How to Get the Perfect Self Tan


By: , – Dori Katz, Family Circle
  :  5 comments   :  12,636 Views

Goof-proof products? Check. Expert application tips? Check.  You’re officially cleared to self-tan. No streaks, no hassles!

Step 1: Prep

To end up with the most even color, you need to do a little advance work. "It's like a painter prepping her canvas," says Ricky Croft, VP Marketing for Sunless Inc. "Always begin with a clean slate." The day before you self-tan, exfoliate from head to toe, using an oil-free body polish or scrub in the shower. You should also shave at least 24 hours prior. 
Step 2: Apply

Start with clean skin. Rub a light moisturizer on extra-dry areas—hands, elbows, feet and knees—to prevent over-absorption. Standing in front of a mirror, begin with your feet, applying a thin layer, and work your way up. Fiona Locke, tanning expert for St. Tropez product line, suggests using a self-tanning mitt to prevent staining on hands and ensure an even application.

Choose a product with bronzer—it helps you see where you've applied. Let it dry completely before dressing (15 minutes is a safe bet), and the tan will develop over the next four to six hours. Afterward, if you desire a darker shade, add another thin layer.

Tip: Before using a new tanner, apply a test patch on your lower leg to see how the color turns out. The exact shade can vary due to the pH level in your skin.
Step 3: Extend

For lasting results, avoid chlorine and salt water—both will fade your shade. The key to prolonging color, says Croft, is keeping skin nourished. DHA, the primary active ingredient in all tanners, is extremely drying. Either slather on your go-to cream, or apply a glow lotion, which contains subtle amounts of DHA. The latter will gradually increase your tan's life, while minimizing any imperfections and fading. And lastly, don't forget to drink H20! Being hydrated from within helps too.
Step 4: Accentuate

For the final touch, Joanna Schlip, Physicians Formula makeup artist, suggests using a powder bronzer for your face, because it's easier to blend. Choose one that's two shades darker than your skin tone, with some shimmer—not glitter.
"Bronzer should mimic the way the sun naturally hits the face," Schlip says. Start at the forehead, and draw the number "3," sweeping across the cheekbone, then circling down to the jaw line. Repeat on the opposite side, continuing down to the décolletage.
Liquid luminizers are a great way to highlight any area you want to emphasize. Try some underneath brows, atop cheekbones and along collarbones. Complement your coloring with the perfect pearlescent shade: olive complexions look best with beige tones; pinky/peach accentuates fair skin.
Click here for more self-tanning tips Family Circle.
More from Family Circle:
 How do you get a flawless tan everytime? 

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  • 5
    By slathering on the sunblock.

    Redheads look goofy with tans. ;) - 7/10/2013   1:07:06 PM
  • 4
    This may be a stupid question, but being a single woman who's not a contortionist. How do you get this stuff on your back? - 7/9/2013   8:09:11 PM
  • 3
    I've never thought about it that way - but I have to say it's a far cry better than sun bathing. A "certain person" who is in her mid-20's looks several years older than me (I'm 31 - not that that's old) because she won't stay out of the sun/tanning beds... even her hands look aged.

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective products available are sunless- or self-tanning lotions that contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead cells located in the stratum corneum of the epidermis (outside layer of skin). As the sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, a color change occurs. - 7/9/2013   3:13:21 PM
  • 2
    I'm wondering the same thing. I've always wanted to try to use self tanner, but how good or bad it actually is for the skin? - 7/9/2013   10:43:26 AM
  • 1
    I have often wondered if the self-tanners are actually good for us at all. What is that chemical junk that we are sticking on ourselves? - 7/9/2013   6:24:26 AM

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