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It's summer! As you swap-out pants and sweaters for more skin-baring apparel, you will probably be reaching for that self-tanner bottle as well! Before you go to town with sunless tanning products, check out our top tips for a natural, streak-free application that will have you beautifully bronzed in no time.
Prepping your face and body for self-tanning is just as, if not more, important than the actual application itself.
Exfoliate: Tanning solution appears darker on dry, rough patches because those areas soak-in more product. Exfoliating your entire body prior to application, paying special attention to elbows and knees, will yield an overall even result. Try (1) He-Shi Exfoliating Body Wash to remove dead skin cells from face and body.
Shave: Make sure to do any shaving prior to applying self-tanners, as razors are a form of exfoliation, shaving can fade your tan faster. We recommend (2) Shaveworks Pearl Soufflé Shave Cream from Anthony Logistics for a close shave that slows hair growth and reduces ingrown hairs.
Staff Tip: Use Rosebud Salve on cuticles, nails, and toes to protect them from the tanning solution. It gives the overall tan a more natural appearance.
Now that you are prepped, you are ready to apply your sunless tanning solution of choice. Our staff favorite is (3) St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Winner of the 2013 Allure Magazine Readers' Choice Award for prestige self-tanner, the golden color appears instantly, and doesn't have that tell-tale "tanning" smell. Using a Tanning Mitt for application will ensure a streak-free tan, and prevent product-soaked palms that look less than natural.
Apply: Using long, even strokes, apply the product starting with your legs. Work from thigh to knee to calf, blending into the ankle, then slightly onto the top of the foot and toes. Once the legs are perfected, move to hips, stomach, and chest, blending into neck. Finish the process with the shoulders, moving down the arm, into the wrist, and blending onto the top of the hand and fingers.
Staff Tip: When applying self-tanner, complete each body part thoroughly before moving to the next. Skipping around will lead to missed areas and light spots. If you notice any streaks or dark spots, a small amount of water can be used to even-out the product.
Once your product application is complete, wait 4-6 hours before sweating, showering, or swimming. We recommend self-tanning at night before bed so your tan can develop overnight, and you can shower off the excess product in the morning.
Maintain: You can always add more layers of solution to get a darker tone, touch-up spots you missed, or create definition. Keeping your skin moisturized is key to prolonging the look of your sunless tan. Dry skin can cause the color to slough off, creating a "crackled" effect, and looking less natural.