Sunday, March 27, 2011

Foolproof Sunless Tanning! (Part 2)

Okay. So now that you've hopefully found your perfect sunless tanner, let's talk about how to apply it.

I'm mainly going to focus on how to apply lotion based sunless tanners. I absolutely don't recommend using any at home spray tan product. I have never seen ANYONE pull it off successfully and you will most likely turn everything around you tan from the fallen spray. If you are having difficulty applying foams or mousses, you can rinse a baby wipe out in the sink, hang it up and let it completely air dry. Pump your product on the wipe and use it like a wash cloth to apply. Use more product as the wipe dries out. Also plan on using 2 wipes for a full body application.

Also, I suggest completely shaving (legs, armpits, bikini area, etc) 12 hours BEFORE you apply a self tanner. If you shave right before applying it, your pores are still open from the warm water and the tanner will collect there and you'll be covered in tiny dark brown dots. Eeep.

And now... onto your application process: (Remember that I told you this was not for the lazy and unmotivated...)
  1. Take a hot shower and exfoliate from head to toe. You don't need a fancy (or expensive) exfoliating scrub. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub or the WalMart equivalent if I have to. Also, use a soft cotton washcloth or an exfoliating glove instead of a nylon puff or a loofah. In my experience, loofahs tend to lead to streaky applications. Just remember to switch hands so that you can get both of them if you're using the exfoliating glove!
  2. Towel dry yourself completely. Give yourself a good 10-15 minutes to fully dry BEFORE applying any self tanner. During this time, go ahead and prep the area you will be tanning in with the tanner, gloves and your baby wipes if necessary; choose the outfit you will be tanning in (if necessary) and apply regular body lotion as follows:
    1. Apply a dime sized amount along the edges and to the sole of each foot.
    2. Apply a pea sized amount to your fingers and tap each toe knuckle. Rub the lotion in.
    3. Apply somewhere between a pea sized and dime sized amount to each ankle.
    4. Apply a dime sized amount to each knee.
    5. And a dime sized amount to each elbow.
    6. Rub a pea sized amount into each wrist.
    7. And rub repeat the pea sized amount with each of your knuckles.
      • These areas of your body are normally "drier" than the rest of your skin and will absorb the pigment of the tanner more easily. They also have fine lines for the tanner to settle into. The lotion creates a barrier so that less of the self tanner will be absorbed into your skin and you will end up with an even glow instead of dark patches.
    8. Lastly, take a dollop of lotion and apply it to each toenail, completely covering the nail and slightly rub it in to your cuticles. Repeat this on your hands when you eventually get to tanning them.
      • This will prevent the self tanner from turning your nails orange!
  3. Your skin should be dry enough so if you are wearing a bathing suit to tan in, go ahead and put it on now. I suggest a black, tight fitting one.. but I also think having to work around fabric to get fake tan lines is a huge hassle. Just my opinion, though. Go ahead and put on your gloves. Regular vinyl or latex gloves work perfectly. You can buy a huge box of them at WalMart for less than $5.
    • You might not think you need gloves, but is it really worth the risk of putting all this work into fake tanning only to end up with the dreaded orange palms? Even if you scrub your hands, there is no guarantee you won't end up with them... unless you use gloves. I strongly recommend them.
  4. Starting with your feet, apply a small amount (penny sized?) and work in thoroughly. Avoid the soles of your feet, but do get the edges of your feet. Don't forget in between your toes! Work your way up to your ankles, applying more if necessary. Less is definitely more with self tanner. You want enough to completely cover the area, but not too much where it won't completely absorb into your skin. Also be mindful of streaks. You may have to rub some areas more than once.
  5. Using a quarter sized amount for each calf, blend upwards from your ankles to your knees.
  6. Using another quarter sized amount, blend from your knees to your hips.
  7. What you do with the areas covered by your bikini is up to you. I personally use a quarter sized amount on my butt, but that's just me.
  8. Continue on with quarter sized amounts, covering your abdomen and lower back... working your way up to your chest.
  9. While tanning your chest, also get your armpits. Yes, most people don't have tanned armpits, but it will look kind of funny if you skip them because you'll have an awkward (and definite) tan line. Also cover your shoulders and as far down onto your upper back as you can reach at this stage, too.
  10. Now it's time for your back. Use a mirror for this part! Personally, I can reach my entire back without requiring additional help. But if you can't.. when you buy your other tanning supplies, you should invest in a lotion applicator. They look like this and can be found at WalMart:
     11.   After your back is complete, cover your neck up to your jawline and behind your ears. You can also  lightly coat your ears as well, just don't go IN your ears.
     12.   Unless you choose to use a specific face tanner (I don't find it necessary), take a dime sized amount and work it ALL over your face. Cover your eyelids, nostrils, and lips. Blend, blend, blend! Also work the tanner up into the very edges of your hairline. It will give you a completely natural look and cover the definite change in your skin color.
     13.   Lastly, work a quarter sized amount into each arm. Gently cover the undersides of your wrists and blend it down into (but not ONTO) your palm. Use a cotton swab to achieve a perfectly blended look if you need to. Now it's time to take off the gloves and do your hands... one at a time. Also, don't forget to protect your nails and cuticles with dollops of lotion! Do that as soon as you take the glove off.
     14. Pull off one glove and use a pea sized amount to cover the back of your hand, blending toward your knuckles. Use another pea sized amount to get between each of your fingers. (Don't forget about the space between your thumb and index finger!) Then use ANOTHER pea sized amount to spread around and tap on each finger and work in. I use 3 separate dollops instead of one big one so that I don't end up with too much product and have orange hands! Put that glove back on and repeat the process on your other hand.

Check yourself over completely for streaks. If you have any, try to fix them now. Don't add more self tanner to a streak unless you absolutely can't blend it out any other way, and even then... only add the tiniest possible amount. Remember your mantra: Less is more.

If you've used gloves (like you should), there is no need to wash your hands. Unfortunately, here comes the fun part: You can't get dressed OR sit down for at least 20 minutes. Sorry! If you didn't use a bathing suit and you sit down, you'll end up with a discolored butt. And no one wants that!

Personally, I like to give myself an hour to completely dry before I put clothes back on. However, I will sit down on a maroon or brown towel after 30 minutes have passed. I suggest having a book or magazine handy. OR your iPod so you can do the 'Naked Tanning Dance' ...I kid, I kid. Sort of.

The way I like to apply my tanner is to shave that morning, and start the tanning process about 2 hours before I want to go to bed. Showering and application take a little under an hour (but I also take long showers) and that leaves me with an hour to dry. Once I've put on my loose fitting clothes, I usually head to bed and shower the next morning before getting dressed.

Speaking of showering.. Any activity that will get you wet or make you sweat in any way, shape, or form is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN for at least the next 3 hours. If any moisture touches your body, you will see it in your tan. I promise. Don't shower for at least 8 hours. I recommend pushing it as long as possible. Also, don't shave for 24 hours after you tan.

Oh. I almost forgot. When you do finally get dressed, opt for dark, loose fitting clothes and go sans undergarments if possible. They tend to leave marks in your tan.

Okay. I thought I could get all this info into only 2 posts.. but I think this one is long enough as well. Hopefully You're not cross-eyed yet! Part 3 will discuss what to do if you've somehow made a mistake and how to care for your fake tan.



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