August 21, 2012

How to properly use self-tanner

I've said it before, but I'll say it again in case you weren't listening. I'm naturally a very pale girl. So, the improvement of self-tanners over the last few years has made me very happy. Granted, self-tanners aren't for everyone. It all depends on your natural skin tone. How do you know if self-tanner is right for you? You have to give it a try and hope for the best. So, here are some of my tips for being an expert self-tanner.

1. Buy several brands and types of self-tanners. Yes, I know this can be an expensive habit, but you won't know what's right for you until you've tried several kinds. I've tried both cheap and expensive self-tanners. I've also tried aerosol sprays, gels and lotions. {Suggestion -- Buy a couple self-tanners. Have a friend do the same. Swap.}

2. Always shower, shave and exfoliate before applying self-tanner. Don't put on lotion first. Your skin should be toweled off and free of any product or chemical. If you use lotion first, know that it will dilute the self-tanner.

3. If you're a newbie, I suggest following the instructions on the product. Don't wing it until you know what you're doing.

4. I wouldn't try self-tanner for the first time when you have somewhere important to go. Using it for the first time, two days before your wedding, is not a good idea.

5. I strongly suggest doing a patch test first. Put self-tanner on one or both of your legs, so you can compare the fake tan to your original skin tone.

6. The best advice I can give you when applying self-tanner is to go slow. You can take your time applying, but do not take your time rubbing it in once you've applied it. {Make sense?} I apply self-tanner in sections. {lower legs, upper legs, chest, stomach, arms, butt, back} It doesn't matter what order you do it in though. Do what works for you.

7. Be cautious when applying on elbows, knees, hands, and feet. Always go lighter on and around these areas.

8. Depending on the kind of self-tanner you use, you might need to stay undressed for up to 30 minutes. Most of the new self-tanners out there dry quickly. I'm usually back in my clothes in less than 15 minutes.

My current favorite self-tanner is L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer Self-Tanning Lotion. This bottle retails around $10. I love this self-tanner because you see immediate results. You can see some color right away. It gradually gets darker over the next few hours, eventually reaching its darkest color within 24 hours. The color fades every time you shower, but the more you apply the longer the color stays. I usually reapply once every two to three days.

Recently, I've been applying my self-tanner a little differently. Self-tanners can sometimes be a little sticky. They also tend to have that annoying self-tanner smell. To side step both of these negative factors, I started mixing my self-tanner with lotion. I put 1/3 lotion and 2/3 self-tanner in the palm of my hand, mix and apply.

Just to give you an idea, the amount shown in the picture below is what I would use on one arm. Legs require a little more. Smaller areas like stomach and chest require a little less.

1. The lotion dilutes the self-tanner a little bit, so I don't have to worry about over-applying. I usually apply two coats to give myself more color anyway.
2. It eliminates the stickiness, which means I can get dressed faster.
3. Since I use a lotion that smells good, it totally masks the annoying self-tanner smell.
4. When applying, the one thing I can't stress enough is RUB IT ALL IN. You want to make sure you rub the self-tanner into your skin until you can't see it anymore. You want to rub it in evenly, so you aren't left with streaks. If it's your first time, you'll mess up. That's just how it is, but practice makes perfect. You'll quickly notice your trouble spots, so you can fix them going forward.

If I can help one person make a smooth transition from pale to tan, my work here is done.


Shelley said...

I bought a really expensive one called SUN because a blogger mentioned it and it rinsed off in the shower after an hour on my skin...are you not supposed to rinse after??

MommyLisa said...

Really? Lotion is masking the smell? I tried that and I could still smell it - i loathe that smell. But I too am very pale.

Christina said...

Good advice!! I've had so many bad experiences with self-tanner (Streaky legs! Orange palms! White face, tan neck/chest!) that I just stick to Mystic now.

I love Terri's comment about makeup! It looks so terrible when people use their regular makeup! I have two shades of everything so I can use one when I'm tan, then mix the two as it fades, and then of course there’s my super duper pale. Haha.

Brooke said...

Thanks for the tips! I sometimes use self tanner, but I have never tried that kind! Nice to hear of a good deal that works well!