Self-tanning can have disastrous results. But with new technology and more experienced in-salon technicians, it's become as easy as ever. Here's how to find the right formula to get glowing.
If it's your first time
Self-tanners come in a range of formulas, but newbies tend to do better with mousses or gels. Why? Both make application a breeze because they're easier to control and allow you to see where you've placed the color. Tip: Wear an application mitt since tanner can easily stain hands and nails.
If you're pale
Choose a formula meant for your skin tone so you don't end up with an orange hue. It's also important to moisturize daily. “When a tan fades on very light skin, it can sometimes look like a pigmentation disorder," says Sophie Evans, a skin finishing expert for St. Tropez. "Use lotion and exfoliate every three days so that the tan fades evenly.”
If you want to lose five pounds
A professional spray tanner technician can highlight and shadow muscles to make your body look more toned. Evans recommends applying self-tanner as a base prior to getting sprayed. Then add a second coat the next day to ensure your color lasts. Tip: To make your behind appear more lifted and shaped, ask your technician to spray underneath your cheeks.
If you're shy
Whether you like it or not, your spray tan will look better if you lose your skivvies. If you're not comfortable hanging out in your birthday suit while someone meticulously sprays your body, you can still get great color results from an automated spray tan booth. “When you're in the booth, remember to follow all the posing instructions carefully,” says Evans.
If you need some color, stat
Look for instant formulas like Lorac Tantalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer, which allow you to apply and walk out the door the next minute. Wash-off formulas are typically sweat-proof, so you don't have to worry while you're tearing up the dance floor.
If you’re prone to breakouts
In general, self-tanners don't cause breakouts since they only work on the very top layer of skin. One concern for the acne-conscious: self-tanning formulas with a guide color that shows where you’ve placed the tanner. “The color can sit in open pores, which may lead to blackheads,” Evans says. She recommends mousse or spray formulas since they dry quickly and don't leave the skin feeling oily.
What are your sunless tanner secrets?