Now that summer has faded to fall, little may be left of that lovely tan you earned exercising outdoors or spending time poolside when warmer weather was here. Sure, you’re bundling up in sweaters and scarves without much skin exposed—but that doesn’t mean you should forget about flaunting a healthy glow when the layers are peeled off. Sunless tanners are a safe, easy and inexpensive way to stay radiant all year round.
Try these helpful tips to achieve even, natural-looking color with products that won’t turn your skin cheese-puff orange.
Prep for best results
Smooth as silk. Always shave or wax at least 12 hours before applying sunless tanner. If you’re new to waxing, give Moom Express Pre Wax Strips a try. They’re ready to use, enhanced with soothing botanicals and can keep you hair free for up to two months.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! You’ll want to remove any lingering dead cells from the surface of your skin to prevent a splotchy-looking tan. Exfoliate all over, paying extra attention to especially dry spots, such as your elbows and knees. Choose a scrub that’s right for your skin type, avoiding products with oil if possible, as it can interfere with sunless tanner absorption.
Soften up. Applying a light layer of moisturizer on dry areas of your skin—feet, ankles and knees—will keep tanner from concentrating in these areas, providing more even color.
Skip the scents. Steer clear of scented deodorants, mists, perfumes and oils when using sunless tanner because they can also affect results.
Get your glow on
Pick a product. For a natural looking tan, use a gradual sunless tanner, applying daily for five to seven days. The ingredients will react with your skin’s amino acids, developing natural-looking brown pigments rather than shocking orange color. MyChelle Dermaceuticals Del Sol Sunless Tanner or ZIA Ultimates Age-Defying Solar Care Sunless Tanner are two of my top picks. To maintain color, use a lighter lotion such as Ocean Potion Ever Glow Daily Moisturizer.
Smooth it on. How you apply tanner is almost as important as which product you pick. Spread on the lotion or cream using broad, uniform strokes in all directions. Rub it in thoroughly, smoothing over each area completely to be sure you’ve covered all spots. If your knees and elbows are dry despite exfoliating, mix the tanner with a little lotion before applying.
Cover up. Tight-fitting gloves are a self tanner’s best friend! Put on a pair to prevent excess color on your palms. If you don’t have gloves, be sure to wash your hands well with soap when you’re done. Dab a little tanner on top of each hand so they’re not left looking pale.
Tick tock. Most self tanners absorb quickly, but you should wear loose-fitting clothing until the product is completely dry.
IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.