Before heading to the beach with the goal of a bronzed bod, keep in mind that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and approximately 91,270 new melanomas are diagnosed each year. With that in mind, consider opting for a sunless tanner instead. You can still achieve your summer glow, without subjecting your skin to the sun’s dangerous rays. Here are some of the most popular formulas to choose from, as well as what you need to know about prepping and preserving.
Before slathering on a sunless tanner, it’s important that you properly prep your skin to prevent streaks and uneven coverage. Start by taking care of any other beauty treatments first, this includes manicure, pedicure, waxing, and shaving. Next, exfoliate with a non-oil based scrub (anything oily will cause streaks), paying special attention to dry spots like heels, ankles, elbows, and knees. Use a glycolic or salicylic acid-based scrub on your face to remove any dead skin, as it will appear too dark. Once your skin is completely dry, apply a very small amount of moisturizer around your nostrils, knees, elbows, and heels so they don’t turn orange.
For a natural appearance, choose a color close to your skin tone — not the result you want to achieve — as it won’t match the rest of your features. Next, choose a formula. Mists are great whether you’re a rookie or a pro, as they make it easier to get to those hard-to-reach places and they dry quickly. Towelettes are another way to have greater control over the application process. Many brands offer separate versions for face and body to reduce the risk of breakouts or too much color distribution. While a mousse can provide more coverage than a traditional cream, it’s a harder formula to work with and can cause streaking if you’re not careful. Applying with a mitt versus your bare hands can help prevent a mishap. Serums or oils are great for the face as they only provide a touch of color and also contain nourishing ingredients to keep your skin hydrated. If you’re really nervous, opt for a gradual self-tanner formula that gradually builds color with each application.
While the length of time a faux glow lasts depends on many factors (from the condition of your skin, excessive sweating, swimming, etc.), avoid harsh cleansers and make sure your skin is always hydrated. Temporarily ditch retinols and any acid-based products as they’ll exfoliate the color off — and usually not evenly. When you’re ready to refresh your glow, repeat the prep process first.