I’m gonna start this off with a difficult question: Why do people tan? Why am I interested in turning my skin tone into a different shade? And most importantly – why is it worth writing about.
I have way too much personal experience with sun damage. When I was a kid, I was the girl who had tan lines 365 days a year. My skin very rarely ‘burnt’, and my head was always covered, so I thought it was all good. It wasn’t until after moving out in 2014, when I started to actually do research. And believe it or not: the first time I discovered UV rays were damaging was when I was 20 years old. I mean yes, I had obviously used sunblock and knew it was there for a reason. But I never really cared for reapplication, and was taught sunblock only slowed tanning down. For me, being tan was a sign of being very active and outdoorsy, hence why I wanted it so badly. (Now, as an adult, I look for the glow effect. I don’t have to hide the fact that I hate the outdoors.)
Along my stupidly late journey to protecting myself from the sun, I also realized I should be wearing sunblock every single day. I can’t tell you how proud I am to actually be doing it! I found the best product ever, and use it on my face and neck as a daytime moisturizer. So now that my body is safe, how can I still look more bright?
AT-HOME SELF TANNING GUIDE
My product recommendations:
Mousse VS Lotion VS Professional spray tan
Note: these are based on my experiences with these products!
+ Goes on smooth and dry
+ Feels weightless and doesn’t clog your pores
+ Applies almost like a thin paint: easy to see which spots you’ve hit
|+ Hydrating, fits dry skin too
+ Feels more natural to apply
+ No washing off! You’re immediately good to go
+ Easy to build up: just switch your usual lotion to a tanning one
|+ Flawless results
+An excuse for a spa day!
+ Good if you’re insecure about self tanning
|–Stops working if it comes to contact with water (i.e. avoid washing your hands)
— Long wait
— Skin might feel dry
— The colour of the product makes it hard to evaluate the depth of the result
|— Very liquid, easy to over apply or miss spots
— Since you don’t really wash it off, the result might get too dark
— Inconvenience of booking appointments
— Very costly compared to DIY
— Going out in public with no makeup and only loose, dark clothing
What do do:
✘ Exfoliate and shave a day ahead.
✘ Find company! The application is more fun (not to mention easier), when you have your partner/ roommate/ sister there.
✘ Always follow instructions. If you’re insecure about how dark your application will end up, just hop into the shower after a few hours. You can always reapply, but getting the colour out is another thing…
✘ Use a mitt. Please.
✘ To minimize accidents, use a moist towel to clean up problem areas after application. You’ll want to target areas where the product easily builds up: upper lip, palm of your hand, in between your fingers, plus elbows and knees.
What NOT to do:
✘ Tan in a rush or when you’re drunk.
✘ Wear tight or light coloured clothing immediately after. Don’t go clothes shopping either – the residue might destroy fabrics!
✘ Wash your hands! (Don’t start kneading bread dough like I did.)
✘ Falling asleep while developing a tan is a horrible idea. If you want to develop it overnight (8 hours), make sure your sheets aren’t light!
If you mess up anyway…
Hop into a warm shower – or sauna – and exfoliate gently. The tan will fade naturally over time, but you can speed up the process with washing and exfoliating. Never use harsh chemicals to remove a tan! I’ve seen tutorials for using stuff like Windex to fade a tan – don’t even try it.
Happy tanning! Be sure to protect your skin from UV rays at all times – especially during the summer, and when you’re near reflective surfaces, such as water or snow.