Tanning makes everyone look and feel healthier, sexier and thinner (yes, thinner!)  We love a golden glow because it disguises skin imperfections.  When sunless tanner is applied in an artistic manner it can even create contour on the body to give the illusion of muscle definition.  Yet as we all know the dangers of the sun are just not worth it (click here for more info about skin cancer).  Those of us that follow the rules and use sunless tanner have been left a disappointed streaky orange mess.   Luckily for consumers new formulations mean better options and more realistic results.  Armed with the knowledge of how to create your best sunless tan you can finally be on your way to a golden glow year round and continue to keep your skin safe from the damaging effects of the sun.  Prepare to set aside and dedicate a few hours to the process. For optimal results give yourself a week or two prior to an event to build a natural color.

  1. Remove all unwanted hair in the areas of application by either shaving or waxing.  If you use laser hair removal wait until after your procedure to apply any self-tanner as this can affect the results of your laser procedure.
  2. Exfoliate.  This is a crucial step in creating an even golden glow.  Products containing sacylic acid, the Clarisonic for body and face, or even a sugar scrub are all excellent options.  Do three exfoliations (one every other day) before applying your self-tanner, and focus on the rough areas around knees, ankles and elbows. Shower after last exfoliation.

    Clarisonic can help acne prone skin
  3. Make sure you are 100% dry.  Not damp.  Not mostly dry, but 100% dry.
  4. Use an ultra-lightweight moisturizer on areas around nostrils, knees, elbows, ankles and the tops of the feet.  These areas can collect more tanner and become darker than other parts of the body.
  5. Choose a tanner that is right for your skin tone and your goals. The DHA in the tanner reacts with your skin to create a natural brown hue.  If you have fair skin don’t choose the darkest tanner available (unless your goal is to look like an Oompa Loompa).  A light to medium color will produce a more natural look.  There are many gradual tanners that can create a dark golden look over time by building layers of color.  Tantasia by Jane Iredale is an excellent option for all skin tones.  It smooths on evenly and provides an instant bronze color with a fresh, citrus scent.  Buildable to create the depth of tan you desire. Hydrates the skin and can be used every 8 hours until desired results are achieved.

    Tantasia by Jane Iredale
    Buy Tantasia by Jane Iredale at our online store. Click this image to go there.
  6. Use gloves!  Orange palms aren’t only unattractive—they are a dead giveaway that you have been fake baking.
  7. Just like in life, you have to start at the bottom and work your way to the top.  Apply one tablespoon at a time starting at the lower leg and work your way up.  This prohibits strange streaks created by folding over. Don’t forget around the ear area and the back of the neck, especially if you have short hair.
  8. Less product is definitely more when it comes to the face.  Be frugal when applying around hairline and eyebrows.  If you are using hydroquinone, BHA, AHA, certain acne products or a retin this could dissolve your tan.  DON’T STOP USING THEM!  Instead use a bronzer over your make-up to create your golden glow and don’t forget that sunscreen.
  9. If gloves weren’t used, wash your hands very well with soap and water.   Apply tanner to back of hands and in between fingers with a cosmetic sponge and blend well.  Be extra frugal around the knuckle areas.
  10. Let it dry.  Double the drying time stated on the bottle.  This is crucial in preventing streaks.  Once completely dry you can apply talc-free baby powder with a large poof to create a barrier that will prevent the tanner from transferring to clothing.  Avoid showering, swimming or sweating for 6-8 hours after application.
  11. In the shower use a gentle cleanser and avoid exfoliating.  Fix any streaks that you find by rubbing the inside of a lemon on the area and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then gently buff off with a towel.
  12. Moisturize.  Lock in your glow by preventing dry skin.  Flaking will cause streaks and splotchiness.

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