Up until this year, I had never self-tanned—pretty much unheard of in the beauty industry. With the exception of a few times I went and fried my skin into oblivion in a tanning booth, which I regret completely and entirely—I'm SPF 100 at all times. Of course, I avoided self-tanner because of the dreaded “agent orange” stigma that comes along with it. Then I got my first spray tan, of many and I completely changed my mind about the underrated practice.
After my first spray tan experience, people reacted to me in a way that was so totally foreign to me, I almost didn’t believe it. I had people who see me literally every day stop me to tell me how incredible I looked. Mind you, I was very stressed at this time and thus turned comfort food into my relief. As a result, I hadn’t been feeling like I looked my best.
All of this was re-confirmed to me, when by chance I ran into an ex-boyfriend. Normally, this was something that would send me running in the other direction. But about 20 minutes after our passing in the street, I got a text, “You look amazing. The best you have ever looked.” It had to be the tan. Needless to say, I was converted and ready to preach the good word of “self-tan.”
Who better to learn from than Sophie Evans, St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert. She has all of the tips and tricks to achieve a natural looking tan, and she knows why they are so addictive. “A layer of self-tan will instantly make you look more defined. It’s all to do with shaping and shadowing. We can go one step further by sculpting the natural contours of the body using the darkest formula and this will highlight muscle and curve lines making you look even more toned.” Not to mention that a self-tan can also blur perceived imperfections like veins and cellulite. Who couldn't use some of that, right?
To put it mildly, what I was experiencing was an instant confidence boost this faux tan was giving me. But of course, not everyone is comfortable with getting being airbrushed in the nude—but the good news is there are tons of formulas and options out there, from an SPF Oil that has both self-tanner in it, and an instant shimmer bronze, to a perfecting gel that you could easily spread over your decolleté and arms and washes off after one use (great for strapless dresses, or shorter hemlines).
But, if you do choose to get a spray tan, there also a ton of options there as Evans so aptly explains. It all depends on your skin type and lifestyle. “If you have very dry skin you will love an oil self-tanner, and express development solutions are great if you are a gym junkie because you can shower anytime from 1-3 hours after application.” And of course a “classic” spray tan formula is great for beginners because it gives you a light, golden glow and you can use a dark formula to shape and contour or apply another layer after 8 hours for a deeper glow.
If all goes according to plan, with proper maintenance, your tan should last 10 days. So how do you maintain? Evans says, “ To keep a natural tan going make sure your skin is moisturized daily after your shower or bath. Moisturizing before bedtime is always best. And I always recommend lightly exfoliating every 2-3 days to guarantee that your tan is fading evenly.”
And with all the indulgence this time of year, you get an added boost of confidence. Go ahead and wear that strapless dress. Flaunt those arms! Show off your legs! You should be busy enjoying yourself and feeling like you look your best. In the short term, if you can’t tone it, by all means *self* tan it. I promise it will be our little secret.