I have always liked having a little color on my skin. I think that pale porcelain skin is gorgeous, however I was not blessed with it. My natural skin tone looks like I have the flu. All of my makeup and hair color coordinates with a golden bronze and so I have mastered the art of looking sun kissed over the years. Back in my college days I actually worked at tanning salon (GASP!) but after a skin cancer scare leaving me with a sizable scar on my shoulder blade (could have been MUCH worse) I try to stay out of the harmful rays of the sun and stick with a faux glow!
Before you read on, before you wait another season…stop what you are doing and make an appointment with a dermatologist to get a full body mole check. After a dear friend had melanoma almost a decade ago I started getting mole checks annually which is why we were able to catch my skin cancer and prevent it from spreading ! Luckily mine wasn’t melanoma but I was so grateful that we caught it. It’s super fast and you will be relieved when you are done. If you are in Austin I absolutely love Dr. Lisa Rhodes at Westlake Dermatology. They have seven locations and the main location in Westlake is where I go, their number is (512)328-3376. Do it.
Now that you have had your mole check (or at least made an appointment), before we get to bronzing, you absolutely HAVE to wear sunscreen. Every single day, not just when you are at the pool or beach. With all the money we spend on lotions, potions and treatments we need to do everything we can to slow the aging process. I’m all for aging gracefully but I doubt anyone would think leathery tan skin is the goal and don’t forget your hands and chest! I absolutely LOVE the Elta MD line of sunscreens and have been using it for years! Dr. Rhodes says that the brand isn’t as important since the active ingredient is the same in all of them. Pick your favorite brand just make sure you put it on!
There are three options when it comes to self tanners and I use them all for different reasons. Regardless of the way you choose to get tan, make sure you take the time to exfoliate very well (I use these exfoliating gloves) and moisturize BEFORE you go!
AIRBRUSHED BY A REAL LIFE HUMAN BEING
If you have never used a self tanner or are nervous about tanning then by all means leave it to the pros! They will guide you through the process and in many cases even do the barrier cream for you. Totally fool proof! The formulas they use tend to not have the odor that other spray tans do. I always get a pro to spray me for special occasions and I swear by Kerri Lohmeier in Austin. She works out of her home studio in Pemberton and only charges $35 per spray (say what?!)…you can text her directly at (512)529-8873. If you aren’t in Austin then ask around, chances are that your bronzed friends will gladly share!
Once you have had a spray or two, or if you would like to go frequently without having to make an appointment, you may be ready to jump in the booth. I have a membership that allows me unlimited tanning so I can go about once a week if I need to. I do the medium Mystic with a single bronze boost! I find this is just enough color and I like the immediate results of the bronzer. I put a little bit of barrier cream on my nails and palms and then around the edge of my feet. When you get out, rub it all in on hands and feet to blend it in and then wipe excess with a wet wipe!
I prefer to leave at home tanning for touch ups. It’s really difficult to get an even tan at home but I love the Jergens Natural Glow in Medium Dark to maintain the tan throughout the week on my legs and a light mist of Loreal Sublime Bronze on my face! I use a Clarisonic religiously so the face tan is the first to go!
LAST MINUTE FAKE OUT
So you need to be tan instantly…you can fake a tan with the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. Just know that it will rub off on your sheets and will only stay until you wash it off!
With any tan be aware of creases like on knuckles, wrists, knees and elbows. If you find yourself a little too tan or with a mishap then a lemon juice and sugar scrub should soften it up!
Happy (SAFE) tanning!