I have spent the last couple months aggressively testing the best self-tanning products on the market. From sprays to mousse, wipes to lotions, I have discovered some great formulas and techniques. (Reviews to follow)
Along the way, I have picked up some tips and tricks to get the perfect summer glow:
☀ Do a patch test: Skin may be sensitive to DHA (a sugar derivative) or other ingredients in the product.
☀ Wax 24 hours in advance. Shave 12 hours in advance.
☀ Exfoliate! To get the smoothest, streak-free color possible, apply self-tanner immediately after exfoliating. The outer layer of the epidermis, which is what the self-tanner interacts with, is composed of dead skin cells that last only 7 to 10 days before they shed. You want to make sure you have an even layer of dead skin cells so that they all tan and slough off together. If you don’t properly exfoliate some of the skin will begin peeling in a day or two, which can result in a splotchy tan job.
☀ Apply a light body lotion to dry areas such as knees, elbows and heels. Body lotion will prevent the tanner from saturating these areas.
☀ Choose your favorite self-tanning formula: Aerosols are easy to apply and dry very fast. Mousse has quick-drying power and gives you more control. Wipes are great for on-the-go. Lotions are the most hydrating and will generally last the longest.
☀ 99% of the time you will end up with a streaky or uneven tan because of lack of product. Always work with enough product so you are able to glide it over the skin freely. Your skin will only absorb a certain amount of product so it is better to follow the “more is better” rule.
☀ With many application methods to choose from: gloves, mitts, brushes… I believe the best device is your hands. To prevent tan-palms, do not wait until the end to wash your hands. Scrub hands after each section of the body is completed.
☀ Apply product section by section. Always start at the bottom, so you won’t crease the color as you bend over. Start with feet: Apply product to a cotton round and blend on the tops of feet, toes and ankle area. This is my biggest problem area and have found this technique to be the best.
☀ Continue to apply over the shin and calf of a leg. Then apply tanner to your thigh from front to back, using the excess to cover your knee. Repeat on your other leg. For the final step, apply tanner to your hips, stomach and torso, following with your shoulders and arms.
☀ For application to the back area – your best bet is have someone do it for you. Otherwise, use an aerosol formula for an easier reach.
☀ Hands – same technique as feet. After applying product to the body. Wash hands vigorously. Add product to a cotton round and smooth over the backs of hands and lightly on the fingers, blending down onto the wrist area.
☀ An easy way to soften or slow down the absorption of self-tanner on areas that tend to grab a lot of product such as the elbows, knees and heels is to use a dry wash cloth to gently buff these areas after application. It will pick up some of the excess self-tanner and prevent them from getting too dark.
☀ Ever notice that areas like sunspots, melasma or old scars tend to get darker and more noticeable when you’ve slathered on self-tanner? Once you apply self-tanner to the area, take a slightly damp Q-Tip and gently wipe off the self-tanner from the areas where the dark spots are most prevalent. If it still grabs to the spot – try dipping Q-Tip into some rubbing alcohol. This will minimize the chance of the area getting darker and create a more even tone to the skin.
☀ Wait at least 15 minutes before dressing.
EXTENDING YOUR TAN:
☀ Moisturize! Try to moisturize the skin a couple times a day.
☀ Try a gradual tanner. This will not only extend your tan but will even it out as well.