How to Get the Perfect Tan

How to Get the Perfect Tan

A golden, sun-kissed glow looks healthy, youthful, and simply feels good. While people used to assume tanning required risking sun damage from UV rays, there are now safer ways to build color. Read on to learn how to get a natural-looking, perfect tan without compromising your skin

How to Get the Perfect Tan

Exfoliate Before Tanning

The first step to flawless tanning results is exfoliating skin before applying any color. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells and ensures an even application. Focus on dry areas like elbows, knees, and ankles that cling to flaking skin. Use a loofah scrub or grainy exfoliant 2-3 times a week before tanning. This removes any barriers so tanning products absorb evenly into fresh skin.

Use Gradual Tanning Lotions

Gradual tanning moisturizers allow you to build color slowly over time for the most believable tan. Look for formulas containing an active ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which safely stains the amino acids on the skin’s surface. Just apply your usual amount of moisturizer daily, and you’ll notice a natural looking glow develop within a few days. Reapply daily to deepen the tan until your ideal shade is reached.

Apply Gradual Tanner Properly

Taking your time to properly apply gradual tanning lotion ensures perfect, streak-free results. After exfoliating, use a tanning mitt to evenly distribute lotion over dry skin. Pay extra attention to places that absorb more product, like elbow creases. Then wait 10 minutes before dressing to allow the DHA color to fully develop. Keep gradual tanner away from palms, bottoms of feet, hairline and eyebrows to prevent discoloration in those spots.

Try Tanning Water Mists

Tanning mists provide another easy way to build a natural looking tan without heavy lotions or bronzers. These lightweight mists contain DHA to react with amino acids on the skin, creating color over time. Simply mist over body and face whenever you need a color boost, focusing on any uneven spots. Many brands use additional skincare ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins and essential oils as well. Tanning mists work best layered over your usual moisturizer.

Use Tanning Drops in Moisturizer

Another subtle approach is using tanning drops or liquid bronzers mixed into your regular moisturizer. Add a few drops each day and smooth over skin as usual to create a custom tinted lotion. Start with only 2-3 drops and work up to avoid overdoing it. The color concentrates can be added to any face or body lotion. Tanning drops work well for both building color slowly or maintaining an existing tan.

Pick Tan-Enhancing Skin Products

Boosting your base tan starts long before any tanning products. Using skin care products that support a radiant complexion will maximize your glow. Look for moisturizers with antioxidants, vitamins C and E to nourish skin and combat dullness. Exfoliants with AHAs or PHAs refine texture and combat pigmentation for an even tone. Body butters, serums, and SPF products with subtle tints enhance visible color as well.

Scrub Body Before Self-Tanning

To ensure flawless results with self-tanners, thoroughly exfoliate before applying. Pay close attention to dry knees, elbows, hands, and feet. Remove any lingering dryness or calluses which can grab color unevenly. Use an exfoliating scrub or glove to slough off dead cells for the smoothest canvas. Shave at least 24 hours before applying self-tanner to avoid irritation. Also moisturize cuticles and nails so tanner won’t stick there.

Use Self-Tanning Mousse

Mousse formulas offer the most natural looking, streak-free self-tan results. The airy texture allows for an easy, even application. Opt for a mousse in a shade close to what you can achieve in the sun to avoid looking too bronzed. Apply in sections using a tanning mitt, brushing in circular motions until fully blended. Pay extra attention to wrists, knees, ankles and other commonly missed spots. Allow 8-12 hours before showering for the DHA to fully develop.

Try Self-Tanning Towelettes

For a super quick and foolproof self-tan, towelettes are a great option. Single use tanning wipes provide pre-measured color in a mess-free format. Simply wipe the pre-soaked towelettes over clean, dry skin and toss after use. They’re ideal for touching up hands, feet, knees or any fading spots when needed. Towelettes work well for beginners since there’s no room for error. Results are light to medium but can be built up with regular use.

Apply Self-Tanning Serum

Self-tanning serums have a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture perfect for the face and neck area. Dispense a few drops into your palm, then smooth evenly over skin. Blend down the neck as well, avoiding hair and eyebrows. Serums create a very natural glow since they fully absorb into skin. Look for formulas with added skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and glycerin. Serums can be used under makeup for daytime as they dry quickly.

Use Correcting Self-Tanners

To override any unwanted redness or pigmentation, try a color-correcting self-tanner. Green-tinted formulas counteract ruddy skin tones for an even glow. There are also self-tanners specially formulated to camouflage visible veins, keratosis pilaris bumps, age spots, and acne scars. Using a color-correcting self-tan as a base will perfect the canvas before applying regular self-tanner.

Blend Edges After Self-Tanning

While applying self-tanner, pay extra attention to blending edges along the hairline, jawline, behind ears and on hands. Use a small brush, sponge or cotton swab to feather out those borders so demarcation lines don’t form. To blur knees, ankles and elbows, gently rub in downward motions with a damp paper towel or wet sponge. Avoid over-rubbing or wiping after application. Gently blotting blended edges softens visible color transition lines.

Maintain Tan Between Applications

To keep your sun-kissed tan looking fresh between applications, use daily body care products that prolong color. Look for body lotions containing antioxidants, essential fatty acids, aloe vera and glycerin to nourish skin. Gentle, non-abrasive body scrubs also help keep skin exfoliated for an even tone. Apply moisturizer right after showering when skin can absorb the hydration the best. Aim to reapply self-tanner every 5-10 days based on your formula.

Use Gradual Tanner on Face

Applying self-tanner to the face requires caution to avoid an obvious color difference. Only use gradual tanning moisturizers meant for facial use. Dot along forehead, cheeks, nose, chin and neck, then thoroughly blend. Avoid lining lips or area around eyes. Wash hands immediately after applying to prevent orange palms! Touch up with gradual face tanner daily until your How to Get the Perfect Tan glow is reached. Add bronzer or self-tan drops to your foundation or moisturizer for added color.

Know When to Exfoliate It Off

As your self-tan begins to fade, exfoliate skin to gradually remove color rather than allowing it to look patchy. Use a body scrub containing AHAs like glycolic, lactic or citric acid which chemically exfoliate. Soak in a bath and scrub focusing on knees, elbows and heels where product builds up most. Exfoliate every 2-3 days until your tan is removed, then you’re ready to reapply fresh color! This prevents a splotchy, uneven appearance.

Building a beautiful, believable tan is achievable with the right prep and products. With so many options available now for customizing color, you can test different formulas and How to Get the Perfect Tan. Just remember to exfoliate first and blend thoroughly for a flawless, sun-kissed glow.