Spring is here, the birds are chirping, the flowers are starting to bloom, and the temperatures are rising. We are getting ready to put our winter clothing in storage and bring out the short sleeves and shorts. But, the winter has left us with pasty white skin, and who wants to see that? There are a lot of ways to achieve a faux tan, but not all of them will give you the results you want. It has taken me a few years, but I pretty much have the routine down to a science.
I have used a lot of self-tanning products, but most of them have some drawbacks. I have a slight allergy to smells; some smells give me a headache, so finding a self-tanner has been difficult. Most tanning products leave a nasty, lingering odor.
If the smell is not a factor for you, finding a non-streaking product is still a problem. No matter how adept you are at applying a self-tanner, you run the risk of having a “spot” that is either too dark or too light. Here are my steps to help you look your best.
Shower and Exfoliate
Shower. Shave. Exfoliate. To get a smooth and streak-free tan, you need to rid yourself of any dead skin that is on your body. Showering and shaving are not enough. I purchased an exfoliating mitt, that takes off dead skin, but there is a cheaper option. Purchase a box (or bag) of raw sugar, and put it is a waterproof container in your shower. Put a small amount in your washcloth, and rub over your body. Thoroughly rinse the sugar off, and you are set. Make sure you scrub lightly, you don’t want to irritate your skin. Or, you can use an exfoliating bar of soap like the one that I use now. It is called Marlowe No. 102, and don’t let the fact that it is called a man’s soap scare you away.
I have extremely dry skin that flakes, cracks, and is all around yucky. Moisturizing is something that I have to do often to keep it under control. I used to use Lubriderm Advanced Therapy, but now I use the Active Hydration Body Replenish from R+F. After I shower, I turn off the water and use my hands to rake the remaining water off my skin. I will then apply the moisturizer all over my body. Applying a moisturizer is a crucial step; it helps the tanner to flow smoothly and helps to reduce streaking.
Which self-tanner do you pick? I like a couple of different tanners, here are a couple of my favorites. You have to ask yourself what type of tanner do you want to use and how much of an expert you are at applying self-tanners. Do you want a tanner that has a bronzer in it, or are you comfortable with the type that goes on clear?
If you are a novice at tanning, then you want something that is natural-looking and won’t show when you miss an area. The Foaming Sunless Tanner by R+F is perfect for you. I have customers who LOVE this product and order several at a time. However, I like a dark tan, and I can get a darker enough tan with this product to suit me.
So, I am currently using Loving Tan 2Hr Express Tan in Dark. This gives me a rich dark tan that I can see immediately, and it doesn’t all go down the drain once you take a shower. I also don’t notice the smell, so that is a good thing. However, this is not for those who haven’t used tanners before. It dries fast, and if you are not quick, you will leave streaks.
I was using SUN Laboratories by Gissee, which is also a dark tanner, but it doesn’t dry as quickly. The color is great, the smell is relatively light, and the wash off residue is small. I bought a small bottle the first time, but I went for the big daddy this last time. With any self-tanning product, you need to try the product on a small area, on a hidden part of your body, to make sure you will not have an allergic reaction.
How To Apply
After I have applied the moisturizer, I use a 2-n-1 Self-Tanning Mitt to apply the self-tanner. I used to apply with my hands, but the stain would get in the lines and wrinkles, and it was hard to wash off. I have used other mitts before, but they bled through, and my hands still got dirty. This one is great, and it has a strap for applying to your back also.
Apply the tanner to the largest portion of the part of the body you are working on. When I start on the leg, I do the shins, going around from top to back, and then when I am sure that all of that area is covered, I’ll use what is left on the mitt to do the ankles, knees, and the tops of my feet. Those are the areas that you have to be the most careful because they will look “rusty” if you have too much product. Then I move on to my thighs, each arm, chest, stomach, etc.
This is after I rubbed in the lotion on my one leg. You can see the difference immediately. It will darken a little more in the next couple of hours. If I want more color, then I’ll add another layer. I usually begin by applying one layer. I want the tan to look as natural as possible, and I don’t want someone to say, “wow, I just saw you yesterday, and you sure look different today.” After three of four days, put on another layer. Do this till you get to your desired color.
If you didn’t use a mitt, then wash your hands with soap, then use a washcloth to dry your hands. If you did use the mitt, then you will want to dampen a washcloth. Then, you start the process of making sure you don’t have too much product in specific places. Take the cloth and go in between your fingers, also very lightly wipe off your wrist, elbows, knees, and ankles. These are your problem areas. You don’t want extra tanning lotion to “pool” in crevices. This is how much excess tanning product came off onto my washcloth. Let the tanning lotion dry completely before you put clothes on. I will put on a housecoat while it dries. Don’t wear white. Lol! Even though the tanner is dry, it may still rub off a little. It might take you a couple of tries to achieve the perfect faux tan, but with practice, you’ll soon be looking like you just got back from the beach.
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8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.