6 Ways to Tan Flawlessly for Super Fair and Can't-be-Tanned Skin

Help is here for the "hopelessly can't-be-tanned" group of people.

By Adina Mazilu
6 Ways to Tan Flawlessly for Super Fair and Can't-be-Tanned Skin

Most fair-skinned people often wonder how it’s possible for them to achieve at least a little bit of tan, without it being too dark or without ending up looking bright red. Most of the time, this is what happens if people with pale skin stay in the sun, even for a few minutes. Well, in case you also have this question in your mind and struggle every time you go to the beach, we might have a few useful answers for you. We already know that naturally fair-skinned people, like the Scandinavians, Russian or British people, can become tanned but they know one or two secrets. By reading this article, you will know them too. Here we go!

Why Some of Us Can't Get Tanned (Easily)

Before diving into the secrets of how to get a flawless tan even if you’re white, we must find out the science behind this apparent issue of fair-skinned people. In seems that in their case, the skin produces a lot less melanin compared with darker-skinned people. What is melanin? A dark pigment that offers your skin its natural color. It also acts as a protector against the damaging UV rays and therefore keeps you safe from ending up with various skin issues, cancer included. It’s a process that begins when the sun rays it our skin. When this happens, the production of melanin is increased so our skin becomes protected.

However, too much UV exposure and you might have some problems to deal with in the future. Still, our skin needs a little bit of UV radiation in order to produce Vitamin D. Also, some time out in the sun makes our body release endorphins and therefore makes us feel happy. So, as you can see, sun exposure IS good for us but in small amounts. Otherwise, nasty burns and skin issues will follow us for the rest of or lives. And seeing how nobody wants that, it’s time to see how fair-skinned people can tan.

6 Ways to Tan Flawlessly for the Hopelessly Fair

Fake Bake and Recommended Products

1. Fake Bake

To start things slowly, we recommend using a bronzer for both the face and the body. This is especially good if you really don’t want to stay under the sun and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. Bronzers are mostly affordable and can be used on your entire body with a big fluffy brush. Apply some on the hollows of your cheeks, a bit on the forehead, and on the nose to create that sunkissed look. Then you can go on and apply some on your shoulders, shoulder blades, arms, and even on your legs. This trick only creates the illusion of being tan when, in reality, you only know how to use makeup very well.

As for good products for fair skin, we strongly recommend Benefit Cosmetics’ Hoola Lite bronzer, Becca’s Sunlit Bronzer, and theBalm’s Take Home the Bronze one.

2. Tan accelerators

Another slightly fake method to bronze very pale skin is to cheat a bit and use a tan accelerator. These products also contain bronzer so they will offer you the desired sunkissed shade without the effects of the dangerous UV rays. This will make your skin appear a bit tanned even before you start actually tanning it. And if you think this works like fake tan, worry not. It doesn’t because it won’t streak or melt and look weird. It’s just a clever solution to offer your white skin a bit of life and make it look summery before summer actually arrives.

We strongly recommend using EdHardy’s Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning LotionOcean Potion’s Dark Tanning Intensifier Lotion or The Cheeky Brown Accelerator.

Prevent Burns and Take it Slowly

3. Prevent sunburns

Sunburns are your biggest enemy in case you have fair skin which is why you should absolutely make sure that you don’t get any. How can you do that? Prevention should be the number one word in your vocabulary. Use sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 or even 50. Also, make sure that the product you’re using is blocking both UVA and UVB rays and that it really works for your skin.

Make sure to reapply it frequently, especially after you are getting out of the water. Be generous with the sunscreen layer and don’t worry about it getting everywhere, like on your sheets or towels. After all, your skin is worth everything.

4. Limit sun exposure

Another trick to get a good tan when you’re fair-skinned is to take it easy at first and limit your sun exposure. Even if you are wearing a thick layer of sunscreen, it doesn’t mean that you can be on the beach for an entire day. The best recommended times for tanning safely are before ten AM and after 4 PM, when the sun is not that strong anymore and you are safe from burns. Also, always remember that even if you already have a fake tan on, your skin will burn as easily. That fake that doesn’t protect your skin from the damaging sun rays, it just tricks the eye to think you’re tan. Under those layers, you’re still as pale as Snow White.

Follow Success Stories

5. Gigi Hadid

File:Gigi Hadid August 2015.jpg
Source: Flickr

Supermodel Gigi Hadid has revealed the one product that makes her look tan and dewy without her having to stay out in the sun and hurt her skin. Charlotte Tilbury’s Supermodel Body is the product that has made her tanning journey a real success story. She swears by it and considers it the best tanning lotion for all kinds of skin. According to her, it offers a natural glow to the skin with just a hint of color, just enough to make you look fresh and tanned. It’s also great because it highlights all the places on your body that are usually visible and look good with some tan on. Also, it doesn’t hurt your skin in any way, which is what we’re looking for when we have fair skin.

6. Jennifer Lopez

File:Jennifer Lopez at GLAAD Media Awards (cropped).jpg
Source: Wikipedia Commons

Yes, we know that J. Lo is naturally tanned but she has also offered a big tip to those who are not so lucky and want to have a nice glow without being out in the sun and damaging their skin. She admitted not using self-tan for about five years but instead, she uses a wonder product called Scott Barnes’ Body Bling. It’s a tinted body lotion that makes your skin not only dewy but also tanned. She is its number one fan and has been using this product for years and years, which made her give up on other, more unhealthy ways of tanning. We completely agree with her and this just proves how the success story of a celebrity with olive skin can also inspire people with fair skin. Kudos to J. Lo!


All in all, it seems that super fair skin can also benefit from a nice tan if you know some of the secrets of this endeavor. Our number one advice is that, even if you can tan normally under the sun with a little bit of effort, to avoid doing it. Putting your fair skin under the dangerous rays of the sun too often will only lead to major problems, even cancer. Tanning beds have the exact same effect so don’t count on that alternative either. So, the best thing that you can do in this case is to find options to fake your tan and look good. Tan accelerators and bronzers are two very efficient options that you can use anytime you want and with no risks at all. The bottom line is that you should learn to love yourself as you are, tanned or not because you are beautiful. Don’t risk getting sick because everyone seems to be enjoying dark skin. Be yourself and if the universe has made you pale, thank it and move on. Work with what you have and live your life to the fullest. We are all beautiful because we are different. Always remember that.