I am naturally a very fair-skinned person. As evidenced by this photo with my husband where I look like I could pass as an extra on a Twilight film set:
However, over the years I have perfected the art of sunless tanning, and now that spring is upon us, I’m excited to break out the sunless tanners and get glowing again!
Here’s my foolproof routine (bear with me – it may seem long, but I promise ideal results if you follow these steps):
1. Exfoliate – Take a shower and exfoliate, head to toe, with a scrub that does not contain oils or lotions. Pay extra attention to the skin around your knees, ankles, elbows, and the tops of your feet. Tip: Don’t forget your neck! Obviously, be gentle in that area, but if you don’t exfoliate the neck area, you may risk looking patchy.
My favorite pre-tan exfoliator is from Sally Beauty Supply, and I couldn’t find it on their website. But here’s a similar choice:
2. Moisturize – SPARINGLY. After you get out of your shower, do not apply any lotion except for the following areas: your knees, your elbows, the tops of your feet, and the tops of your hands. Put a very light layer of lotion in those areas.
3. Tan! Starting with your legs and working your way up, apply your self tanner. My pick is St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Trust me when I tell you that this is hands down one of the best self tanners on the market:
4. WASH YOUR HANDS
5. Continue to tan – now moving on to your arms, 1 – 2 pumps per arm.
6. WASH YOUR HANDS
7. Now tan your stomach, chest, and any areas of your back.
8. WASH YOUR HANDS (are you noticing a pattern here?)
9. Now apply self tanner to your face. You can use the St. Tropez tanner if you like (I’ve used it without any problems with breakouts or reactions), but my favorite face self tanner is Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face:
I’ve used this for years! Yes, it’s pricier than the Jergens crap you can buy from the drugstore, but again…trust me from years of experience, this is the best! It does not cause breakouts, it’s natural-looking, and it smells divine. And a little goes a long way. Use this on your face and blend down your neck.
10. Wash your hands for the final time, this time using this:
The St. Tropez tan remover is my secret ingredient for a perfect tan. I guess I could just wear gloves, but I feel like I get a more even tan application when I don’t. So to avoid the dreaded tan palms look, just use this and it will remove any trace of tanner left on your hands!
11. Finally, squirt a teeeeny pump of self tanner onto the top of one hand, and rub the tops of your hands together, so that your hands will be a similar color as the rest of your bronzed arms.
And there ya have it!
Because the St. Tropez tanner dries so quickly and does not leave your skin smelling funky like most self tanners, you could do this routine in the morning or at night before you go to bed. If you use the tanner before bed, in the morning take a shower and just RINSE your skin (don’t scrub), and any extra tanner will rinse away, leaving a nice brown glow.
I do this routine about twice a week in the spring and summer. Sometimes I’ll touch up my legs extra times during the week because they tend to be even pastier than the rest of me. But this whole routine takes 10 minutes, tops!
Do you use a self tanner? What is your favorite pick?