m so white I glow in the dark! And they jokingly call me “Pimp Pasty”. Gotta love ’em. I have found that L’Oreal Sublime Bronze spray for medium natural tan gives me a great natural-looking colored tan. I love the stuff. Here is a link to a picture and review…

    • Kai May 10, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      i’ve got a pale skin, too, and light brown hair (~_~). at least i have green eyes. as a child i freckled and (that i do still) get sunburn – and i got spots (looking like freckles or darker) that last everywhere i ever burnt (-_-). i tan slightly, mostly on arms and hands…
      but i’m okay with it, i protect my skin a lot. and in Germany we call it “vornehme Blässe” (noble paleness)

  85. Meg May 7, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    I LOVE Bare Escentuals Faux Tan Sunless Tanner! It goes on dark so you can see any spots you may have missed.

  86. Alyssa May 7, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    I hear ya! I actually just posted about my hair, I brushed out my dreads!

  87. MissesStitches May 7, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    I’m a redhead, too, although it’s mostly gray now! You sound like you’re pretty smart about sun exposure. But I want to caution you about it. I am currently going through some painful dermatological treatments for pre-cancerous sun-exposure spots. I’m older than you are (56 now) and we didn’t always use sunscreen when I was younger. Heck, it didn’t even exist! But please, be careful, and always cover up. Keep your beautiful pale skin looking beautiful.

  88. Christina May 7, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Oh yes, fellow redhead here! With all of the upcoming weddings I am in, I have been desperately trying out tanning products. The one that I have been happiest with is “Tan Towels,” and although they are quite pricey, they are worth it and look the most natural.

  89. Michelle May 7, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I have finally found a self tanner that works really well. I get many compliments too.
    Loreal Sublime Bronze tinted self tanning lotion in deep tan. They also have medium tan.

  90. sylvia May 7, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I just bought tanwise from Sally Beauty Supply. It’s a spray on and it does have the tanning smell, but it is the most natural looking tanner I’ve ever used! And as a pale brunette who can’t tan… I’ve tried a lot of these products! My sister and I both love it!

  91. rachel May 7, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I’m so pale too! I’ve learned to live with it, but on occasion, I use Clarins Tanning Milk on my face and L’Oreal Sublime Bronze on my body. The Clarins product is amazing!

  92. Beau Jean May 7, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    You have been so blessed. Your body is a gift from God. He gave you what you would need for the time that you spend on this earth. Please do not look down on the beautiful, beautiful skin that he blessed you with. Please do not try to change the way you look. You truly are lovely.

  93. Jennie Fawbush May 7, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    I’ve been using the same self-tanner for years:

    Loreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Gelee:

    I can’t handle the smell of any of the others I’ve tried and I like how it dries.

    This pale girl is grateful!

  94. Stephanie May 7, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    I understand completely. I do tan but require unhealthy amounts of uv to tan and my feet really never tan. I discovered Bare Escentuals Faux Tan. You apply it with a brush. It is best to apply at night and shower it off in the morning. It leaves you with a beautiful color that is subtle. If you want to be darker then keep doing it every night. I definitely feel better about the way I look when I’m using it. A bottle is a bit pricey but lasts a long time. Try it out!

  95. Abbey May 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I’m a redhead too and I like to use these sunless tanning wipes I found at Sephora. Their name is escaping me, but they come in little orange and white packets and they are pretty reasonably priced. They don’t turn me orange and they do a really good job of going on smoothly. I use them all the time in the summer :)

  96. Jen May 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Just thought I would chime in on the bronzer. I’m a strawberry -blonde and have pale -freckled skin. Most tanners make me look ompa-lompa-ish but one that I have found and LOVE is Moist Hemp – sounds strange but it’s amazing. It’s sold at Sally Beauty and it fairly inexpensive – so you have nothing to lose! I’d love to hear if you try it out and what you think. Also it smells wonderful – that’s a huge plus because I can’t stand to be with myself when I use some other brands! LOL!

  97. Amanda Turley May 7, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I feel ya though I’m a blonde, I have 2 sisters and my mother are redheads. So I got this great blonde hair (that now with children has darkened and has a bit of red in it…. gotta love having to highlight to keep blonde ;P) but I have the skin of a redhead. I do wish I would freckle just a smidgen more. I love the youthfulness freckles give but being in the beauty industry I also know that freckles for most is just signs of skin damage. DANG IT! LOL. So I to use a self tanner and I also LOVE Jergens firming gradual tanning lotion. LOVE! Now I go from looking like I reflect the suns rays, (Maybe that’s why my panels show I’m low in vitamin D lol) to looking like I actually absorb some of it. ;)

  98. Bethe May 7, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I’m a blonde haired blue-eyed pale-skinned girl, and I’ve found that Tan Towels work fantastic. They work really well on the face as well as the body, and there’s no streaking because it’s like rubbing a wet wipe on your body. I discovered them after my friend, who is a facialist to the stars in Beverly Hills, told me they sell them at her salon and mark them way up. But you can get them on Amazon or at Ulta for less than $20. PS–Love your blog.

  99. Tabitha May 7, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Oh I’m with you, sister. Our reds are the same color – and I’ve only been tan ONCE in my entire life, that being when I worked at a tanning salon in highschool.

    People always joke on me, my husband included… but I look at it this way… My skin is smooth, soft and almost flawless (minus the abundance of freckles) – when I’m 50, my skin will still be smooth, soft & flawless. Even if I do wish for a tan, I know my skin will thank me later!!!

  100. Meghan May 7, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Oh how I can relate to you!!! As a redhead myself, and living in Georgia – the land of the sunkissed babes – I feel your pain (no – really, I have a sunburn from the weekend just being at a birthday party!!!) I will try your Jergens for a good subtle glow, but when I want a tan I go get a spray tan. I always get the 1st level, which is the lightest. It only lasts a week, but totally does the trick (if you find a good spa to do it). Just make sure that you still lather up with sunscreen because it is essentially paint for the skin.

    Also, I just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog. You inspire me!!!

  101. Sarah May 7, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    I am soooo pale. I get it from my mom. I wish I had the red hair to go with it, but mom and I both have dark brown hair, which I think just makes the pale skin more noticeable. When I was a kid, people who didn’t know me (older people especially), would ask me if I was sick because I was so pale. My mom actually got sent home from school once as a child, because a sub was so convinced that she was sick, just based on how pale she is!

    I used to use the Jergens self-tanner when it first came out because they had one that was labeled “fair” and it was perfect. I guess they weren’t selling enough of it though, because now they only carry “fair-medium” and it is way too dark for me. My legs just look streaky orange if I use it. I’ve tried Neutrogena too and it’s the same way. I was actually just thinking about this the other day and wondering if there is a perfect product out there for me. I’m eagerly reading all the suggestions!

  102. Amanda May 7, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    I’ve got to say, I’m a redhead too. With the pale skin and freckles. And tendency to burn.
    But I love it! I would much rather have my pasty skim milk skin than a tan, actually. I tried a self tanner once, and thought it looked absurd on me. I’m pale and I’m proud. Even if some people mock my glowingly white skin.

  103. Megan May 7, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    I have strawberry blonde (more on the redder side), but I am one of the few that actually can tan. Dont get me wrong, I do Burn like crazy first. My daughter has RED hair and is super fair skin. She looks like a doll and want her skin to stay that way. Unfortunately I learned the hard way, and now dont try to get much sun at all. I use the Jergens selftanner and love it – minus the smell:( Love your red hair and freckles!!!! Embrace them as they are part of you!!!!

  104. Alex May 7, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    I use Lorac Tantalizer… It is unlike the Jergens lotion in that it doesn’t gradually make your skin darker. You put it on like lotion (I am fair and mix a little drop of the Tantalizer with my regular lotion – a little goes a LONG way!) and let it dry before putting on my clothes. It has a tiny bit of shimmer and makes your legs and arms look super toned. It washes off when you take a shower. I am 26 and go to a wedding or wedding party every weekend and I just don’t have time to tan like I used to… This is my little beauty secret! I love it.

    You can get it at Sephora… And if you don’t want to buy it just yet (it’s $32 but lasts forever), ask someone who works there to give you a sample.

  105. Laura May 7, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    i LOVE Banana Boat Summer Color self tanning mist -it’s a mist, which makes it easy to get hard to reach areas like your back. It gives you lots of control too, you can reapply daily or skip days, and build your color up. I spray it and follow up with my lotion so that it doesn’t streak. The color lasts a week and the best part is the smell – it smells like an orange. Seriously. You can find it at Target.

  106. Mitzi O May 7, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Pale skin and freckles, right here! No pretty red hair though… more of the dirty blonde, but I pay good money not to see that brassy, dull color! lol!
    I use the jergens natural glow too! But i also love, love the jergens express – it works much faster! :) OH and FAKE BAKE! Yes, that’s the actual name! It’s fabulous, but there is a process with it; whereas with the jergens you just use it like lotion.
    One more thing, I saw a sign once that read “A face without freckles, is like a sky without stars”! :)

  107. Lacie May 7, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Emily- you are beautiful just the way God made you! I struggle too with my pale skin and it is hard to embrace at times, especially during the summer. I don’t prefer the smell of any self tanning product. But I did try and now LOVE (from Pinterest) the idea of tea tanning. Its like a lip or cheek stain, it washes off once you shower, but it definitely adds a beautiful glow and doesn’t smell. Its very easy, brew 10 bags of black tea (I always add a little almond flavoring for extra good scent) and then put into a spray bottle. It works better if you moisturize legs and arms first and then spray on, but have to wait until it dries before putting clothes on. It is my favorite go to for a great tan!

  108. Becky May 7, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Tanning wipes are the way to go! Smell good and much more instant than the lotion (although the Jergens lotion is a good way to go).

  109. Nell May 7, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    I would argue that the worst thing about being a redhead is invisible eye lashes and eyebrows. I would love to not have to spend precious time every morning battling to make my lashes and brows visible to the naked eye, yet somewhat natural looking at the same time. I would hate to think how many hours of my life has been spent in front of the mirror battling this!

  110. nan May 7, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    You need to try sun laboratories tanning lotion. It is a white bottle with orange letters on it. Buy the dark version. It is the best of the best and not orange at all. The color is a perfect bronze on everyone and it’s instant color so no streaks. They sell it on amazon. YOU WILL BE SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS PRODUCT!!!

  111. Ashley May 7, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I use Jergen’s too but don’t feel like I see enough color. I heard about Banana Boat’s gradual spray tan though and really like it…It does kind of smell bad when I sweat but I’m willing to take that if it means a bit of a glow. I do have to have my husband spray it on me as it’s impossible to get every corner of my body but it looks great!

  112. Heather O May 7, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I’m a natural redhead too. I most definitely freckle, but I’m also one of the lucky ones who can get a tan if I get very slow and steady sun exposure. (ie: wear sunblock and get moderate amounts of sun over the summer).

    The rest of the year I’m pretty pale, so I use Vichy’s self-tanner. I find it works really well, quite quickly, doesn’t run or rub off – so far in my experience, and because I’m so pale, just one application is enough for me to feel I can go bare-legged in early spring instead of wearing pantyhose.

    I like instant gratification like that!

  113. Gina May 7, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I also have very pale skin color. My dad is a red head. I used to care about the lack of tan (when I was a teen) but now I see what tanning does to your skin. I’m 58 and have had 1 pre- cancer spot removed. I had a friend who used to make fun of my fair legs in the summer, he just had a melanoma removed from his ear and now is telling everyone to use sun screen. I say go with what God gave you, beautiful fair skin. Embrace it and forget about the self-tanner. Look at your beautiful baby girl, no tan and she is so pretty. Her skin is flawless. Tanning makes faces look old.

  114. EMD May 7, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    The best self tanner that works gradually, and does not have an odor is the St. Tropez line. One for body and another for your face.

  115. Vanessa McElreath May 7, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    You are as gorgeous as ever!

  116. Brenna May 7, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    I am in the pale skin family as well. Dark hair, blue eyes, and fair skin… I’ve used that same Jergens product, and while I do think it works, and the price is nice, the scent can be a bit much.
    I recently picked up Lorac’s Tantalizer bronzer/self tanner and have to say it is worth it! I found it at Ulta for $34, but it has a nice vanilla bean scent and really works. The first application will actually tint your skin as it has a bronzer mixed into it, but as you build upon your applications, you get great results.

  117. Sunny Jane May 7, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Oh, I love pale skin! It’s pretty. I have transparently pale skin, but… I’m also a gardener. And therefore look like a chocolate candy bar all summer:(

  118. mary beth May 7, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    That’s my favorite kind too!!! I’m not a redhead, but having a 3, 2, and 1-yr-old leaves me very little time for tanning; so, thanks for the reminder to go pick some up!

    P.S. I ALWAYS wanted red hair and freckles. :-) You’re lucky.

  119. Danielle May 7, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Gorgeous picture of you and your daughter! While I do agree that pale is pale, I also can attest to the difference between pasty white and pretty pale. I’m pasty white and there’s no time of year that it’s okay for me to go out in public with my skin the way it is. I’m pretty sure it would blind someone! Enter the wonderful world of self-tanners. I have tried a lot of them, some more successfully than others. I love Clinique for my face – primarily because it’s too expensive for my entire body! I loved Vaseline’s brand (medium-dark) but alas, they must have quit making it. I’ve tried Jergens before but I didn’t see much result and the smell was too overpowering. Right now I’m using Neutrogena and I like the smell and it shows up pretty quickly as well. I’ve also tried one of Sephora’s and it’s good too but crazy expensive. I’m anxious to read what others have tried and liked.

    Melanin injections? I can’t say I’m surprised but I’ve never heard of them. I’d be tempted but I doubt I’d ever do it (:

  120. Gabbi May 7, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    I just have to say…I think you are absolutely gorgeous! But I completely feel you on the “everyone looks better tan” thing. I used Jergen’s Firming lotion for a while too, but like you, I hated the smell. I wandered through the self-tanners just a few days ago and came across Jergen’s foam that claims on the can that you get the same color as the lotion WITHOUT the smell. I was super intrigued, and went ahead and bought it. I’ll let you know how it turns out for me! :)

  121. Jessie May 7, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I just tried Jergens again last night–the scent of the foam is better than the lotion! I’ve heard the tanning wipes are awesome, I just haven’t made it to Sephora to pick any up.

    I don’t have red hair, but I do freckle like crazy too. Boo.

  122. Katie May 7, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Emily, First of all, LOVE the blog. I’ll admit, I’m addicted. I’m not ashamed. Second, your hair really is beautiful. As a lifetime brunette, I’m jealous. Third, disclaimer: I sell Mary Kay. And I know this will sound like a sales pitch. Please know that I’m just honestly speaking here and not trying to sell you anything. (Although, if you don’t already have a MK consultant, I’d be more than happy to help you with all your MK needs.) I have tried many self tanners in the past. I, too, was a fan of Jergens, but like you, I wasn’t a fan of the self tanner smell. Mary Kay has a Subtle Tanning Lotion ($16) so I tried it out. I really just need it on my pasty pale legs which I keep covered most of the year. It’s not greasy like some self tanners. And it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t look like I’ve used a self tanner. Keeps me out of the tanning bed and the scent is just as subtle as the glow. It takes up to a week to reach the full color, but I noticed a difference after only one application. It’s also gentle enough to use on your face.

    Hope this helps! :)

  123. Rachel May 7, 2012 at 6:15 am #

    You are beautiful, just beautiful!!

  124. Bonnie @ uncommon May 7, 2012 at 6:15 am #

    Love that stuff! I too am a freckle faced, red-head and gave up attempting to “tan” in my teens!! Thank goodness! :)

  125. Heather May 7, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    I have dark brown hair and I will only get freckles – NO tan!! Thanks for the tip:)

  126. Urban Cowgirl May 7, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    I’m not a red-head, actually a very red-hued brunette, but due to a genetics trifecta, I have the exact complexion of a true red-head. That said, it’s taken me years to embrace the fact that I am not going to tan, I burn, and that it’s wiser (and not so painful) for me to just lather on the sunscreen, wear hats, and stay in the shade as much as possible! I totally agree that Jergens is the best for my skin-type, too! It only takes 1 application for my skin to show a subtle difference and if I use it for 3-4 days straight I actually look tan(ish) and don’t have to use it for a few days because it keeps. Glad to hear other fair skinned people have good luck with Jergens too.

  127. Emily H. May 7, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    I’m not a red head but I do have such pale skin and unfortunately 2 out of my three boys do to. About the only thing that does tan is my arms. So, thanks for the tip on the self tanner. I’ve also learned to em braise my pale skin.

  128. BekaM May 7, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    I am pale too and do not tan at all. And just like you I get covered in freckles. I also like my freckles and in a way I have so many on my arms that it looks like I get a slight tan:). When I need a little color I use Lavera self tanner. I don’t want all the chemicals that come with most brands and that’s why I use it. It is really easy to apply and doesn’t have a huge tanning scent. It too works in about a couple hours and I haven’t had a problem with streaking!

  129. Rachel May 7, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    as a very fair blonde who has always burned easily as well, i’ve always been sure to merely slather on very high spfs and hope for the best. well, until the last couple years, when i developed an extreme sensitivity to uv rays. now if i don’t wear sunscreen and i’m outside for more than 5 minutes (even if i’m just driving…uv a rays come in through the car windows and get me) i break out in a rash that itches for days. interestingly, this is also the first time in my life i’ve ever gotten even a semblance of a tan (or so i think….everyone still marvels at how i can go to florida or some such for two weeks and “maintain my pale”), and i have to say…i don’t like it. i think my skin tends to look more damaged than bronzed, and that’s something i like to avoid. and anyway, if i tan, i can’t make a game out of seeing how many people avert their eyes from me in very bright sun. :)

  130. Danielle May 7, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    I feel your pain! I’m a redhead too and have tried that same Jergens lotion and it does work well–if I’m consistent about putting it on, which I’m not. :)

    One upside to the downside of not getting tan, at least we won’t get skin cancer and will have less wrinkles if we stay out of the sun! :)

    I had one person tell me then KNEW I could get tan if I tried harder, haha! I guess my paleness really bothered them. However, I explained that nope, all I my skin does is burn and peel.

  131. Kristel May 7, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Hi Emily, love your red hair! I tried Jergens before, it really does work, just one tip, don’t put it on if you are planning on hitting the will streak…and not pretty.

  132. Claudia May 7, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    Oh boy, can I relate! I am not a redhead, but the fair-skinned daughter of an Irish redhead father. I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, but when I was in my early 20s I was a lifeguard and got really tan (I burn, then it turns into a tan). To extend the color, I visited a tanning bed a few times (NOT smart), and did so again in my late 30s (10 visits). With a dad who had many skin cancers, you’d think I’d know better, but the allure of tanned skin is strong. However, I’ve since had a persistent red, crusty spot removed from my chest — twice. Scary! I’ll never set foot in a tanning bed again. And now that I’m older (44) and wiser, I don’t care about being tan. I’m confident with my natural color because it’s who I am. I care about having healthy skin and no cancer. I think you are a beautiful woman who doesn’t need a tan to be attractive. Please don’t follow your friends into the tanning beds, and use sunscreen. In 20 years, you’ll be glad you did!

  133. ktez May 7, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    PS I forgot to say, people spend a fortune achieving your hair colour! It’s gorgeous x

  134. ktez May 7, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    I am naturally strawberry blonde…I suppose a nicer way of saying blonde/ginger. I just burn in the sun…lobster red to be exact. Though over the years, I have finally accepted this fact and tried to go with it, instead of resisting it. I no longer lie in the sun for hours, instead i pick a spot in the shade. My skin has thanked me for it and I have managed to avoid wrinkles to date. I know girls my age though that have always had tans and worshiped the sun and if i’m honest, most of them look a lot older than they really are.

    Pale skin is coming back into fashion (or so I’m told) however I would never get my legs out without a light sweep of fake tan and if i don’t use my bronzing balls, ppl actually ask me if I’m feeling unwell ha ha ha!!!!

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