Today’s post of this special HWG Beauty Week is a subject I have been wanting to discuss for ages. Seriously. I have had “self-tanning” and “spray-tanning” on my possible blog post ideas list for just about two years now.
Why it took me this long to finally put it together is beyond me! I guess I am just awesome at procrastinating like that.
Anyways, below you will find a complied list of all of my favorite self-tanners in the form of lotion, wipe, and even spray on. By no means am I an expert on this subject, however, I have been testing out these sort of products and getting spray tans since making my college dance team in 2004.
That makes ten (whoa!) years of trial and error… so what you see below had to go through strenuous testing to make this list.
Only the best of the best for you guys!
Spray and Self-Tanning 101
I touched on the subject of tanning back in September as part of my Top 20 Photoshoot Tips + Tricks. Just as I mentioned before, tans aren’t for everyone, but I think that a good one can only complement what is already there.
Personally, even just a hint of color makes me feel slimmer, toner, and (I think) helps my muscles become more visible. As much as I would love to go nuts in the sunlight and soak up natural rays of color, we all know that can inevitably up your chances of skin cancer… which I’m pretty confident in saying no one wants to deal with.
So – if you are like me – and like to maintain a healthy glow without damaging your skin, here is what I recommend.
(Shout out to Kristi at The Sun Oasis for all of the fabulous spray tans this year as well as for introducing me to California Tan products!)
Gradual to Instant Tanning
Starting with just a hint of color, meant to be used on a daily basis until you are happy with the color to a full on DIY spray tan aerosol.
In-between: California Tan Instant Sunless Lotion
In-between: L’Oreal Sublime Bronze, Medium Natural Tan
Instant : California Tan Instant Sunless Spray
I’m not the biggest fan on tanning wipes. Although I think they are easier to get an all over streak-free color, I just don’t notice that much of a difference to buy and use them regularly.
Similar, but not really at all is this Subrushed wash-on formula I was introduced to by my Orlando Magic Dancers coach back in 2007.
Each kit comes with a container of liquid formula, an exfoliater scrub, tan preserving lotion, plastic gloves, and a wash cloth to apply it with.
I almost forgot about this gem until I was digging through my bathroom cabinets to make sure I included all of my rock star products. It’s simply fantastic! The results are just as good as a professional spray tan, if not better, and this kit got me through four solid seasons of dancing professionally in Orlando. Love, love, love it!
Applications and Rotations
If I am not getting a spray tan at a salon, I will use a combination of these products depending on how tan I want to be and how fast I need it.
Most weeks I rotate using a regular moisturizing lotion and a gradual tanning lotion every other day. A couple of times a week, I exchange the gradual tanning product for an instant one. If I need to be court ready with a tan, I use the spray, make sure I am completely dry (try using a blow dryer!) and then finish it off with an instant lotion for a dramatic color change.
I know… the process is kind of psycho.
Exfoliators + Tan Extenders
It is just as important take the time to prep and maintain your tan as it is to apply it.
Before any spray tan (professional or self-application), make sure to shave and exfoliate before and consistently use a good moisturizer afterwards.
If you don’t want to get all that fancy, just make sure you give your body a good scrub in the shower before and moisturize with something after!
Things to Know About Self-Tanning
Okay… now that you are probably overwhelmed by products, let’s dive right into my tips and answers to FAQs.
• Start small with one layer at a time.
Before you get freaked out about being responsible for applying your own color, don’t. Start simple with one coat, see how it goes, then add more if you want. You don’t have to get all Jenna Marbles on me (<- flipping hilarious) and put all ten layers on at once.
The majority of self-tanners take hours to do anything, so just be patient.
• It goes on as evenly as you put it on.
The majority of tanners I use are dark in color, which allows you to instantly see where it is applied. If you notice it’s going on streaky, make sure to even it out before moving on to the next section.
• It doesn’t last forever.
Just like natural tans, self and spray tans don’t last longer than a couple of days, depending your level of activity. The longest I have made a spray tan last is a week, and that was only because I was extremely focused on being gentle and moisturizing 24/7.
Also, after getting a professional spray tan, you might look a little crazy before your first shower.
The extremely dark color and blotchiness will wash right off once all of the bronzers set in and it’s time to shower.
• In the process, things could get messy.
Every time I apply my own spray tan, I make sure to wipe down the walls, floor, and counter tops in my bathroom. The stuff gets everywhere and can do some serious damage if you aren’t good about cleaning up afterwards.
Also, the solutions tend to sweat off. If you have a fresh coat on, I wouldn’t recommend wearing white to the gym or sleeping in clean sheets.
Most of the time, however, everything washes off once it’s put through the washing machine… no big deal.
Tips For Spray Tanning
I have been getting professional airbrush spray tans for ten years now. Wow.
I have only used a spray tanning machine a couple of times, and just prefer someone to do it. I always fear pulling a Ross and turning the wrong way several times in a row, but I’m guessing most of you are more coordinated than I am and could easily handle it.
I have received a couple of requests for tips specifically related to spray tanning and finally have some answers for you!
The biggest one I can give you is to schedule them at night, if possible. Go in clean, and sleep in it overnight before showering in the morning to produce the best results.
• shower, shave + exfoliate using a washcloth or exfoliating gloves
• avoid applying lotion and deodorant unless you like splotches
• (optional): apply a pre-spray coat for evening (see color maximizer product above!)
• wear dark, baggy, covering clothes and avoid the urge to wear a bra or anything with tight elastic
• (optional): apply lotion to hands, feet, and nails only, if desired, once at appointment
If done correctly, your spray will intensify over the next couple of hours. Most people choose to stay at home during this time, but I have gotten over the embarrassment and continue on with my days carefree.
• make sure you are fully dry before dressing and try using a blow dryer to help it set!
• remove excess spray from nails by gently wiping it with a small towel
• be very careful where you sit and how long you sit, if it’s extremely fresh
• avoid working out, sweating, and showering for at least 4-6 hours (nobody likes white streaks!)
• avoid loofahs and sponges in the shower and use gentle foaming soap
• gently pat yourself dry after showering
• always moisturize at least once a day and especially after every shower
I truly apologize if I just gave you total information overload. Maybe now you see why I have put this post off for so long… there was a lot to it!
Okay, friends. I think it’s time for me to sign off here. I really hope that you have been enjoying Beauty Week so far and just like I mentioned yesterday, if you have a specific question or idea for a topic, feel free to comment below or email me at email@example.com.
Happy (sunless) tanning!
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