Get ready to get glowing! It’s hot out and selfies of hot-dog legs look so much better with tan gams. Do I even have to mention that tanning beds and lying out sans sunscreen are not viable options? By now, you should know to practice safe sun and the only safe way to get a tan is to fake it. Faking it is far easier than you think, and rather inexpensive. Enjoying a custom spray tan can be a treat, but you don’t have to enlist a professional spray tan artist to get a golden glow. Yes, self-tanning can be intimidating (and no one wants Cheetos hands), but it costs just pennies on the dollar to do it yourself. Here are some dos and don'ts to follow for your best faux tan.
(LtoR): Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel Super 200 ml, $48.00 at Lord & Taylor; Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads Exfoliating Anti-Aging Self-Tanner for Body, $45.00 at Nordstrom; Shiseido Brilliant Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Gel, $30.00 at Macy's; St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $18.00 at Lord & Taylor; Suave Visible Glow Lotions, $6.99 at Target; Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Face & Body Self Tanner with Mitt, $39.00 at Macy's
Get that tan even by scrubbing off old skin. Don’t go too crazy — a washcloth with a moisturizing body wash should do the trick. Pay special attention to feet, elbows and other areas that tend to be rough and dry. Dry skin will over-absorb the self-tanner and will show up dark, so be sure to gently buff skin before applying product.
DON’T Shave Immediately Before Applying
Shaving exfoliates the skin, leaving it supple and ready for bronzing, so it should be done before self-tanner is applied, just not right before since shaving can open pores and create cuts. Prevent irritation and schedule shaving or waxing at least a few hours before you plan to apply tanner.
DO Apply at Night
Showering, rain and clothes can mess up your tan when it’s still setting into your skin, a process which can take up to eight hours. Add self-tanning into your evening routine for better results.
Sweating will slide your fresh faux tan right off, so stay in air conditioning until the tan sets.
DO Start with a Gradual Self-Tanner
The least intimidating and most foolproof method, gradual tanning lotions take the guess work out of a tan DIY and add subtle, natural color over time. It’s self-tanning for dummies as it requires no attention to detail with the benefit of light color and moisturized skin. Try Supergoop! Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse SPF 20 ($38).
DON’T Forget to Wear Gloves
The palms give it away. For many of the self-tanning products on the market, using your hand is an easy way to apply, but no glove, no love. A plastic bag works in a pinch or try a large makeup sponge to avoid direct hand contact. Many brands sell application mitts and other tools. If you do decide to skip the gloves, then at least wash hands immediately and scrub, scrub, scrub. Then dry and apply tanner to the backs of your hands using a tissue or makeup application sponge.
DO Enlist a Friend
So you’re ready to take it to the next level and use a self-tanning product. Get a friend you feel comfortable stripping down in front of to join you in the faux-glow fun. They’ll be able to tell you if you missed a spot and, more importantly, they’ll get those hard-to-reach spots on your back.
DON’T Apply a Second Coat
Adding a second coat of tan on top of a fresh coat won’t make you darker, it will only add more bronzer, which will just rinse off the next time you shower.
DO Wear Loose, Dark Clothes and Fugly Undies
Some tanning products can stain, so stick to dark colors or clothes you don’t love and make sure they’re loose-fitting. We don’t need tight clothing to rub off our tan or make it uneven.
DON’T Apply Much to Your Face
How bad would it be if your face were too tan — or worse, had a blotchy tan? Yikes! Avoid this at all costs. After product has already been applied to the body, apply to face, but mix with moisturizer to dilute color. Go gentle on your face and apply lightly to the upper neck. You can always add bronzer later, but it’s much tougher to remove product.
DO Take Recommendations
There are a lot of tanning products on the market and no, they are not all created equal. Avoid being orange and streaky by choosing a product that’s gotten rave reviews. I mean, this is your skin and a botched job could be tough to cover. St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse goes on easily and the color is more on the olive than the orange side.
DON’T Shower for at Least a Few Hours
Different products recommend different wait times, but one thing is certain — your tan will wash away if you don’t give it enough time to absorb.
DO Shower Before Stepping Out with Your Tan
If you didn’t take the gradual-tanner route, then a shower is key to evening out your color. You may look a little overdone after the product is applied, but that's OK. After your tan has had the proper time to set, take a warm shower (not hot) to rinse off excess bronzer.
DON’T Rub Off Your Tan
Keep your faux glow looking fabulous for as long as possible by taking warm showers (not hot), patting dry and moisturizing after you get out.
Do you tan yourself? Do tell in the comments section and share your tips and product picks!