Sunless tanning 101

I have accepted that I am pasty, no correct that, practically see-through. While I have tried sunless tanning, it just is not for me. Truth be known I spend way to much time already doing my makeup, my hair and picking out my clothes, that my loved ones and friends would kill me if I took any longer to get out the door! Sunless tanning does have its benefits though- you appear thinner and skin imperfections are less noticeable. There is also that added benefit of avoiding melanoma, the deadliest cancer! Every season I offer my clients a cheat sheet with tips & tricks to getting that glow, without the sun and now I will share all those helpful tips with my askderm audience!

How to NOT look like Anne Hathaway in “Bride Wars”

Perform a test patch first. The active ingredient in sunless tanner is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) a sugar that reacts with dead skin cells to produce pigment.  You want to make sure you are not allergic to it or any of the other ingredients in the product before slathering it all over your entire body.

Remove hair & exfoliate: Use a loofa, exfoliating mitts or a washcloth to remove excess dead skin cells. This will prevent a patchy look. Shave as you would normally. If you wax, make sure this is done a day or two prior to your tanner application. Waxing removes hair from the root, leaving the follicle empty and you do not want tiny dark spots all over your legs.

Avoid dry skin: Depending on the formulation of your tanner you may want to apply a body lotion prior to application. Concentrate on the areas of the body that are more commonly dry as these will absorb more of the product and you could end up with dark uneven spots. These areas include- hands, wrists, sole of feet, elbows and knees. Avoid any moisturizer that is oil based as this could result in a streaking effect or prevent your tanner from penetrating.

Keep your hands from becoming orange: Either wear gloves to apply product or vigorously wash your hands immediately after application.

Apply to one body part at a time: Be conscious when applying to make sure you apply evenly and don’t miss any areas. 

Face bronzing: To achieve a beautiful bronzed look with makeup, we apply bronzer to the perimeter of the face and where the sun would hit the highest points- the center of the forehead, the cheeks and nose. This makeup trick applies to sunless tanning too. Apply product to these areas first before blending into the entire face. When using sunless tanner on the face avoid the eyebrows and the upper lip, otherwise you could end up looking like you have no clue when it comes to picking out an eyebrow pencil and that you have pregnancy mask (melasma). Remember that because the face receives more washing and exfoliating on a regular basis, than the rest of your body, you will need to apply sunless tanner to your face more often to maintain the look.

After Sunless tanning application: Wear loose fitting clothing to avoid the color from rubbing off. Because color can transfer choose dark or old clothing you are not concerned about staining. It is preferable to apply tanning products at night, so choose dark sheets and bedding, or all white cotton that can be bleached in the washer. 

If you have always been curious but hesitant about trying sunless tanner, these tips should have you feeling like a pro and if it keeps you from baking yourself outside or in a tanning bed, then all the better!

Check out Askderm’s selection of sunless tanning products!

Blog Written by askderm’s in house Esthetician Chantal Monique
Chantal Monique is a NYS licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist. She has 7 years experience in skin care and makeup artistry. Her specialties include makeup application and facial treatments, her work has included upscale clientele, a private investigator undercover and independent film work. Chantal also has a background in the Fine Arts. With the unique combination of her education as well as the desire to help people feel beautiful, Chantal provides expert skin care knowledge for our customers as well as the must have ingredients and trending looks. With an ever growing portfolio and clientele askderm is excited to be teamed up with Chantal for future blogs, informational videos and skin care tips!