Self Tanning 101 – How To Get The Perfect Bronze Glow!


Vanessa Hudgens

What’s the best beauty accessory this summer? A healthy tan of course! Bronze skin looks great with summer’s bright colors and gives you a natural glow. We KNOW that you know better than to sit out in the sun and fry, so the best (and safest!) way to achieve the sunkissed look is to use a self tanner. We hooked up with self tanning expert (and the Development Manager for Clarins Skin Spas), Ana Maria Crespo, to get her insider beauty tips for a perfectly applied bronze glow.

Know your formula
Be sure to pick the formula that’s right for you. If you have oily skin, choose a gel like Lancme Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Body Gel. If you hate the feel of sticky product on your skin, try a fast-absorbing mousse formula like Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse SPF 15 that will sink instantly into the skin. Lotions like Neutrogena Sun Fresh Sunless Lotion are a great choice for the self-tanning novice as their texture is identical to a body lotion, so they will feel familiar. If hydration is a key concern, opt for a cream tanner like Philosophy The Big Skinny Self Tanning Firming Cream to add moisture to dry skin.

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L to R: Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse SPF 15, $42 at Bliss spas; Lancome Flash Bronzer, $33 at Nordstrom; Philosophy the Big Skinny, $28 at Nordstrom

Do the proper prep work
Even more important than how you apply a self tanner is how you prep for it. Ana suggests you complete any hair removal prior to application to help achieve an even color. It’s also key to exfoliate thoroughly in order to remove dead, dry skin that can cause blotches. Be sure to wipe away any sweat or excess moisture from the skin and apply a light moisturizer to ankles, wrists, elbows knees and in between the fingers. This will ensure these naturally drier parts won’t darken too much.

Sweep and smooth
Ana suggests starting application on your legs and working your way up. Use long, sweeping, massage-like motions in one direction. Don’t rub back and forth in one area as this will create streaks. To get your back, either have someone assist you, or apply self tanner to one end of a wide plastic ruler and sweep on to that hard-to-reach skin. Once you’ve finished application, air dry for 10-15 minutes and then put on loose-fitting clothing to prevent smudging.

Keep it fresh
To make your glow go the distance, avoid shaving or exfoliating after self tanning. “The dryer the skin, the faster your self tanner will fade,” says Ana, so be sure to apply moisturizer daily to keep skin hydrated. Depending on your skin type and the product you use, your tan should last anywhere from 3-7 days.

Contributed by Megan McIntyre for Daily Makeover

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