Where would I be without self-tanner? Blinding unsuspecting passersby with my incandescent white legs, most likely. Given the dearth of sun in these sceptred isles, there’s not been any chance of working on one’s base tan for the past, oh, year, except when I have absconded to entirely different continents.
NOTHING cheers me up like a bit of sun (hello, Vitamin D!) and I get desperately angry without it (it’s been a bad summer). But as much as I am a bit of a sun goddess, I really try and cover myself up with SPF and stay in the shade on holidays, because just that little bit of sun can cause my fair skin to burn.
So how do I bring my inner glow to the surface so that I can have all the bronze glory and none of the pain? Self-tanners, of course!
Let’s be clear: I do not engage in Essex-type orange spray tans. I lightly bronze myself in the privacy of my own home, and with products that do not result in a bright citrus hue, but rather a subtle tan. I can’t be bothered doing it every weekend, so I usually get around to it once a month or so when I can be bothered, or definitely the day before I go on holiday. My friends seem to be a bit leery of self-tanning, I guess from bad experiences in the past, but nowaways self-tanners are really easy to use and give great results.
The two self-tanners that I have used and liked the most are L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse and Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel. I use the mousse in the summer because it is a bit darker and it is also tinted, so it is like applying instant tan — the guide colour helps you to see if you’ve put it on evenly. In the winter, I use the Clarins gel because it’s a bit more subtle and untinted, so there’s no chance of it coming off on your winter layers.
Order of proceedings:
* Get in shower
* Shave legs (quelle tedium)
* Scrub entire body vigorously with a Moroccan gommage scrubby mitt
* Get out of shower and towel off until totally dry (wet = streaks)
* Evenly coat entire body with a light lotion, nothing too heavy. It just evens out the surface a bit and gives your skin a bit of slip so the self-tanner goes on smoothly.
* Start smoothing on self-tanner limb by limb. I don’t glop it on, but rather really work it in.
* Wash hands immediately and thoroughly so they don’t go funny-coloured.
* Get a baby wipe and wipe off knees, elbows, and ankles.
* Let it sink in and dry for a bit (15 mins or so) before getting dressed.
* Enjoy the smell of self-tanner until you shower again the next day. Mmmm.
* Let your soul glow!
The smell of self-tanner doesn’t bother me, it reminds me of summer and the smell of my skin after being in the sun anyway. Also, some brands do a better job of covering up the smell than others. Self-tanners in general have dramatically improved in the past few years, since they have isolated the DHA that causes skin to go brown as opposed to orange, so don’t worry about going orange, it’s pretty foolproof. Just be sure you get an even coat so you don’t go streaky.
I don’t self-tan my face. Don’t! Really. Faces are always lighter than bodies anyway unless you have done yourself a damage on holiday. Stop at around your collarbones and use a bit of bronzer on your face if you want. If you are very tan on your body with a white face, then sorry but frankly you are using too much/too dark self-tanner!
The only bad self-tan job I did was with one of those disposable self-tanner wipes in a foil packet. Avoid those. They dry out too quickly and go on unevenly. My streaky legs were awful for a week!