In previous posts, we’ve told you how limiting your sun exposure can help prevent the appearance of wrinkles. And we’ve also told you how self tanner can be a great alternative to actual sun tanning. But do you know how to properly select and apply a self tanner product? Let us lead you through the basics.
Do the Prep Work: Self tanners react with only the very top layers of skin. To make sure a product applies evenly, begin with a smooth, uniform skin surface. While in the shower, grab a loofah or shower ‘pouf’ and gently scrub skin in a circular pattern. The object isn’t to rub your skin rawd; simply to remove the outer layers of dead skin cells.
Hands Off: Before you start application, either put on gloves (sometimes included with product) or coat hands in petroleum jelly or Vaseline. This will prevent excess product from building up on the skin and turning hands dark and blotchy – a tell-tale sign of amateur tanner application.
Pick a Product: For first timers, start with a light-to-medium darkness product. You can always repeat applications to deepen color if you need to. It is much harder to undo an application that is too dark or too heavy. Foam formulations with contrast colors (goes on purple or blue before absorbing into skin) allow you to see where you’ve applied and eliminate streaks or blotches. Other products offer subtle tanning in a moisturizer. Gradual daily application slowly builds over time.
Go Pro: Nervous about a do-it-at-home job? Head to your local spa or salon. Many offer airbrush application of self-tanner. A light misting of the product covers the entire body, applied by an experienced professional who can see (and reach) difficult areas such as backs of shoulders and legs. Alternatively, some salons offer spray booths that apply the mist via several nozzles positioned throughout the booth. Within an hour or two of application, the full depth of the color is visible and lasts up to three weeks. As with other self-tanner formulations, start with something a few shades lighter than you initially think.