Anyway, now that I have to pretend to be an adult and no longer have a reason to spend most of my days outside, I am consistently pretty pale. I appreciate those who really embrace their natural porcelain skin, and there are many women who look better with their pale skin...but I personally don't believe I'm one of them. I just like to have a bit more color sometimes! Over the years, I've tried various methods to add just a bit of color to my skin. In college, I stupidly went to the tanning place a few times over the winter - luckily I really only went maybe five times, but still, that was not the best decision. I've gotten a few spray tans, but hated how expensive they were. I've tried the slow self tanner lotions, but I hated the smell, and never noticed that much of a difference. I'd always wanted to try a self tanner, but never knew where to start.
One of my favorite beauty bloggers, Cara from Maskcara, wrote this post about her method for using a self tanner, and so I obviously wanted to try it. She said that her favorite product was a foam from Tanwise, which I of course immediately ordered. I also ordered this mitt to apply the product. I've been using that combination on and off for the past year, and after showing a bit of the process on snapchat this past weekend, figured it was time to finally share what I believe is the best way to use a self tanner.
the morning of:
1. Shave & exfoliate. To get an even color from the self tanner, you don't want any dry skin patches for the color to stick to. I like to shave the morning of, and just gently exfoliate - I don't do anything crazy, I just use a basic loofah.
2. Moisturize. Again to prevent any dry spots. My favorite lotion is from Lubriderm - it's not some cute bottle with a great smelling lotion, but it really works well. It's the only body lotion I use now. I personally like to do the shave + lotion hours before the self tanner, just so I'm not applying self tanner to lotion rather than my moisturized skin.
later at night:
1. Get naked. Or as naked as you want to be. I go down to just being in my underwear. May be an obvious step, but hey, just throwing it out there!
2. Apply the self tanner. With the mitten on my hand, I use about 1 squirt for each of the following body part: lower leg, upper legs, arms, chest/neck, and abdomen. When you apply, it's important to not spend a lot of time in one area - that's how you get splotchy and streaky. Really move back and forth, and making sure you get all sides of the body part - it's easy to forget your ankle or the back of your legs, but that's how it's easy to spot self tanner. Some people like to use this self tanner on their face, and some don't. I prefer to use it, but in a modified fashion. The mitten I use comes with a smaller "finger" mitten. On that, I put about half a squirt of the self tanner, start on the edge of my face and work in. I'll let them sit for the rest of the time I'm using the self tanner, and then I'll wash my face. This way it gives me a little bit of color without leaving me looking too tan.
3. Wash your hands and toes. No matter how much you try, the color will settle in between your toes and fingers. Rinsing them off will prevent that dark pooling that can easily happen.
4. Don't get dressed for 20 minutes. But since I don't like to run around the house naked, I just put on a (navy) robe once my skin has dried.
5. Put on loose pjs, and go to bed. I have white bedding, and have never had a problem with my sheets turning colors from my self tanner. This isn't to say that it may not happen for you, but that's just been my personal experience so far.
6. Take a shower the next morning. You will be a bit orange when you wake up - I promise that's not the final look! In the shower, you'll notice that the water will turn a bit brown for the first minute in the shower. Just use a normal body wash like you always do.
7. Ta da! Now you look like you just came back from vacation (where you diligently still wore sunscreen, but just got a slight tan).
The color fades slowly throughout the week, so I usually do it like every 7-10 days. This is not something I do all year long, but something I do for the first few weeks of the leg baring months and before special occasions. It only takes a few minutes but I find it makes quite a difference in how I feel I look.
I personally use the dark color, but it also comes in a medium and lighter version if you are afraid of jumping in with too much color. I definitely recommend using a tanning glove though to get the most even coverage - it really does make a big difference!
And don't forget...sunscreen is your friend, and you should still use it, even if you look tan ;)