Homemade Self-Tanner

2 Posted by - August 31, 2012 - DIY & Crafts, Hair & Beauty

This pin test was originally posted on CraftFail.

I know it’s August, but it’s hard to get tan when you wear SPF 80 if you step outside even for a minute for fear of burning like a boiled lobster. We of Scandinavian descent can’t have it any other way. It’s pale as a ghost, or burned all to hell. Luckily, Pinterest has a solution for us:

It’s a self-tanner using black tea. Should work, right? I mean, it stains your teeth, so why not your legs?

I steeped myself some tea and set out to test it.

And then I tried to take a Before picture like 80 bajillion times because I couldn’t find an angle that didn’t make my legs look fat. (Turns out it wasn’t the angle’s fault. Hrm.)

I opted for the sponge method rather than the spray bottle method, mostly because I don’t trust my aim with a spray bottle and I didn’t want my walls to have a fake tan, too.

I got the bright idea to only do one leg so that the before and after picture would be irrelevant: you could just look at the tan leg and the white leg. So after I used the whole 2 cups of tea on one leg, my legs looked like this:

Can you tell which one I tanned? Yeah, me either, although when I asked my husband when he got home, he pointed to the right one, which was correct. I guess he had a 50/50 chance. So yeah, my right leg should be slightly less pale than my left leg. You be the judge.

Also, my tub looked like this when I was finished:

It definitely got tanner than my legs did.

Sooo, if you’re looking for a self-tanner solution, you should probably just go buy some. I would much rather have had this tea to drink than sponge it all over one leg for a tan you can’t really tell is there.


  • Dogma August 31, 2012 - 10:51 am Reply

    I tried this once…. many moons ago when I was an insecure highschool girl. Except I thought I could Steep the bags in the tub and just sit in the tea…… The end was not pretty, and I owed my mom a new box of tea.

  • Heather Liz August 31, 2012 - 5:42 pm Reply

    I could tell it was the right one before you told us. It semi worked, but yes, I’d rather drink the tea

  • HeatherBunchWilliams August 31, 2012 - 8:01 pm Reply

    I said right leg too! Doesn’t Pyrex explode if you heat it on the stove!?! Be careful!

    • Pintester September 1, 2012 - 7:36 pm Reply

      HeatherBunchWilliams Oh my goodness, please no one heat a thing of glass on the stove. That burner was totally off and I just set it there to steep after I poured in the boiling water. I need to make people sign a waiver before they read stuff here. 🙂

    • rfoust September 1, 2012 - 11:36 pm Reply

      HeatherBunchWilliams interesting, i didnt know that about pyrex.  i thought it wasnt supposed to explode, but i guess i was wrong. 🙂 (snopes.com confirms it)

      • Angella September 30, 2019 - 2:14 pm Reply

        I exploded a pyrex bowl on the stove when I was 9yo trying to heat up soup. It REALLY explodes…

  • GirlInCrowd August 31, 2012 - 10:26 pm Reply

    Your toenails look good.

  • magemum September 1, 2012 - 6:11 pm Reply

    our bathtub is a mustard yellow colour so “tanning” it wouldn’t show up very well.  =)

  • Cilla September 1, 2012 - 7:06 pm Reply

    Lol your legs look super skinny!

  • lightbulbsms September 1, 2012 - 8:36 pm Reply

    I tried this one and it worked until I took a shower, but I smelled like tea until I took a shower. I used a spray bottle to apply. I would spay my legs then use a hairdryer to dry the tea spray faster. I did 3 coats and it looked okay where it didn’t run.

  • ellabobs January 26, 2013 - 4:36 am Reply

    You looked tanned to begin with. You said you were ghostly pale, so at first I thought those were your after pics. I cant tell the difference between the left and right leg but I would say they both looked tanned to begin with. On someone with genuinely white legs, it might work. You could try coffee instead. But your legs are a nice colour already.

  • christy April 1, 2013 - 4:00 pm Reply

    I actually tried this one and it really does work. Maybe mine worked because I sprayed it on and then patted it with a sponge to catch drips! I also let the tea bags soak longer than directed!

  • Homemade Tortillas | Pintester May 14, 2013 - 1:36 pm Reply

    […] that’s why this blog is awesome. It convinces me to try versions of leg sugaring and DIY self tanner and even making my own scarves… and it usually doesn’t work, but sometimes a happy […]

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