|Demystifying Self Tanners|
|Written by Julie Brown|
The right, light touch for that sun-kissed glow
If you are like the rest of us, the much-anticipated shorts and flip-flops weather cannot come soon enough. What is not so appealing, however, is that first peek of pale winter skin. Even when sunny weather arrives, who has the time to run to the beach at its first glimpse to subdue this pasty hue? Besides, we all know the dangers of basking in the sun or tanning beds; yet that tawny, healthy glow is still desirable. What is a girl to do? This is where self tanning comes in. A science unto itself, it requires a little know-how to get it looking flawless and believable.
Having used plenty of the self tanners on the market today, from luxury to no-name brands, I have my favourites based on a few criteria: the speed of application, the length of drying time, the smell as it develops (which can be funky) and, of course, the overall colour result. Self tanners come in creams, gels and now sprays. There are also daily body moisturizing lotions with self tanners in them to give moisture and gradually add colour.
The self tanners I recommend for a gentle tanned look are: Clarins Self Tanning Cream, Self Tanning Mousse, Self Tanning Milk SPF 6, and Self Tanning Instant Gel (Clarins is by far the best-smelling of the bunch). The ones I recommend for deeper colour are: L'Oréal Sublime Bronze Sun Splash Self Tanning Gel, Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Lotion, and Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Mist, which is like an airbrush spray application: no blending, rubbing in, or drying time – simply divine! For the most subtle of hues, the daily moisturizers I recommend are: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer and L'Oréal Sublime Glow Daily Skin Tone Enhancer.
Some creams and gels come with a bronze tint in them. This front loads temporary colour onto your skin prior to the tanner developing. It’s not really a necessary feature unless you’re extremely pushed for time, as I find it can be left behind on clothes and furniture.
If I am using a cream or gel, I prefer to apply it just before bed. I find it less desirable to feel lathered in cream in my day clothes and, as mentioned, sometimes the scent may be bothersome until showered off. So, it makes sense to do it at night, and wake up beautifully bronzed. If I am using the spray, I use it any time of day. For the most believable colour and longevity of the tanned look, I apply the self tanner once a week, with a daily dose of the moisturizer.
To avoid making your tan look like it came from a bottle, be very light handed in the hand and foot areas, wiping off any excess with a towelette or wet face cloth. Self tanner will adhere strongly and develop darker in areas of the skin that are rough or dry, which brings me to another important step: periodically exfoliate the skin prior to applying. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using a cream or gel, as there is nothing goddess-like about tanned palms! Now you are ready to show off your golden glow, and no one has to know your gams (and the rest of you) didn't spend weeks on a beach in a tropical paradise, working on that tan.