It’s that confusing time of year again. The weather is getting warmer, we will be exposing more skin, and if you’re like me your body is as white as the wall…
Do you fake tan and risk looking insane or do you say SCREW IT! and rock the white bod? If you are thin and toned with very smooth skin, I say rock it. Pale is beautiful too!
But if you aren’t blessed with a smooth, white, tight, porcelain body, the fake tan can make you feel much more confident exposing your skin, so let’s address how to self tan and still avoid looking like you were in an accident at the Cheeto factory, shall we?
Ok so what will you need?
A Body Brush or something else to exfoliate your body in the shower.
Now that we know what we need, we can get started…
Prepping Your Skin:
Ok so before we even consider painting/staining our pale little bodies, we need to make sure the skin is ready. If there are any drier areas on your skin, the tanner will cling to those areas and be really difficult to remove, which makes sense if you think about it because dry skin is just begging for something to soak up!
Moisturizing is not the answer because while it will make then skin less dry, it will also stop the tanner from adhering, so it will wash off very quickly. So what do you do? Exfoliate.
In the shower you should have some type of exfoliating tool. I prefer a natural bristle body brush, but you can use a loofa, scrubby gloves or whatever type of tool you prefer for manual exfoliation.
For those tougher areas, like the sides and bottom of your feet I reccomend switching to a pumice stone. It is especially important to get any dry skin off the feet and ankle area as this tends to be where the most uneven fake tan blobs try to hide.
To finish the skin prep you must shave. Putting self tanner on stubbly legs will cause the tanner to cling to the areas around each follicle, which gives you that Roy Lichtenstein, pixel point where every hair grows effect. While shaving may not completely negate that, it will help diminish it significantly.
Choosing a tanner:
I like to combine two types of tanner. A bronzing tanner and a gradual daily tanner in the form of a lotion. This allows me to apply my tanner once properly, and extend the life of its wear with the gradual tanning lotion on a daily basis. I feel that doing this creates a more natural look because you are far less likely to get lazy and screw up the main application of you do it less often.
I don’t mind taking my time and applying it correctly if I only have to do it every 7-10 days, you know what I mean?
But there are many types of self tanner out there, how do you know whats a good color?
First you need to look at the color of the tanner. Look up reviews and examples (thats what us bloggers are here for). The key things to look out for…
1. Don’t go overboard. If you’re really fair, don’t go out and buy a “Medium/Dark” tanner. Buy a “Light/ Medium” one. Think of it like this, the colors on the bottle should not represent the color you WANT to be, but the color you are STARTING with.
Not only will an overly dark tan look weird, but it also emphasizes any mistakes you make like streaks, missed areas etc.
2. Regardless of your undertones, choose a tanner with green/brown tones. Natural tan skin is not orange, but a mix of many colors which naturally amount to a sort of brown with hints of olive. A good tanner will be brown, not bronze and definitely never orange!
Again, if you are unsure of the color because it is white before it processes on the skin, look up examples!
(if you do buy the foaming bronzer and are very fair I recommend applying it when you will be home all day, and then waiting the recommended four hours and showering it off before going out. The tanner straight out of the bottle is WAY dark, but once washed off it is GORG)
Applying The Tanner:
So mitt or no mitt? It’s a matter of preference. I don’t see a huge difference with the mitt so I often go without it rather than repurchase one. If you do decide to go mitt-less remember to wear gloves! There is nothing cute or natural about brown palms.
And then there’s the age old question of how to tan your own back…for this I have no answer except, ask someone for help! I have tried using strips of old towel or cloth after seeing that recommended on other blogs, but I never had any luck with that. Ask your mom, boyfriend, roommate, sister, whoever you have handy. I’m sure you would do the same for them! They have a better view back there anyway so at least you can be sure it’s even.
Cleaning up mistakes:
Even if you are careful and do everything right, you may may some boo boos. My mistakes seem to occur around my ankles and wrists. If you wind up with wobbly lines or blobs, my advice is this.
Take an alcohol based astringent (I don’t recommend these for your face or for skin care in general, only to remove the tanner) and place it on a cotton pad. Gently rub the areas that are too dark. The astringent really helps to get some of the color off and blend in the mistakes.
As you can see, the result isn’t perfect, but its certainly better!
You can also help fade streaks on your body by exfoliating in the shower, however this will also fade the tan.
Some Things To Look Out For:
So if you follow the information above you should be ok, but you aren’t completely out of the woods yet. There are some more things to consider…
– Make sure you tan your face! Having a white face is a dead giveaway that your tan is fake. It also just looks really weird like you are wearing a mask of your own face or something. Creepy
If you don’t like putting tanner on your face for fear of breakouts, simply switch to a darker foundation shade and make sure to blend it past your jaw and down your neck.
-Even if you do put tanner on your face still switch to a darker foundation. Light foundation over a tanned face will look unnatural, ashen, mismatched and just bad. A good rule of thumb is match your foundation to your neck and chest.
– If you tan your face (with tanner or foundation) make sure to blend it into your hairline and around your ears.
– Know your limits. Don’t try to be extremely tan if you are naturally extremely pale, like I mentioned earlier it only serves to look kinda weird as well as highlight any imperfections in your tan. A good rule of thumb for this is “Don’t try to have a fake tan that is darker than you can get naturally tan from the sun. “
And thats all folks! I hope this helps, and if you have any other suggestions or questions, let me know in the comments.