Though you may be tempted to get a gorgeous tan poolside or at the beach, don’t even think about it! Tanned skin is damaged skin courtesy of UV exposure. It increases the risk of cell mutations, which can lead to skin cancer, plus it’s a major factor in premature aging. And if you think you can get a safe tan with a tanning bed, think again. Tanning beds are even more risky than the sun, increasing a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75%. However, a nice, golden glow does have its beauty benefits—it makes teeth look whiter, eyes look brighter, and it evens out skin-tone making spots and veins all but disappear.
Since baking in the sun is not an option, it’s nice to know there are alternatives. Here, pro tips on how to get sun-kissed skin, sans sun.
BRONZER: Bronzer is the fastest, easiest way to get golden. It’s available in a variety of formulas and finishes. Apply it in natural light and avoid telltale lines by extending it down your neck and onto the collarbone. Celebrity Makeup Artist/Beauty Expert, Julianne Kaye shares these tips for getting a natural looking temporary tan with bronzer:
- Choose a formula based on your skin type. A cream formula works well for those with drier skin. If you’re acne prone or tend to get shiny you’ll like a powder formula.
- Your best bronzer shade is a couple of shades darker than your natural skin tone and not shimmery or orange.
- Bronzer looks most modern when it’s applied subtly and strategically, like the sun just kissed your face.
- A matte bronzer is ideal for the face. Brush it on the hairline by the forehead, hollows of the cheeks (contour), and over the bridge of the nose. Then, use a highlighter cream to add a little shine to the high points of the cheek bones, inner corners of the eyes, and down the bridge of the nose. Girlactik Chic Shine in Starlet Pink ($18) is a nice one.
- Avoid shimmery bronzer or highlighter on crepey skin or lined areas. It will only make them appear more pronounced.
Five to Try:
It Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Bronzer ($34) is a waterproof, anti-aging, color correcting bronzer formulated to treat, nourish, and impart a gorgeous glow. Can be worn on the face and the body.
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder ($36) gives you sheer, buildable coverage that blends easily.
Karora Instant Tan Wash Off ($25) transforms pasty face and body skin in seconds. This water resistant formula stays in place and can be rinsed off with soap and water.
Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Liquid ($60), a moisturizing, anti-oxidant liquid bronzer that can be used on the face or body for a luminous glow. Wear alone, layered, or mixed with moisturizer. After applying, wait 5 minutes before dressing. It will not wear off on clothes.
NYC Sun “N” Bronze Bronzing Powder ($5), an ultra-fine, lightweight pressed powder formula with a combo of bronzers and highlighters for a flawless, customized, natural glow.
SELF-TANNER: The beauty of self-tanner is that it’s head-to-toe healthy glow can last up to seven days. The downside is that if it’s not done properly it can look orange, uneven, and streaky. Fortunately, Dera Enochson , founder and CEO of XEN-TAN shares her foolproof tips for a perfect self-tan:
- In the days leading up to your self-tan, use a gentle body scrub, concentrating a bit more on the drier areas (i.e. elbows, knees, ankles). Don’t scrub too vigorously though, since the product works on the dead surface skin cells.
- Before tanning, avoid anything with oil and moisturizing products so the self-tanner can get right down to your skin without anything blocking it.
- Shave before tanning. If you have sensitive skin you might need to wait a few hours afterwards to avoid irritation.
- If you use retinol products or anything similar you may find your tan is gone shortly after you apply them. Try using your retinol product at bed time and your tanner during the day so some color remains in the day.
- In the days after tanning, use a light daily body moisturizer to keep your tan as long as possible. Avoid heavy creams as they’ll make your tan fade unevenly.
- When showering (and washing your hands) just pat your skin dry. Don’t use the towel too briskly because it will buff tanned skin cells off.
- Swimming tends to fade your tan faster. Try to limit yourself to 15 minute dips and gently pat dry afterwards.
- It’s time to reapply when you start fading. If you aren’t skilled at applying tanners use the gradual self-tanners that add a little color every day for great results.
- Though many products can be used on the face and body safely you’ll want to only use face tanners on the face. These are usually formulated with added skin care ingredients and less fragrance so they’re more gentle. If you tend to break out use a light, oil-free product. You can also use a tanning mitt and spray mist on it and then sweep it on your face since tanning mists tend to be lighter and most don’t have oily ingredients. You’ll like Xen-Tan Deluxe Tanning Mitt ($8).
- Self-tan works according to how much DHA you get on your skin so you can control how tan you get. With lotion, a thinner coat will give you lighter results while a thicker coat can get your super-dark. With a mousse or mist you can apply one coat right over the top to be even darker.
- To prevent streaking don’t rub the self-tanner into your skin with too much pressure. Trying to blend too much can cause the product to grab in spots and pull away from other areas. Self-tanners are meant to glide over the skin like you are frosting an angel food cake.
- If you’re wondering how you can avoid “orangey” results you need to know that DHA (the tanning ingredient in self-tanners) works on the proteins in the skin so the color comes out different on everyone. It usually looks most natural on those with olive skin but the best results happen when those with fair skin use a thin coat of a darker formula and reapply it 3 days later and those with darker skin use a lighter-toned formula. This way, paler skin gets a brown (not orange) finish and those with darker skin get that JLo Glow.
Xen-Tan Transformation Ultra ($65) is different than other self-tanners. Depending on how long you leave it on before rinsing (anywhere from 45 minutes to 10 hours) will determine how deep your tan is. Plus, you’ll love the fresh cucumber—melon scent.
Supergoop! Gradual Self-Tanning Mousse ($38) does triple-duty. It’s a self-tanner, moisturizer, and broad spectrum SPF 20 in one.
Paula’s Choice Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate ($17) turns your favorite moisturizer, sunscreen, or lotion into a self- tanner. Brilliant! Use a half-pump for a light glow and several for a deep, dark tan.
Avene Moisturizing Self-Tanning Lotion ($26) is specifically formulated for face and body. It’s formulated with Avene Thermal Spring Water to soothe and soften, has antioxidants, and won’t irritate sensitive skin.
Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($9) used daily will gradually give you natural-looking, streak-free, gorgeous color. Apply more frequently for more noticeable results.