Posts Tagged Self-Tanner

The Only Body Bronzers That Pass the Sex Test

“Need an excuse to have sex this week?” my cringe-worthy subject line to POPSUGAR’s 300+ staffers last week read. I was desperate; I needed more limbs – at least, more than the four I’ve got – to try the latest and greatest instant self-tanners and body bronzers . My only rule: volunteers must put the formulas to the elusive Sex Test.

You know, the X-rated version of an infomercial demo, where – instead of proving that apples, almonds, and chicken don’t stand a chance against your Slap Chop – you discover a landmine of one-day-only formulas that won’t smudge onto your partner’s leg at the first sign of sweat during horizontal tango. (Obviously, no on-screen show necessary.)

In any case, the response could have made crickets blush. (Shout-out to Chris from the copy-editing team for taking the bait; I appreciate you.) So I’ll say this loud, and I’ll say it proud: Ahead are the self-tanners that I can personally attest will leave your skin with a kiss of color, while ensuring that the actual kissing going on will not also ruin your white 300-thread count bed sheets – satisfaction, guaranteed.

According to Reviewers, These Are the Best Drugstore Self-Tanners

While a little bit of vitamin D is healthy in moderation, self-tanning is the best option if you’re looking to develop – or maintain – a tan without getting any sun damage. Whether you’re new to the world of faux glow or a seasoned pro at applying bronzed lotions, there are a ton of products to choose from. From sprays to lotions and everything in between, it can feel like an intimidating space to tackle. So we looked to reviewers to case the drugstore aisles in search of the best.

One Black Girl Got a Spray Tan and Lived to Tell the Tale

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Siegel

I have always been a firm believer that black girls shouldn’t artificially tan . To me, using liquid enhancers on dark complexions just wasn’t necessary, and I’ve always feared that any form of enhancement to our natural complexions would end up in an orange Willy Wonka disaster.

So when POPSUGAR’s senior beauty editor Lauren Levinson approached me with an opportunity to get spray-tanned by the pros at Vita Liberta , my first thought was to immediately decline. However, after giving it thought, I wondered if my reaction was purely the result of a beauty myth. Out of pure curiosity, I decided to challenge myself and sign up for the spray tan to debunk the myth or confirm my theory that liquid enhancers aren’t flattering on dark skin.

When it was my turn to strip down (yes, down to my undies) and get into the tanning tent, I knew there was no turning back. I stood there as the cold spray latched onto my pores and anxiously closed my eyes. After a few brief turns and chills, the entire process was finished. Once my tan was complete, I gazed in the mirror and was overwhelmingly pleased with my glowing, toasty complexion. The tanning liquid coated my skin with a radiant shine that made it look like I’d just returned from an exotic vacation. I was visibly darker, but my complexion still looked completely natural.

Throughout the day, I was extremely aware of the tanning solution on my body. I personally couldn’t wait to rinse it off to see the hue once it was settled in my skin, but the experts at Vita Liberata said it was OK to skip a shower and sleep in your tanner to achieve a deeper tint (just avoid white sheets!). But that night, I opted to shower with a gentle exfoliating cleanser to lather away the first layer of liquid enhancer. My tan melted down to a more bronzed version of my typically pale, blotchy skin. I couldn’t wait to throw on a plunge-neck top the next day to show off my sexy complexion. To say I was obsessed with my tan was an understatement.

As it turns out, my earlier hunch was wrong. My belief that a certain beauty enhancement is made solely for one type of skin is just a myth that feeds into beauty stereotypes. I am a black girl, I got a spray tan, and I loved it. And after my first experience, I’ve learned that like your favorite bronzer or liquid illuminator , a faux tan will simply just lift your natural skin tone to transform it into a more radiant version of you. So if you’re like me and thought that spray tans and black girls don’t mix, I can confidently assure you that they do. With proper research into products and technique, you lower the risk of mishaps during your first tan.

I’ve gathered all of my learnings to prepare you for your first spray-tanning experience . Read along for everything you need to know before getting spritzed or doing it at home (especially if you have brown skin).

Preparing For Your Tan

There are a few general rules to follow before stepping into the tanning tent. The day before my tan, I was advised to thoroughly exfoliate with an oil-free body scrub to create a smooth canvas. I smoothed my skin with a brown sugar, honey, and lemon DIY concoction. I was also advised to not apply any moisturizer the day of my tan. So, the night before, I slathered on a thick layer of Ceramidin Body Cream by Dr. Jart+ ($35) so my skin would still be hydrated the following day.

If you’re going on vacation and plan on scheduling a bikini wax around the time of your tan, it is highly recommended to do all hair removal, including shaving your legs, 48 hours before tanning.

The week of your spray tan requires some prep for optimal results, too. CEO and founder of Vita Liberata Alyson Hogg recommends drinking lots of water and eating foods high in lysine (like kale, spinach, and avocado) to further enhance the brightness of your skin. In addition to being mindful of what you eat, wear loose-fitting dark clothing you won’t mind getting dirty, as color from the tan can transfer onto your clothing.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

During Your Tan

Your chances of a flawless application are greater when you tan completely naked. If you’re not comfortable getting bare or if you won’t be in a bikini anytime soon, leaving on undergarments is also totally fine; just don’t wear any lingerie pieces you won’t want to dirty with the bronzing liquid.

Before applying any liquid, your tanning expert will cover the rougher areas of your body with a thin layer of lotion to prevent the liquid from settling into those lines. You can protect your hair with a plastic shower cap, and you’ll be given sticky slippers to protect under your feet. Your tanning expert will instruct you on how to stand and place your limbs. After two to three minutes of turns and large sprays, the entire process will be done!

After Your Tan

Most new spray tans are formulated to dry quickly, like the Vita Liberata one I experienced during my first time. So after your tan, you are able get dressed as normal and go about your day. However, you should avoid contact with water for six to eight hours so your tan can set. Also try your best to wait two hours before washing your hands.

If you removed any makeup prior to getting tanned, it is also recommended to wait two hours (or more) before applying liquid makeup to your skin. But if you’re headed to an event or errand post-tan and want to touch up your makeup, you can use a long-wear powder foundation to avoid reapplying throughout the day. I lightly dusted Esteé Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Powder Makeup ($40) on my face with a fluffy powder brush ($75).

To ensure that my “guide layer” and any dead skin rinsed off completely during my shower, I lathered with an extragentle exfoliating cleanser from Nubian Heritage . After showering, it is imperative that you keep your skin hydrated by moisturizing twice daily to avoid peeling and to help your color fade consistently.

For At-Home Self-Tanning

If you’d rather take your tan into your own hands, there are a few things you can do to have the most effective at-home experience. In addition to your essential prepping steps, a tanning mitt should be the first piece of your arsenal, along with a coloring agent and a thick moisturizer. (Check out which self-tan liquids POPSUGAR editors use at home .)

I consulted celebrity tanning expert James Read of James Read Tan by email, and he stressed the importance of applying the liquid to your body from shoulders to toe in sweeping motions to avoid blotchiness and streaking. He suggested to abstain from placing tanning lotion directly on your elbows, knees, feet, and ankles, as those areas are often rougher in texture and can cause creasing. Instead, protect that skin with a thin layer of moisturizer as your first step. And when tanning your face at home, use a lighter tanning liquid shade to achieve the most natural finish. You can even mix some tanning solution into your facial moisturizer to avoid going too dark!

When using self-tanner at home, be extra cautious of overapplying. To avoid an unwanted dark hue, make sure to spread a thin layer of the liquid or mousse and add more if needed. Most at-home tanning lotions will gradually darken, so try not to overdo it. If you still desire a deeper glow after your first application, opt for an overnight tanner.

Similar to getting tanned by a professional, carefully cleansing and moisturizing your skin is key to a flawlessly fading tan. In addition to exfoliating and hydrating your skin, aftersun products will help preserve the life of your lifted complexion. But no matter your skin complexion or race, protecting your body with SPF is an absolute step to gorgeous healthy skin – tanned or au naturel!

This Rosewater Face Mist Is the Genius New Way to Self Tan

It’s perfectly natural to be wary of self-tanner – especially if you’re pale . One false move and you could transform from porcelain goddess to uncomfortably Oompa-Loompa. Even worse, faux tans last for days, so once you’re orange, you’re stuck that way.

Luckily, bronzing products have seriously evolved in the past few years. Today’s instant self-tanners are much more natural-looking on the skin, and gradual formulas (which you apply daily for up to a week to build up your sun-kissed appearance) are better than ever before.

Personally, my only gripe with self-tanners is that they can be something of a hassle to use. Many require you to shower, apply, then shower it off. Lotions are less time-consuming, but are often streaky and challenging to put on evenly. Now, James Read, founder of his eponymous bronzing line, has created a genius, gradual facial tanner that is impossibly easy to use with no risk of tiger stripes or staining clothing. But my favorite part is that it’s something I think a model would use – and considering that Read has tanned Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, it’s entirely possible that models do use it.

James Read H2O Tan Mist ($31) is the first rosewater facial spray that is actually infused with DHA, the active bronzing ingredient in self-tanners. The liquid in the bottle is completely clear and is loaded with powerful ingredients like acne-fighting zinc, nourishing coconut oil, and (of course) refreshing, hydrating rosewater.

When testing it, I found that it had a clean floral scent, but I couldn’t smell any trace of DHA (which can often give off a “sweaty” aroma). It was designed to be used over or under makeup, so I spritzed it on my made-up face. The superfine mist felt supersoothing, and I could feel a bit of the coconut oil after touching my skin.

It’s very gradual, so you don’t have to fear overusing it. I’ve been keeping my bottle on my desk and applying it intermittently throughout the day to give my complexion a boost, as I would any facial mist. All I see is a light, subtle hint of color that looks perfectly realistic on my pale skin.

According to Read, it can be used as a makeup primer and setter, too, making this product a true multitasker. And as I’m always interested in adding some life to my tired face without the risk of looking dirty, this is essential for my makeup bag. If you’re a fellow pale girl, you’ll want to try this one out!

Look Like a Victoria's Secret Angel Without Working Out

It’s no secret that people are obsessed with the Victoria’s Secret Angels’ bodies. Guys want to fantasize about them; women want to look like them. And after seeing them all up close on multiple occasions when I flew to London with 40 models for the 2014 fashion show, I can vouch that these goddesses look even better in person . It makes perfect sense that you have a few of these women on your Fitspiration Pinterest board. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get a little beauty help making their bodies look extra camera-and-runway ready. During my time in London, I was able to get a custom spray tan from Kristyn Pradas , the same bronzing artist who worked on the girls. After she hosed me down with her special natural formula, I chatted with her about how real girls can try the same body-contouring tricks at home. Ladies, slimmed thighs, tauter tummies, and perkier bums may be just a bottle of self-tanner away.

Source: Getty / Karwai Tang