Taming the Beast: How to Make Self-Tanner Work in High Humidity Environments - Beauty Addict

Monday, August 30, 2010

Taming the Beast: How to Make Self-Tanner Work in High Humidity Environments

You may think that high humidity's greatest threat is to your hair, but for the past year and a half, it's been wreaking havoc on my tan.

The very same self-tanners that turned me golden brown in New York just flat-out stopped working here in Hawaii. Lotion-based tanners would sit on top of my skin and never dry (blow dryers didn't help, either). Gradual tanners refused to build up.

I started to believe that the high humidity was part of the problem; if your skin and hair are already at their maximum moisture level, maybe they can't absorb anything else? Was it possible that whatever I put on my skin was just sitting there because there was nowhere else for it to go?

(As for the other part of the problem? Well, I always tell people that Hawaii is magic. Cuts heal faster. Blemishes don't stick around very long. You can sleep in your makeup with no ill effect. So maybe there's a little bit of ancient Hawaiian magic involved.)

But the humidity was a problem I could tackle. During a major tete-a-tete with Erika, Julia and Amber on Kauai, we theorized that a drier, less moisturizing formula might be more likely to "take." I also hypothesized that a more thorough pre-tan exfoliation might help; I usually use a body scrub and loofah gloves, but that method just wasn't cutting it anymore.

For my experiment, I chose St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse -- which, after it de-foams, is thin and not at all lotion-y -- and a heavy-duty back brush. Before my shower, I used the brush lightly on dry skin, and then went back for a second round with water and shower gel. I scrubbed myself so hard with that brush, it was like going to a Korean spa and having every last bit of old skin stripped from your body.

After drying off, making sure to use a fresh towel with no traces of body lotion or anything on it, I went to work with the St. Tropez, applying a little bit more than usual. I stayed in the air conditioned house all day and watched as...YES!...an actual tan started to develop.

I've used this method twice now, and have been topping up every 1-2 days with a gradual self-tanner in place of body lotion (can't hurt, right?). I've been using Aerie Cocoa Bronze, and I'm liking the results. My tan really seems to be sticking around, and when it's time for it to fade, it does so evenly. Incidentally, I've also been using the St. Tropez applicator mitt for my mousse application, and I LOVE it. Look out for a review of that tomorrow.

Have you had problems getting self-tanners to work in high heat or high humidity? Try these tips, and share your stories in the comments! (Come on, I can't be the only one.)