Help Me Find A Natural-Looking Self-Tanner That’s Right For My Fair Skin! (Snooki And John Travolta Need Not Apply)

I wouldn’t know if I could tan naturally because I’ve never actually tried. Aside from the fact that, you know, the sun wants to give you cancer and shit, I’m just not someone who has ever liked to bask outside and broil. My brother and I, unlike our medium-skinned parents and the rest of our family on both sides, are both super-fair, easily burnt freckle faces. We often wonder whose children we actually are (in fact, we both bear a slight resemblance to Guy Fieri). In summers of yore I’ve been totally content with my bright white (seriously, I am the whitest) complexion, but I think I’m on the brink of a change of heart. Frightened by the starkness of my legs, and sporting a subtle, summery ombré fade in my hair, I am ready to join the rest of the world and get a tan. Not a real tan, of course — I still hate laying outside. It’s so boring. Whatever! Problem is, I can’t seem to find the right self-tanner for my skin tone. I figured Jergens Natural Glow was a safe place to start, but the incredibly overwhelming smell put me off after applying it twice. Seriously, I wanted to run away from myself.

Next I tried Neutrogena Build-A-Tan. The scent is more tolerable than the Jergens by a landslide — in fact, I even find it kind of pleasant — but it seems to have left me with an unnaturally orange tone for my (again, very fair) neutral skin. I exfoliated, applied it carefully and made sure to cover my whole body evenly, but it’s just too yellow. Now I look jaundiced and I’m getting restless. I want something (decent-smelling!) that will give me a natural brownish shade that blends easily and can be built upon. I’m not limited to drugstore brands and I’ve heard great things about Lancôme’s self-tanners, but not from anyone who considers themselves as ghostly pale as I.

So fair-skinned ladies, please raise your hands! I want to know what self-tanners you’ve used and had good results with, or if there’s one you’re particularly devoted to. I also want to know which ones you’ve used that are terrible so I don’t slather them on in my quest for lightly and seemingly naturally bronzed skin. Help!