xen tan

My Top Four Self Tanners

A few years ago I made a discovery that would change my life forever: self tanner. I had spent high school in southern California where everyone was effortlessly sun-kissed and while I did achieve a nice glow from time to time, it was never easy. It involved lots of burning, tanning, and even slathering on oil sans SPF. Yikes. Not my most brilliant days.

I have since repented for my foolish youth and stopped going in direct sun altogether. (A whopping sunburn my junior year of college was the final straw and I while won’t go into all the painful details, let’s suffice it to say it was rather unpleasant.) Finally realizing my skin was not meant for tanning the natural (and unsafe) way, I began to explore the world of the faux glow. It’s truly liberating: no tan lines or painful redness, even color in just a few hours—why doesn’t everyone do this? Over the years, I’ve tried lots of products, (not all self tanners are created equal, believeyoume), but these are my current faves, in no particular order.

Clarins Self Tanning Milk ($32.50): My first foray into self tanning was with Clarins and that was completely by luck. This has been my go-to for years because it goes on easily and streak-free and it provides the most incredible, natural color.

Bare Escentuals Beautifully Bronzed Deluxe 2-piece Edition ($46.14): I got this self tanner and brush set in a gift bag a few weeks ago and I was a little hesitant. The formula is really dark and I am so accustomed to applying with my hands. That said, I gave it a shot on my legs and not only does the color look great, but the brush was really thorough and an awesome way to keep my palms from getting more color than they should.

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SELF TAN GUIDE Firstly, the application, it’s all in the application.

Do. Not. Rush. It. 

You’ll only regret it in the morning.  

I was lucky enough to have been taught by the experts at St Tropez before I did the above tan for Stylist magazine’s swimwear story.

The rules are simple;

1. Take a shower and exfoliate your whole body, taking care to give your knees, feet and ankles a good going over.

2. Moisturise dry areas - feet, ankles, knees and the inner side of your arms (you never tan as much there and it makes it look more authentic). 

3.  Use a decent brand. I highly recommend St Tropez and XenTan products.  They’re reliable and both have a great lasting colour,  if applied carefully. 

4.  Use a mit. It will make the job so much easier, as they’ll be no brown hands and it makes blending a doddle. 

5.  Start from the bottom up, above the ankle (we’ll come back to the feet last). 

Put one pump of product onto the mit and squeeze your hand together inside to spread the cream or foam around.  You can always come back for more, but it’s easier to work with less to start with. 

Do the bottom half of one leg first, followed by the other side.  Then tackle the thighs, one at a time, taking care to blend the colour gently over the knees. Then do your stomach, lower back and chest.  If you’re flexible, do your own upper back, or use a back applicator, or better still, get someone else to do it.

Next up is your arms and neck, leaving your face, hands and feet. 

I use whatever is left on the MIT for wiping over the top of the feet, blend a bit of product up the neck and then remove the MIT for the final stages. Mix a bit of your face cream with a small amount of product  and apply to the face, making sure not to miss out your top lip.  Wash your hands now.

Lastly, the hands.  Worth doing last thing at night I always think.  Get all the washing up and teeth brushing done, then moisturizer the hands and put a pea sized amount of product on the top of one hand.  Rub the tops of the hands together, spreading the fingers and working a little bit of tan into the gaps between.

You should wake with a body that looks like it’s been away for a good few days.

Feel free to double coat, but let the layers dry in between.  

Once you’ve done it a few times, this should all take about 10 minutes max.

Simple. 

 
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