For the second year in a row, hours before our flight was scheduled to take off my family and I had to cancel a long-planned and much anticipated trip for some fun in the sun. Last year it was the super-storm that did us in and this year a stomach bug swept through our home. The fatalist side of me just knew we were not meant to be on that plane… but the stressed-out, had-enough-snow-up-to-here, pale, pasty side of me could have really used a vacation.
Though I was heartbroken over missing the sun and the sand and the surf and the seafood, the one thing I was not going to miss was the golden glow. Since self-tanners have come a very long way in recent years — new delivery systems can practically guarantee a seamless and even application and new formulations can tan, tone, tighten and treat skin — my tan could actually look like it came from St. Barts instead of a bottle.
Though many self-tanners are virtually foolproof, a little trouble-shooting can ensure a perfect tan:
GO FOR THE BRONZE
- Do your mani/pedis, shaving and/or waxing before you self- tan. Doing it afterwards can remove color.
- When applying, don’t wear deodorant, perfume or oil-based products as these can hinder the process and cause discoloration or streaking.
- Before beginning, exfoliate with a gentle scrub since drier areas will soak up more product and can cause uneven tanning. Pay special attention to drier areas like elbows, knees ankles and any other areas you deem dry.
- Retinol, glycolic acid and other exfoliating products will shorten the life of your tan. It’s ideal if you can avoid using them while you’re self-tanned but if you must, just apply your skincare in the evening and your self-tanner in the morning so some color will remain.
- Use a light, daily moisturizer to keep your tan from fading.
5 TO TRY
Hampton Sun Sunless Tanning Mist ($36) has the easiest application method I’ve ever used, making hard-to-reach areas a thing of the past. You can expect a streak-free, natural-looking golden tan that develops in a few short hours and lasts and lasts before gradually fading away naturally. The best thing about it? You don’t even need to exfoliate before applying this clear, ultra-fine, pleasantly scented, hydrating self-tanning mist. Available April 2015.
Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mousse ($48) is a white, foamy, grapefruit scented mousse that hydrates with a very quick dry down so you can get dressed immediately after applying. It contains Vitamins D & E to protect the skin, peptides to build collagen, aloe vera to retain moisture, and green tea and ginkgo biloba for antioxidant protection.
Karin Herzog Tone & Tan ($56) gradually adds a natural-looking glow while vitamin B12 and green tea boost energy, help break down fatty deposits, increase nutrient absorption and tone the skin for a sleeker, more contoured look.
Bliss Tan For All Seasons ($36) is a citrus-scented self-tanner that provides a gradual, head-to-toe tan. Formulated with aloe vera and a transfer-resistant bronzer so you’ll look tan even before it actually develops. If you’re looking for more of a temporary fix you’ll love the new Bliss fatgirlslim hide & ‘glow’ sleek firming tinted body spray ($38), formulated with peptides, caffeine, light diffusers and moisturizers so skin looks tanned, toned and glowing in seconds.