By my calculations, it’s about two weeks and four days until the annual “oh, my God, I’m really pale” panic sets in. No matter what tone your skin is naturally, chances are around the start of June you just start feeling a bit pasty and wan. It seems the anticipation of summer blends with rapidly decreasing hem lengths to create a perfect storm of tan-frenzy.
As a NW15, I know the prospect of self tanner can be a bit like gambling- except when you lose a bet, you don’t have to have splotchy skin for a few days. The days of SPF 5 may be over, but no matter your natural skin tone, you can get a golden glow with a few simple tricks and tools.
1.) Exfoliate super thoroughly: This is something that most people learn from experience the first time- few things alert you to how much more thoroughly you can slough off dead skin than a newly-applied tanning gel or creme. Scrubs are good, but for ultimate precision, scrub gloves create an even, exfoliated service. (Or if you’re in the mood for a service, the scrubs at awesomest-place-ever Spa Castle are legendary.)
2.) Not every tanner works for every skin type: …however, fairer-skinned girls can get away with cutting pretty much any self-tanner with moisturizer for a more natural glow. It’s tempting to reach for the darkest formula first, but intense formulas on light skin can cause a jarring, orangey brown look that is especially noticable in photos. St. Tropez’s Bronzing Lotion is strong but a true brown, free of carroty hues. They even have a Tan Remover for slip-ups.
3.) Try to mimic the sun: Eyelids, the backs of hands and toes are all a bit tricky when it comes to a good home self-tan, and it’s always hard to reach your back. Invest in some good, tight latex gloves for accuracy, and blend out toward your back with a little lotion to avoid streaks. When applying product to your face, take care to avoid eyelids and diligently attack cheekbones and the bridge of your nose, where color naturally concentrates.
4.) Think outside the bottle: When self-tanner first came back, it was mainly lotions and mousses. Now several awesome options exist to tan like the pros at home. Sheer Tan has a nice wand-inclusive design that makes hard to reach areas less fussy, and ModelCo Airbrush Tan in a Can creates an even, realistic bronze tone on skin. (Be careful of splatters and errant sprays with home spray-tanning products.)
5.) Adjust and maintain: One of the best ways to call attention to an awesome tan is by adjusting your makeup. A peachy blush like MAC Peaches enhances even the slightest glow, and gold-themed shadows like Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Eyeshadow in Gold compliment freshly bronzed skin.
Have you mastered the perfect at-home tan? What gives you a realistic, sun-kissed glow?