I self-tan, therefore I am.

All right. It?s cheap. It?s cheesy. It is. But there ya go.

At any rate. The point of this post is to share my knowledge, my experience about tans in tubes. And the first tidbit I will share: Keeping that golden glow is high-maintenance. Very. Assuming, that is, you get it in the first place.

So. I tried not one, not two, but three ? yep, three! ? self-tanners. I suffer for you, dear readers. I do.

First, Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. This one, allegedly, firms. Sorry. You may be able to get color in a tube, but firmer skin? Not hardly. I believe you get firmer skin the old-fashioned way: diet. Exercise. Youth.

Second, Dove Energy Glow Beauty Body Lotion. The Jergens gave me a slightly browner hue, the Dove, golden, as advertised. Who'd uh thunk it? The third brand I purchased was for my face: Peter Thomas Roth. It did nothing. My face remained Kleenex pale.

Anyway. Some caveats:

You cannot slather the tanner on and go. No. You must wait until your skin dries before you sit down. Before you dress. So. Blow-dry your hair. Read a short story. Get on your treadmill. Prance. Whatever. But don?t sit. Don?t dress. And do not do not do not put on socks. Don?t. I can tell you that putting on socks too soon ? for instance, within forty-eight hours or so ? causes white horizontal bands to form around your ankles. I?m sure there are some who find this look appealing. I do not.

You must try to apply equal amounts to all portions of your skin. Really. This is very hard. It takes focus. My mind wanders. Here. There. Across the street. I have not yet achieved legs that are evenly brown. One is always noticeably darker. I am optimistic, though. I am sure that practice will make perfect.

Further, to maintain the sun-kissed look, you have to reapply every few days. The look fades. Since I tend to feel putting on moisturizer and under-eye cream is a bother, I don?t have to waste your time telling you how annoying I find re-applying the tanning lotion every few days. Because. Of course. First, I must exfoliate with a scrub. Then shave. The time consumed. Ugh.

Still. It is fun. Kind of. Sort of. In a time-consuming, beauty-does-too-know-pain kind of way.