You want to look good in a bathing suit this summer, but you don’t want to get too much sun because you care about the long-term health of your skin. Those are both good goals to have, but it does put you in a bit of a dilemma, doesn’t it?
There are two common choices for women in this predicament: spend a lot of money on a professionally-applied spray-on tan in a day spa or tanning salon, or use a sunless tanning product at home, and use the money you saved to buy a new bathing suit.
Applying at-home sunless tanning products is a skill that requires patience and practice to master, but the beautiful, healthy glow of your skin is worth it. To make sure your at-home sunless tan comes out natural-looking and streak-free, follow these seven tips.
Starting 3 to 7 days before you apply a self-tanning product, apply moisturizer generously to your skin every day. Sunless tanning products don’t work well on skin that doesn’t have enough moisture.
Be sure to moisturize on the morning of the day you use the self-tanning product, too.
Either a day before you apply the sunless tanning product, or the morning of the day you apply it, exfoliate your whole body thoroughly. Make a special effort to exfoliate bony joint areas such as ankles, knees, and elbows – these are the areas where self-applied tans most often come out uneven.
Your sunless tanning product will go on more smoothly, and your skin will be able to absorb it better, if you’ve gotten all the dead, dry skin cells out of the way first.
3. Keep It Cool
In order to achieve the best, most natural-looking results, your skin should be both dry and cool when you apply the sunless tanning product.
If you took a bath or shower before you got started, make sure you’ve dried off completely before applying the product, and don’t apply it in your hot, steamy bathroom. Move to a room with cool, dry air.
4. Get A Friend Or Relative To Help
You can apply a sunless tanning product all by yourself, but if you don’t have anyone to help you, you may miss the spots you can’t reach.
5. Patience Is The Key
Rushing through this process is the surest way to end up with unevenness and missed spots. Go slowly and apply your sunless tanning product in an orderly way. Begin with your feet and gradually move all the way up your body, finishing with your arms, and making sure to rub the product into your skin well every step of the way.
Important note: When applying the product to your knees, elbows, and ankles, either use a moisturizing lotion to dilute the sunless tanning product, or use half as much of the product. Those parts of the body often soak up more of the product than most other areas. If you don’t dilute the product (or use less of it) when working on those areas, they’ll probably come out a bit darker than the skin on other parts of your body does.
6. Let The Self-Tanning Product Dry
Wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after applying a self-tanning product before you get dressed. If you wish, you can help the self-tanning product dry faster by using a blow dryer on your skin.
Also, when self-tanning products aren’t completely dry, they can sometimes rub off onto clothes. Therefore, it might be a good idea to choose a dark-colored outfit right after applying a self-tanning product.
7. Continue To Moisturize
A daily moisturizing regimen will extend the life of your sunless tan. However, exfoliation can remove the tanned skin and/or create a patchy appearance, shortening its life, so skip the exfoliation step for now.