Here’s the thing: the sun is bad for you. It causes skin cancer, premature skin aging, wrinkles, sun spots, freckles, and sunburns just aren’t attractive:
All that being said, I love the look of a golden glow. Doesn’t everyone prefer the look of sun-kissed skin?A faux tan is THE best way to sport a darker complexion, for all the reasons listed above and these added benefits: it evens out your skin tone, so you need less foundation/concealer; it takes about 10 pounds off your appearance; it leaves your skin moisturized as opposed to the drying effects of the sun. It’s 2013, time to step into the shade and slap on a good sunless tanning product.
My natural skin tone is a true ivory:
Notice that I am a whole shade lighter/pinker than my dear friend Katie, who is herself a fair-skinned beauty. In order to look NOT albino, I have to rely on sunless tanning lotion:
After just a couple of applications, I’m nearly as tan as my gorgeously olive-skinned bff, Jessica! I have tried at least 50 different products, and all of them are pretty comparable. What I have figured out is that for my skin type/texture (dry and prone to rough spots), lotions are far better at providing an even tan than a mousse, and my bare hands are more favorable than a mitt/gloves. In general, the drugstore products are every bit as good as the high-end and department store offerings, mostly because they all use the exact same ingredient: DHA. NONE of them smell good, no matter the claim on the bottle; after 6 hours or so, they all make you smell like a beer-soaked piece of moldy bread…As awful as that sounds, I promise you it’s better than skin cancer.
I also prefer to switch up the brand every couple of uses to avoid becoming too orangey or too muddy, as nearly all products tend to lean one way or the other. Here is my current collection:
Why is there a white wash cloth pictured? Because nothing exfoliates better than a good ol’ fashioned wash cloth! Most exfoliating scrubs leave behind a residue, which is like kryptonite for DHA–it can’t penetrate the skin if there is an oily barrier. Of all of these, my two favorite are probably the Palmer’s cocoa butter for it’s initial chocolatey scent and beautifully even tan, and the L’Oreal sublime bronze for it’s super natural looking brown color.
Here’s the regiment: exfoliate in the shower, paying extra close attention to inner wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. After you are thoroughly dry, massage in the lotion as you would any moisturizer, using sparingly on wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. Wash your palms with warm, soapy water, taking care not to splash. Using your damp washcloth from the shower, gently swipe off some product from wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, AND your hairline. Let the product soak in for a few minutes. Use this awkward time standing naked in your bathroom to organize and clean out your medicine cabinet, read a magazine, or paint your toe nails. When the lotion is mostly absorbed, put on your pj’s and go to bed. Why should you never use tanning products during the day? Well, in addition to the whole moldy-bread smelly thing, any moisture will wreak havoc on your tan. It’s too difficult to completely avoid sweating/washing your hands/coffee spills/rain during the day, so just don’t go there.
Need one more awful sunburn to inspire you to break out a sunhat and buy a bottle tan? Here’s a picture of my darling boyfriend yesterday, fried extra crispy: