Aaaah, that elusive golden sun kissed glow that everyone wants. When I think back to high school and how we used to lie in the sun for hours – sometimes with sunscreen, sometimes without – it’s the thing of nightmares. Even if the increased chance of wrinkles and aging skin doesn’t put you off, the possible number 1 major side effect of tanning (cancer, if you weren’t sure hey…) should be the definitive red light for not staying in the sun. But yes, some sun is important for your health and wellbeing as well – it’s needed for Vitamin D formation.
The fabulous after effects of tanning in the sun:
- THE RISK OF SKIN CANCER!!!!
- Aging skin
- Freckles / Pigmentation / Discolouration (ever tried to remove pigmentation? Ja, blerrie damn impossible)
- Painful sunburn (no matter how much after-sun you put on)
- Horrible skin peeling that goes on for what seems like forever
- A tan that also ends up fading (if you have a skin type that does tan, some don’t!)
So, then how do you get a beautiful beach bronzed goddess look with the sun nasties? Fake tan. Self-tan. Call it what you will. There are so many brands and options available, there will be something to suit you! Applying self-tan has a little bit of a learning curve and if you want to tan your whole body you will probably need some help (unless you have strangely long and bendy arms…) but it’s not impossible and there are some formulas that are easier to use than others. If you’re a beginner start with a cream/lotion formula, even better if it has a guide colour (the product is coloured to help you see where it’s been applied). Even if you dive in the deep end it can’t come out that horrible, as the formulas now are so much better than the orange paint of earlier decades (hello Oompa Loompas of the 90s).
I have a whole arsenal of self-tan products I’m still going to try:
- Luv that Sun Daily Tan Airbrush Bronze Shimmer (medium)
- Clicks Sun Protect Instant Colour Spray (dark)
- Sun Labs Bronzed Daily Tan Airbrush Bronze Shimmer (dark) – I’m thinking this is the same range as the Luv that Sun one, Dischem will have to clarify…
- SkinnyTan 7-day-tanner (dark)
- Le Tan Self Tanning Foam Coconut Water
Some key pointers to a good and lasting self-tan:
- EXFOLIATION. Especially before you apply it. Think of applying icing over a crumby and uneven cake. You end up with blotches everywhere. So scrub, scrub, scrub and be sure to wash it off well (especially if you used an oil based scrub). I love using those nylone scrub gloves (you can find it at Clicks/Dischem etc.) Also shave what you want shaved the day before.
- Apply a light layer of LOTION over certain areas: knees, elbows, ankles, hands. These areas are naturally drier and will absorb more product when it’s applied over bare skin, so apply some lotion sparingly before (and allow it to absorb!) and don’t rub too hard when applying the self-tan over these areas.
- Use a MITT. There are a few available on the market – it just helps to distribute the product more evenly than when using your hands. It also prevents your hands from being coloured by the tan product (which can look very weird – you have hectic tanned palms…). I’m sure you can even make one yourself if you have some soft, not too absorbing material at home.
- Start from the BOTTOM up. I find starting at my lower legs easier, then thighs, stomach area, breast area, neck, arms, face (if doing my whole body). I can’t do my back on my own, so someone usually helps me with that.
- You can apply the product to your face, just start of LIGHTLY. Don’t just slap an entire handful of product on there. You’ll end up looking like Ross (and if you don’t know what that reference is, we can’t be friends)(and if you didn’t get that then oh my gawd)(and if you didn’t get that either, then rather just leave).
- Use the EXCESS PRODUCT on the mitt to wipe over your feet/ankles and hands.
- WASH YOUR HANDS (PALMS) AND NAILS afterwards, even use a little scrub, you don’t want dark tanned hands! Even when using a mitt.
- Wait for it to DRY before putting on clothes, sitting down or moving around a lot. No intense workouts! I usually stand in front of a fan for a bit (in summer when it’ super hot this also helps with preventing patches etc. due to perspiring).
- MOISTURISE your skin every day to keep the tan looking good.
- READ the instructions of the product you’re using. Duh. All products differ, for example, some must be washed off after a set period of time.
I’ve been using the SkinnyTan Tan ‘n Tone oil for a while, which produces a lovely golden colour that lasts for a good while! I usually apply it 2 or 3 days in a row and then see how if fades before applying again. I started with their Gradual Tanner cream, which is great for beginners, as the cream is easy to apply, absorbs quickly and you can build up to the colour you want over a few days. SkinnyTan products also doesn’t have that horrible self-tan smell like the products of days gone by! Bonus! SkinnyTan is available at Clicks, Dischem and their online website shop. I finished the bottle just before new year!
Currently I’m trying the Luv that Sun Bronze Shimmer Daily Airbrush Tan (medium shade) – so far so good. Follow me on Instagram to see pics of what I’m using etc.
Of course, you can also get a fake-tan professionally applied. Many beauty salons offer spray on tans, which are quick and easy!
Go on, get your (fake!) tan on!
(see what I did there, Golden Glow, Golden Globes – bahaha)