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Bronzed Beauty
How to Self-Tan Like a Pro

It has been just over a month since I returned from my cruise.  Ahh memories.  I didn't buy any souvenirs this year {ever notice how most souvenirs are just crap that gets thrown away?}, but I did bring home an awesome tan.  However, because I haven't been out in the 100°+ sun my once bronze complexion has faded back to something resembling pasty white British skin.

With today being the official first day of summer {hooray!} I've decided that no longer will my epidermis be brighter than the light of a thousand suns... Today, I will Self Tan!  Normally I prefer my tan to be au natural, even with the risk of wrinkles and cancer, but it is simply too hot, and I don't have the patients to sit outside all day. 

On my quest for color, I've decided to share some tips, tricks, photos, and other advice on achieving the perfect sunless tan, so as not to end up looking like Lindsey Lohan in Just My Luck {orange palms and tan lines galore!}

As in any recipe for success, I'll first list the basic ingredients:

☀  A good self tanner.  I've tried a few over the years, but this year, I'm using The Sun Laboratories Dark Self Tanning Set $66.00.  {I got mine on sale for $30 back in February} This kit is great because it comes with the tanner, an Exfoliating Body Scrub, and an after tan Moisturizer.  If that's a little pricey  for your tanning budget, they currently have an Ultra Dark Special that includes an Ultra Dark Self Tanner, the Exfoliating Body Scrub and a beach bag for $39.95.  {FYI the shades from lightest to dark are: Tan < Ultra Dark < Dark

☀  An Exfoliator.  The kit mentioned above comes with a nice exfoliate, but I personally prefer exfoliating gloves.  They are easy to use and work better than any cream or gel exfoliator I've tried.  I bought mine a few years ago from the grocery store for about $7.00.

☀  Vaseline.  Vaseline is amazing and has so many uses.  For tanning it is a super-shield that keeps the tanner off of places I don't want it, like my eyebrows, fingernails, and toenails.
  Gloves.  Gloves are easy enough to find, most people already have a pair of rubber gloves they use to clean their toilet.  I buy vinyl gloves from the drugstore {I use for tanning and waxing} and then just throw them away when I'm finished.

There are a lot of tips out there on how-to apply self tanner, but below are some of my essential tips for a fool proof tan.  Leave any of these out and you're asking for a sub-par faux glow; and no one wants it to be known that their {*cough cough*} natural beauty isn't so natural.  So on your next day off (or day when you have nowhere to be) try these tips and  get your tan on:

☀ Don't shave or wax the day of your tan. The golden goo can sink into your empty hair follicles giving your skin a nice polka dot pattern.

E.X.F.O.L.I.A.T.E. like there's no tomorrow, from head to toe.  Leave no part left untouched, including your cuticles!  When you're finished, go back and do your feet, ankles, knees, elbows, hands and wrists again.

When applying a SELF-tanner by yourSELF at home, stick to using creams or gels.  Better yet, use one with instant color that "shows where it goes."  Sprays are impossible to do at home, unless you have a helper.

Put Vaseline on and around your toenails, fingernails, eyebrows and even hairline.  This will help avoid odd discolorations in these areas.  If you slick your hair back with a head band, just apply a little Vaseline on the parts that show.  Applying a tanner will be easier when you're not worrying about where you don't the tanner to go.

☀  Wear gloves.

  Start at your feet and work your way up.  I've read a lot of articles that say the opposite, but what happens when you've applied your tanner to your stomach and then reach down to do your ankles.  Not only are you creating creases in your neck whilst looking down, but but your stomach tan will rub off onto your thighs.  Also, apply in segments: left foot, left calf, left knee, left thigh, right foot, etc., bottom, stomach, back (you may need help with this), neck, face, left arm, left forearm, right arm, right forearm.  Then I take off the gloves and do my wrists and hands last.

☀  While applying, massage in like you're being paid to do so.  The more you rub it in, and blend it out, the better your application will be.
  Time is of the essence.  Work quickly and efficiently.

☀  Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after your finished.

☀  Read the bottle to see how long it takes to dry.  Let your tanner dry for that amount of time.  Then try to be naked as long as possible, avoid water and sweating.

Finished!  I feel like I just spent a day at the beach, without all of the sand in unmentionable places!  Unfortunately, in a few hours the smell will kick in.  Again, this is another reason to self tan on a day where nothing is going on.  There are products out there that claim to not have "that faux tan smell" but unfortunately, this cannot be helped.  The chemicals in the product react with your skin's chemistry to create a "staining effect," part of that chemical reaction is the release of the odor. {Wah wah wah}. 

Lastly, if there were any mess-ups, go over the area with an astringent or toner, and then exfoliate the area again.  {Lemon juice and salt work well too}.

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  1. I am a huge fan of the Jergens tanning lotion, what do you think of that?

  2. Honestly, I only ever tried the daily tanning lotion, and it was OK. I didn't like that I had to apply it SO OFTEN to see results. I'm 1/4 spanish, so I'm naturally darker. With Jergens I just felt like it wasn't dark enough for me. I used the darkest shade that Sun Labs offers, and it made a difference, but I still feel like I could use another application.


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