The Art of the Tan: Application - Beauty Addict

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Art of the Tan: Application

Self tanner virgin? Or, just can't seem to avoid streaks, splotches and those telltale orange palms? I've been hanging on to this how-to guide for a rainy day and, well, it's here we go!

First check out The Art of the Tan: Prep, then read on for some foolproof application tips.

You will need:

- A bottle of your favorite self tanner
- Non-greasy body lotion
- Hand soap
- Self tan remover, or a heavy-duty scrub
- A nail brush
- A dry washcloth

1. Get Ready!
Once you've prepped your bod according to the instructions in the Prep post, gather up all your materials (you don't want to be fumbling for the nail brush when your hands are coated in brown goo), and grab an old towel to stand on, especially if you're using a spray formula. If you haven't already done so, coat any super-dry or thick-skinned areas (knees, elbows, ankles) with body lotion, to keep the tanner from concentrating there and getting too dark.

2. Cover Yourself
Now grab your bottle of tanner and get to work! (I like St. Tropez; for more tanner reviews, click here.) Pick a starting point and work your way up or down - I recommend starting with the neck. Use as much product as you would sunscreen; it should coat your skin easily, but not be so abundant that it won't absorb. Massage it into your skin in a circular motion until you don't see any streaks.

3. Watch Your BackCover as much of your back as you can - and make sure you check your work in a mirror! I used to be able to reach my whole back, but after breaking my right wrist last summer that was no longer an option. For areas you can't reach (like between shoulder blades), this lotion applicator is cheap and effective.

4. Handle With Care
Once you've covered your entire body, wash the excess tanner off your hands with soap, and then grab your scrub and nail brush. The best product I've found for truly preventing orange palms and fingertips is St. Tropez Self-Tan Remover. It reeks horribly of ammonia, but it WORKS and is 100% worth it. Scrub your hands well, and use the nail brush for extra leverage around nails, between fingers, and on the undersides of your wrists. Dry your hands, then rub them vigorously with a dry washcloth - orange palms won't stand a chance now.

5. Hands, AgainOrange palms are bad, but super-white hands next to tanned arms are even worse. Once you've completed the hand-scrubbing, pump a small dab of self tanner on the back of one hand (mix with a small dot of lotion if you're worried about the color getting too dark). Rub the backs of your hands together, blending well into the wrist. Blend the last of the tanner/lotion mix out toward your fingers, making sure to avoid getting any on your cuticles.

6. Go Natural
No matter how "transfer free" your tanner claims to be, it's best to wait as long as you can before getting dressed, to prevent streaking, smearing and staining your clothes. Do your makeup, check your email (sit on a dark towel!), stand in front of the air conditioner - just give your newly applied tan a few minutes to dry properly.

You're now on your way to a beautifully bronzed bod! Check back soon for Part 3 in this series, The Art of the Tan: Maintenance.