Everyone loves that bronzed goddess glow from catching rays at the beach, but not all of us can make it to somewhere tropical to get our tan on. Tanning beds can be dangerous and if you’re not careful, certain self-tanners can make your skin orange. But, Valley’s got the lowdown on the best ways to get your glow without the consequences.
When it comes to self-tanners, it’s essential to pay attention to the details in order to get an even, natural look. Preparation is key and should start about one to two days prior to application. Start by exfoliating your body to get rid of any dead skin that could make it obvious you didn’t spend your weekend down by the coast. Moisturizing after getting out the shower will ensure your skin is soft and ready for the tanner. St. Tropez, a celebrity trusted self-tanner brand, suggests using a mitt to apply any tanner so that it doesn’t streak or stain your hand. The drying process may be the most important part, nothing should touch the area you just applied tanner to for at least 5-10 minutes based on the brand used.
For those who do not want the overnight tan, a gradual tanner is the perfect option. By applying it every day, your skin will become darker and darker each day without revealing your tanning secret. St. Tropez has a line of gradual tanning supplies, but for a lower cost brand trusted by many, Neutrogena has a Build-a-Tan lotion that not only smells great but also yields great results.
“I think [St. Tropez] looks so natural and it isn’t streaky or anything. I’ve tried a couple of tanners and it’s my favorite,” says sophomore Sarah Pettoruto about her favorite self-tanner.
Prepping for a spray tan is exactly like prepping for self-tanning application except this method can be a little riskier. Before choosing a place for a tan, ask about the solution the salon uses and if it is plant or chemical based. It’s important to know how your skin may react to the solution in the case of sensitive skin. Also ask if it is applied by a stand up machine or if a technician uses a handheld device, this way you have a pretty good idea of what the process is and how much room for error there may be.
“I used to do a lot of self tanner, but honestly I’ve given up on it. I just wait for the sun. I think spray tans can rock but they are pricey and can end so horribly,” says Maddie Walsack about her lack of a favorite tanning method.
Don’t worry — in the case of striping, streaking, or any other tanning faux pas, there are ways to correct it. As soon as you notice the imperfection call the salon where you received the tan and ask about what to do next, sometimes they can fix it and sometimes it’s time to just hop in a hot shower and scrub.
Have any tanning tips you just have to share? Tweet us at @valleymag with your favorite tanning method or biggest tanning mistake!