It’s summertime, and while some of your friends are soaking up the sun to get their tans, you’re opting to take the healthier route of using self-tanner. Skin cancer just isn’t worth the risk. But, how do you apply your self-tanner so it appears natural? Follow these tips to fake a healthy look that no one would guess is from self-tanning.
If you have other beauty routines you’re going to follow in the same time period as applying your self-tanner, do them first. Manicures, shaving, waxing, hair color touch ups -- all of these can remove self-tanning products. You should also get your workout done before you tan. Sweating before the tan develops (which happens in a couple of days) will cause the tanning product to come off and will also stain your clothing.
To get an even tan, exfoliate before applying the self tanner. Pay special attention to dry areas of your body, like your hands, the backs of your hands, elbows and knees. Use an oil-free exfoliator (oil will cause your tanning product to look streaky) and shave with a new razor just before applying the self-tanner. Then, apply an oil-free moisturizer to those areas of your skin that tend to be drier. This will help these normally dry areas to not absorb more self-tanner than the rest of the body. Don’t forget the dry spots on your face -- use a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid and a gentle skin brush. And then moisturize at least 20 minutes before self-tanning
You want your skin to be dried off both before and during your self-tanning. Make sure you have dried off well from a shower before applying your tanning product. Also, pick a cool area to work in so that you won’t start sweating while you’re tanning. This will prevent moisture from creating streaks on your skin.
One giveaway of a fake tan is the orange spots you can get on the bottom of your feet from stepping in spray residue. Putting tape on the soles of your feet before you apply a spray self-tanner will help you keep your secret.
To help you not get the little orange dots from self-tanner getting lodged in your pores, run an ice cube or a frozen bag of peas along your skin (especially your legs) to close up your pores. This can also help to prevent break-outs on your face from the tanning product.
Unless you have a very good friend who can help you apply your self-tanner, you are going to need to get creative about getting the product on your backside. Some have found that a mini-paint roller works well. Another idea is to take the self-tanning mitt and place it over the head of a back scrubber or wooden spoon. Rubberband the mitt on, and you’re in business.
Squirt your tanning lotion or mousse into the center of your mitt (at the palm of your hand) and squeeze. This will distribute the tanning product to the top of the mitt, which is what you should use for applying the product. Applying a thinner layer of self-tanner is especially important for areas like the face, elbows and knees, where it’s easy to get the tan too dark.
Start applying the self-tanner in a circular motion to ankles and work up to just above your shoulders. This will prevent unsightly marks that can form if you bend over while applying the tanning product.
Apply your tanning product to these areas last: hands, feet, elbows, knees and face. Because elbows and knees tend to absorb more product, use the remnants of the product on your mitt to lightly buff onto your elbows and knees.
Be careful on your face. Check your tanning product to see if it is intended for use on the face. If not, purchase a product to use just on your face. Feather small amounts of the tanner from the apples of your cheeks, bridge of your nose and your chin. After you have applied to self-tanner to your face, dip a cotton ball into toner and rub it along your hairline. This will help the tan to naturally fade along your hairline.
If you don’t use a mitt or gloves (mitts are highly recommended), you will probably end up with stains on your hands. Use a gentle exfoliator to get the color off of your hands. After you’ve rubbed the exfoliator around on the palms of your hands and fingers, use a make-up wipe to remove the exfoliator. Toothpaste can also work to get tanner off of the areas between your fingers. Use a q-tip to get the stains from under your fingernails.
It’s important that you let your newly applied tan to dry adequately. Brushing on a talc-free baby powder can set the tanner and help it to not transfer onto your clothes.
Call Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area. The expert dermatologists at Vanguard offer excellent care for your skin care needs, including medical treatments and cosmetic dermatology services.