Sun-kissed Skin

18 May

“California girls, we’re unforgettable, daisy dukes, bikinis on top! Sun-kissed skin, so hot we’ll melt your popsicle!” Okay, I’m sorry for singing my heart out for the blog post intro.

Tanning is so old school.  These days, we know better than to coat our skin in oil and get baked all day in the sunshine. No, thank you! I love a good glow, but I’ll opt for a self-tanner and skip the premature aging and skin damage.  Unfortunately, there are many lessons to be learned when it comes to self-tanners. Self-tanning mishaps are very embarrassing, but they happen to the best of us, see those celebrities who self-tanned and failed? No one would want to be someone like them.  Streaky application and orange palms are just a few of the easy to spot giveaways that you’ve been (shhh!) faking it.

So here are some tips on how to look sun kissed without the sun:

PREP – One of the most important steps in self-tanning is to exfoliate your skin. Before you get started, hop into the shower and give your skin a good scrub. When your skin is nice and clean, towel off. Make sure you are completely dry. Shaving immediately before (or after) applying self tanner is a BIG NO-NO.  Once you’re dry, apply a barrier ointment (Vaseline, Aquaphor, Bag Balm, etc etc.) onto your fingernails, toenails and cuticles to avoid discoloration.

APPLICATION Every self-tanner is different and they come in all different forms. There are gels, foams, lotions, sprays, towelettes. Your application strategy will depend on which one you choose to use.  Sprays are pretty simple.  They can be done over an old towel and dry fairly quickly. When applying gels, lotions or foams, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is getting it on their palms.  This just looks unnatural and a little weird.  You can avoid this by cleaning you hands immediately after applying the self-tanner.  Using a nailbrush and soap, scrub your palms to make sure none of the tanner remains.  This strategy comes with some risk and might not be 100% effective.  If you don’t want to use your bare hand, you can slip on a pair of disposable latex gloves to protect them. Another way to avoid orange-colored palms is to simply not use your hands.  Instead, use a 3-inch wide sponge paintbrush. Before you get started, always test a small amount of self-tanner on your skin.  The same tanner can react differently on two separate people. When you are ready to apply, begin at your feet and work your way up to avoid creasing the color by bending over.  Once your entire body (with the exception of your palms and the bottom of your feet) has an even coat of self-tanner on it, apply a layer of lotion around your wrists, ankles, elbows, the backs of your knees and underarms.  Basically you are slightly diluting the color in these areas that naturally appear lighter on your body.  This will make your tan appear most realistic.

AFTER Wait at least ten minutes before putting any clothes on and when you do get dressed wear something dark to avoid stains.  It is much-preferred to use self-tanners in the evening. In that way, you can tan before bed and wake to a shower and bronzed skin.

NOTE: If all this just sounds a little to scary for you then try a gradual tanning lotion.  They take longer to show results, but they are effective with a lower risk of streaking and orange palms.

DAMAGE CONTROL – Oh no! Something has gone wrong. Your color is uneven, too dark or too orange.  Don’t panic. There are a couple tricks to shortening the lifespan of your less-than-perfect paint job.  One is to take a dip in a pool! The chlorine will help to fade your tan.  Another option is to use a scrub in the shower for the next couple of days.  And if all else fails, wear long sleeves and pants.  It’s not ideal, but it works.

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