Barefoot Blonde So it’s about that time. Swimsuit weather, bikini weather, spring break weather and a lot of people have asked me about how I take care of my skin and hair while at the beach or pool or just in the sun in general. First thing’s first, last summer, David and I committed ourselves to be better at protecting ourselves from the sun! It’s been such a hard habit to break because I grew up tanning outside and just basking in the sun every time I went to the pool or beach. So this means high SPF sun screens, sun hats, umbrellas and oversized sunglasses, even for short durations in the sun. But that doesn’t mean I want to look pale and lifeless at the beach. We have some plans to escape the New York cold so in preparation I started looking into a new self tanner and discovered my new favorite sunless tanner. I was inspired by my friend Cara from who sold me on Tanwise because she always seems to be able to achieve the perfect tan! I ordered Tanwise from Sally Beauty Supply and was amazed with the results! I’ve found that if you follow these steps, it’s the easiest way to achieve that perfect tan.

1. Get Tanwise Sunless Tanning Lotion
2. Shave your legs, arms, etc.
3. Prepare a small bowl of sugar (I usually always keep a jar in the bathroom for exfoliation)
4. Exfoliate the areas you’ll be tanning to remove any dead skin to allow better application and absorption.
5. Put a generous amount in your hands
6. Apply on desired areas (Cara gave some great suggestions to use gloves, or to apply with a sponge paint brush. I prefer to use my hands, which will lead to orange hands. Eeeek. BUT, most dish soaps, not bathroom hand soaps, will do a good job of eliminating that.)
As you can see the before and after is like night and day! It really gives a nice natural, warm (not orange) glow. You may notice the after photo has some shadows and over all looks just a bit darker, but that’s just because by the time I finished the sun had set a bit and we had different lighting, but you get a good idea of the shade of tan. I’ve used so many other sunless tanners but have fully converted!

Barefoot BlondeNow that the tan is taken care of, it’s all about skin and hair protection. Most of us know how damaging chlorine can be on hair (especially blonde) but I’ve had a lot of people ask about extension hair care. I discovered Cinderella Hair extension shampoo and conditioner. I use it on my extensions like you would with any other shampoo or conditioner on your hair, only off the head straight in the sink to avoid tugging at the clips and damaging your hair. You simply:

1. Wet the hair
2. Put a generous amount of shampoo in your hands to form lather
3. Work the hair from bottom up.
4. Rinse hair thoroughly
5. Apply conditioner to hair
6. Fully coat and massage into hair
7. Rinse thoroughly.

Barefoot BlondeVoila! I normally recommend not swimming with extensions, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid. So when that happens, it’s great to have this on hand to restore the shine and keep your extensions looking brand new! Hope these tips helped. Have fun (but be safe) in the sun!

Photos from My Beach Essentials


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  1. Hey Amber! Does this make you break out if you use it on your face?! Also how long does it last? And how often do you reapply it to keep it not looking blotchy?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Is your Tanwise the sunless tanning lotion or the creamy tanning lotion or do you use the 1 hour tan? I didn’t realize there were so many Tanwise options until I went to the Sally’s website..and does it come in only one color because I am fair complexed?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Sorry for the typo! I meant to say “fair complected” 🙂

  3. Hi Amber! Did you use any sunless tanners or Tanwise when pregnant? I have a beach vacay coming up and was wondering your recommendation! Thank you 🙂

  4. Hi Amber! I love the tan that this lotion makes on you! I was just wondering can you use it all over your body? Also if you don’t shave your arms, can you still use it there thank you!

    1. Hi Mazie,
      Thanks so much!! And yes, it is meant to be used over your whole body, neck, and face. It will still work if you don’t shave your arms, however, it will be much easier to apply if your arms are shaved is all. I hope this helps!! Let me know if you have anymore questions 🙂 xo

  5. Love reading all of your tips! Did you use this before your Jamaica trip? Wondering if I can use before a beach vacation or if it will half come off in salt water and leave me looking blotchy? Any suggestions? Thanks 🙂

  6. If you have any trouble taking fake tan off your hands try using toothpaste (in particular whitening toothpaste) and that usually takes all the fake tan off my hands. 🙂

  7. Hey! I was just wondering what type of sugar you use to exfoliate… Is it like regular sugar? Or something else?

    1. Hi Tacy!! You can use regular granulated sugar that you find in your kitchen 🙂 xo

  8. My boyfriend is battling leukemia and of course cannot lay out in the sun as during chemo he is more susceptible to skin cancer than normal. We have also committed to stop laying out in the sun (we live by Lake Michigan and love beach naps) and always using protective clothing and SPF. I will definitely be trying this self tanner so I can still enjoy being tan this summer! Thank you for this post!

    1. Wow Allison, I am so sorry to hear that. Thank you for sharing that. I am so passionate about no more laying out in the sun!! The sun is so damaging 🙁 and I make sure to use 100 SPF as well. Sunless tans are the way to go!! I hope you like it 🙂 xo

    1. Hi Ashley!! Yes, air dry your extensions for sure!! Just lay them out on the ground or counter or something like that!! 🙂

  9. How soon after can you go out after putting on the tan wise? Or do you do it the night before?

    1. I would put it on at least 30 minutes to an hour before going out 🙂 The instructions say to wait an hour before getting wet (swimming, showering, etc.). I find it easiest to do right after the shower once you’re completely dry, so it just depends whether you shower in the morning or at night. The only thing about doing it at night is you should wait at least an hour to ensure it doesn’t get on any fabrics 🙂 Let me know if you have anymore questions! xo

  10. Hey there Amber!

    How often do you usually apply Tanwise? Does it come off similar to a spray tan? I’m going on a 5 week vacation and don’t want to look splotchy at any point!

    Thanks! xx,

    1. Hi Morgan!!
      I have noticed it lasts about 5-6 days, maybe even a week! Depending on how much you shower, swim, etc. So I suggest reapplying every 5-6 days on your vacation for sure if you want to keep up with it 🙂 It fades very gradually though, not as splotchy as other tanners I have used. I found it very comparable to how long a spray tan lasts. The difference is the price!! 😉

  11. Hi! This tanning lotion looks awesome! I have a few questions about it, if you wouldn’t mind answering. So I’ve used a few different self-tanning lotions in the past (Victoria Secret, Jergens…etc), and they all seemed to rub off on my clothes (especially white undergarments…) even though I would wait for a long time for the lotion to dry before putting on any clothes. It would basically just show up on my clothes on places that I would sweat or something. Anyways, have you noticed any of that?
    Also, does the lotion have a “tanning lotion scent?” All of the ones I have tried in the past have a particular scent to them that I don’t think smells very good and that stays on you until the lotion is all washed off. (Does that make sense…..?)
    Last question! About how long does the tanning lotion stay on (after shower, pool, ocean…etc) and how often do you have to reapply it? THANK YOU SO MUCH! Sorry to be so annoying! Haha.

    1. Hi Christine!! Thank you for your questions!! Tanwise completely dries within an hour, however, there may be a possibility of it getting on white clothes/swimsuits. This is what I have noticed, if you put on white clothes before showering (during the first 24 hours of letting it soak in) then yes, it may get on white clothing, but if you wait the 24 hours then shower, after that it won’t get on white clothes. I hope that makes sense!! And as far as the scent, it smells so much better than other tanning products I have used. I agree, I hate that tanning smell!! But this lotion has little to no smell. The tanning lotion lasts about 5-6 days, maybe a week! This all depends on how much you shower/swim, etc. (things that would cause the tan to fade). I suggest reapplying the lotion every 5 days 🙂 But it does fade very gradual too if you don’t want to reapply. Again, I hope I answered everything in enough detail!! xo

  12. How do you get a smooth transition where you stop? I saw you don’t apply to your face. Do you apply on your neck? Where do you stop?

    1. Tanwise work great on your face, I personally just prefer to use Tanwise on my body and neck and then match my face color with a darker foundation. If that makes sense?! I would put it on your whole body! And if you want to stop on your neck, go up until your jawline 🙂 Tanwise also has a tanning facial gel I am looking forward to trying!! (link below) xo,default,pd.html

  13. Thank you for your helpful tips! You are gorgeous with such beautiful hair and practical advice 🙂
    Do you use clip on extentions or the new halo type that wraps around your head. I want to try extentions for the first time and am not sure what to do, as an active person that will get their hair ruffled? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. I am glad you liked them!! And aww thank you so much!! That is nice of you! As far as my extensions, I use the clip ins 🙂 I have tried A LOT of different kinds, and I highly recommend clip ins. If you’re out and about doing things, you can just pull your hair back in pony or braid! I hope that helps!! xo

  14. Oh, so nice to know there’s a good sunless tanner out there, and it looks great! Do you use this on your face or the face lotion? Where do you stop to blend, neck area? Any suggestions when applying it to your face? Thanks!

    1. Thank you!! I am glad you think so! And yes, you can use it on your face!! However, Tanwise also has a tanning facial gel if you prefer that! As far as applying it on your face, rub it on just like regular lotion, and make sure to go up to your hairline. I put it on up until my neck, and then match a darker foundation for my face! But that’s just because my face skin type reacts weird to tanning lotion. I hope this helps!!,default,pd.html

  15. Thanks for the post! I’ve never tried a tanner before and I’m looking forward to it, but… Does it really make a difference if I shave my arms or not? I’m not so sure about it, I feel like I’m going to look like a man when the hair starts to grow again.

    1. It will work fine if you don’t shave your arms (depending on how much arm hair of course :)) But it will just go on a lot smoother and easier if your arms are shaven. I know there’s lots of rumors with shaving your arms, and about the hair growing back darker and thicker, but that doesn’t happen!! So it’s up to you 🙂 xo

  16. Hi thank you so much for sharing! I was wondering how long tan wise stays on? And does it have SPF in it, or do you apply it over the top? If so what kind? I’m always worried about SPF messing up my fake tan but I knows it’s important.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Whitney!! You’re so welcome! And it lasts about 5-6 days, maybe even a week depending on how much you shower/swim, etc. And no it doesn’t, I apply SPF on top of it. I use SPF 100 personally. I love the spray sunscreen, and it doesn’t affect the color of the tan at all 🙂

  17. Have you ever had any problems with the fake tan rubbing off on a white swimsuit? I haven’t but I’m nervous. Also, how often do you reapply the tanning lotion? Every day, or less? Thanks!

    1. This is what I have discovered about it rubbing onto clothing… If you put white clothing/swimsuit on before showering (during the first 24 hours of letting it soak in) then yes it may get on the clothing!! But if you wait the 24 hours then shower, after that it won’t rub off on clothing. I hope that makes sense!! And as far as reapplying the lotion, every 5-6 days is about the average of amount of time. (give or take a day depending on how much you shower/swim, anything that may cause the tan to fade faster :))

  18. Can’t wait to try tanwise, thanks for the recommendation!
    Just wondered which camera/lens you used for your Jamaica photos, the quality looks amazing and I’m looking to invest! Would hugely appreciate your help!
    Thanks in advance! Xox

    1. Thanks Amelia!! I hope you like it! And I use a canon 5d mark iii with a 24-70 2.8 lens 🙂 I highly recommend it!! xo

  19. Hi Amber! Do you still use Jergens Natural Glow? Does this product work better?

    1. Hi Debbie!! Yes, I still love Jergens as well! However, Jergens for me is more an everyday gradual glow moisturizer, where Tanwise is a very immediate bronze-colored tan, and not so much a moisturizer as it is a sunless tanner. If that makes sense? If you want fast tanning results, Tanwise is the product. It’s not so much that one works better than the other, they produce different effects for me. I hope this helps!!

  20. How soon before vacation do you recommend starting the lotion? We are heading to the sunny beach mid April & I wasn’t sure when to start using it. Thanks!

    1. The results are pretty instant!! You will notice a difference as your applying the lotion. The color will darker over the next few hours after application too. You just need to wait an hour before getting wet so it’s completely dry. With that said, I would suggest to start using the lotion a day before your trip, and then re-apply every 5 or so days!! I hope this helps!! xo

  21. Thanks for the tip! I’m heading on vacation next weekend and have been considering getting a spray tan. I read that you don’t put it on your face, but what about your neck, chest or back? I’m not sure I could convince my boyfriend to put it on my back and without it, I’d probably look a lil goofy at the pool! Might still stick with spray tanning…

    1. Tanwise has a facial tanning gel specific for using on the face, I however, just use it on my whole body, and then use foundation on my face. And yes, use it on your neck, chest, and back!! As far as applying the tanner on your back, Maskcara has a great tip about applying it using a towel. I will attach her tip below 🙂 But it is probably easiest to have someone apply it for you! Whichever you prefer! I hope this helps!! xo

  22. Love the self tan results! I burn so easily in the sun but want to be able to have a healthy color. Will have to give it a try!

    1. Awesome!! I hope you like it! And I agree, sunless tanning is the way to go!! xo

      1. Do you just apply the lotion to your legs? I’m so pasty white (especially after winter) that I’m afraid I won’t achieve a uniform color all over (do you have to have a buddy apply it to your back?) I just don’t want to look like a patchwork quilt.

        1. I suggest applying it to your whole body so it will all match 🙂 And yes, it is easiest to have somehow apply the lotion to your back. There are other tricks like using a towel to apply it as well. I will attach the tip below! xo

  23. Do you buy your extensions at Sally beauty? If so how do you know what blonde matches your hair color? thank you for your help!

  24. The problem with tanning creams is that you can’t go into a pool after using them or you will lose the tan due to the chlorine!

    1. I know what you mean, but with Tanwise, you can get into the water after waiting an hour after application. The color will definitely not last as long if you’re in the water verse not getting wet. But it will stay on even when swimming!! 🙂

  25. What if you are naturally super pale (me), will the self tanner turn you orange? I need to cure the paleness!!!

    1. Nope, that is the nice thing about Tanwise, it is a more bronze rich looking tan. And as you can see in the pictures, I am SO pale haha, and it worked great for me 🙂

  26. I have such a love/hate relationship with self tanning. I have such naturally pale skin and when I think I’ve found something I will love, like the color comes out perfectly, there’s other factors that go wrong – like running or smearing. But I’m still willing to keep trying new things….how long did this last for you before a new application?

    1. I know exactly what you mean!! Tanning lotions can be tricky!! I have tried lots of tanning lotions though, and I was really impressed with my results with Tanwise! As far as how long it lasts, mine lasted about a week, but I suggest reapplying another layer after 5-6 days 🙂

  27. Great post! I was wondering if you use the tanner on your face as well?

  28. i’ve been itching to get a new self tanner because I’m 100% winter pasty right now, and that NEEDS to change! totally excited to try this one out, thanks girl!

    xoxo hails.

    1. That’s how I am!! Totally pasty haha so this was a life saver!! I hope you like it as much as I do!! xo

    1. I know what you mean!! Embrace it for sure!! It’s nice to not worry about “tan” skin all the time 🙂

    1. I know!! Yay for sure 🙂 And I haven’t tried St. Tropez yet!! I need to give it a try!! If you try Tanwise, let me know what you think! xo

  29. I’m all about tanning lotion, I can’t pull off the porcelain look! One question though, a couple days ago you responded to someone on Twitter that you swear by FakeBake. Which do you prefer? I love seeing recommendations but honestly sometimes it seems like you’ll promote whatever is currently being sponsored…I miss the days of unbiased recommendations and outfits!

    1. I agree!! I am all about the sunless tan! And yes, I do recommend FakeBake as well. I honestly don’t have a preference between the two. I love them both!! And I never sponsor products that I don’t love and recommend for others 🙂 I almost daily turn down opportunities to make money on my blog because I either don’t love the products and wouldn’t want any of my supporters to think that I use them. I am sorry you felt otherwise. Thank you so much for following along Anna, I appreciate your feedback. xoxo

  30. I also started using Tanwise when Cara said it was her new favorite. She pretty much has tried them all so I totally trust her opinion on self tanners and it did not disappoint! I haven’t tried the lotion but I really like the mousse. Have you tried both? Is there a noticeable difference between the two?
    xo – Ana Luiza

    1. I know right?! I totally trust Cara’s opinion!! And I am glad you liked it!! I just tried the lotion, but am looking forward to trying the mousse as well! xo

  31. Your skin always looks so flawless! Do you still use the make-up products that you recommend in your FAQ on your “About” page? Or do you have any new faves? Would love to know! xoxo Lexie

    1. Wow thank you!! You’re so sweet!! And yes, I still use a lot of those same products, like I still LOVE Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation and Cover Girl Last Blast mascara to this day! But I also try out new products as well 🙂 I am hoping to do an updated makeup tutorial at some point, so stay tuned!! xo

    1. I haven’t tried St. Tropez but I want to!! Did you like it? If you try out Tanwise, let me know what you think!! xo

  32. I tried the mousse version of Tanwise and wasn’t impressed. Maybe the lotion version is better. I LOVE my St. Tropez express bronzing mousse! A dark and even tan in four hours. 🙂 I love the sugar tip, I heard Cindy Crawford say that she uses sugar to exfoliate every night too. So great tip! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your sharing your experience with Tanwise!! I have heard St. Tropez is great too, I haven’t tried it out yet! And yes!! I love using sugar as a body scrub 🙂 I am glad you like the tip! xo

  33. I LOVE tan wise! I started using it last fall (after seeing it on a blogger). I get either the one hour one which is great and I can put on right after the shower, still head to work and not smell like stinky self tanner! Or I just go the mousse and love it too! I do recommend using a mitt to apply it. It’s really hard to get it off your hands!

    1. I am so happy you like it!! Thanks so much for your insight and recommendations, good to know!! 🙂 xo

  34. Holy cow this tan looks amazing!! Im going to need to get this stuff asap! When you put the sugar on your legs did you apply it to your legs wet or dry? Also after rubbing the self tanner in did you rinse it off after or let it dry onto your skin?!

    1. Thanks!! I am glad you think so!! I highly recommend it!! And when you use the sugar, make sure your legs are wet, you can also add a little body wash in with the sugar! As far as the self tanner, after you apply it, leave it on to dry 🙂 Wait at least an hour before getting them wet for best results. xo

  35. Amber thanks so much!! I am about to go on Spring Break with my best friend and these are great tips 🙂

  36. I love Tanwise! It really is the best self tanner out there!
    If you want a good tip for getting it off your hands, wash your hands using some whitening toothpaste! It does a better job than just soap I’ve found 🙂

    1. Awesome!! I am so happy you like it as much as i do!! And that’s a great tip!! Thanks so much for sharing that Kate!! I appreciate it! xo

    1. Ahh seriously!! I am like a crazy person about it now haha 🙂 Sunless tan for me!! xo

  37. Ahh!! I’m so glad you do wear them into the ocean/pool! I tried reading up and every extension Q&A was like NEVER EVER! Which confused me cause it’s real hair!?? But if you have any tips on getting them out of your hair after the ocean would love! Mine were seriously wrapped around my snorkel mask and there was a moment where you just don’t know if it’s going to be ok. haha

    1. I know what you mean!! I have read that too! And honestly, if it is convenient for me to take them out before getting into the ocean/pool, then I do. But if it’s not, I leave them in and just make sure to wash them 🙂 I suggest putting your hair in a ponytail or a braid!! It’s hard having them down in the ocean and not getting them all tangled!! xo

  38. Thank you for this post! My husband and I are going to Laguna Beach (Southern California) tomorrow and these are great tips! It’s my first beach experience since last summer so I know I’ll be looking pretty pale. Lol

    Kalyn Goff


    1. Thanks so much for reading Kalyn!! Have a great time in Laguna!! xoxo

    1. Tanwise is definitely more of a bronze rich looking tan, so no need to worry about looking orange!! Sunless tan is the way to go!! xo

  39. I have worn extensions for years and never realized there was special shampoo and conditioner to use on them, so I will have to try the Cinderella products next time I go to Sally’s! 🙂

    xo kristen

    1. They really make such a difference for my extensions!! Definitely try it out and let me know what you think!! xo

  40. my sun obsession is also one of my bgiggest regrets! And I am 28 and only started avoiding the sun (or using SPF) 2 years ago. That makes many years of frequent , completely unprotected sunbathing. Terrible! My mom should have stopped me, haha

    1. I know what you mean!! I hate thinking about all the time I spent in the sun unprotected 🙁 but all we can do now is protect ourselves!! And now I am a crazy mom about putting sunscreen on Atticus haha 🙂 Thanks for reading love!! xo

    1. I am so glad!! I hope you like it! And as far as my extensions, if I know I am going to be getting them wet, then I either put my hair in a ponytail or put my extensions farther down on my head. But if you’re really worried about them showing, I recommend just taking them out before getting in the water 🙂 xo