The Art of the Tan: Maintenance - Beauty Addict

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Art of the Tan: Maintenance

Now that you've prepped your bod and tanned it to perfection, how do you maintain that golden glow? Welcome to Part 3 of The Art of the Tan series: Maintenance.

Read on for my tried-and-true tips on how to make that tan last!

You will need:

- gradual self tanner of your choice
- good body cream, oil or lotion
- a net sponge

1. Get the Facts
No matter what your self-tanner claims, it probably won't last longer than 5-7 days. This is because it only dyes the very top layers of skin, and this sloughs off your body pretty quickly. That said, there are a few steps you can take to prolong your tan and avoid having the tanner wear off in a hideous leopard pattern.

2. Moisturize Your Situation!
For the first couple of days, while your tan is still fresh, DON'T exfoliate in the shower. Use moisturizing body cleansers (L'Occitane Amande Shower Oil is excellent) and follow up with a good coating of body oil, cream or lotion. The Body Shop Body Butters (pictured) are perfect for this purpose.

3. Fill in the Blanks
As your tan starts to fade (days 3-4), you might notice little spots where it's wearing off (it's when it spreads all over your body that you start to look like one giant animal print). Stem the tide with a gradual self tanner; this will prolong the life of your tan and fill in any fading spots. You don't need to follow all the steps in the Application post, just use it like a regular body lotion (take care not to miss any spots, though). Two that I like are Victoria's Secret Beach Sexy and L'Oreal Sublime Glow. With a lighter formula, daily application is fine; if your gradual tanner is a little stronger, try applying it every other day.

4. Be Gentle
Around day 4-5, it's a good idea to start exfoliating very, very gently. This will help remove the dead (and very tan) cells from the top layer of your skin. Exfoliating at this stage is really a pre-emptive strike, because if you don't get those brown particles off in the shower, they're going to end up all over your white couch (can you tell I speak from experience here?). No need for a loofah, though...just use a net sponge, and be gentle. The idea is to brush off any cells that are already "loose." Continued application of your gradual tanner will ensure that you stay evenly bronzed.

5. Rinse and Repeat
Even with all these precautions, you WILL eventually have to "start from scratch," whether you have a lapse in your maintenace routine or find that your tan has become too light or uneven. And sometimes you just need a good scrubdown, especially after a tough week. When it comes time to start the tanning process all over again, go back to the Prep post and start scrubbing away with the loofah!

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