Sunless tanning lotion is the greatest invention of the 20th century. OK, maybe there are a few other discoveries and inventions polio vaccine, indoor plumbing, space exploration that rank higher on the scale of great innovations.
But for those of us cursed with pasty white skin and a healthy fear of skin cancer, we love the idea of having the look of a tan without risking our lives through exposure to solar radiation.
A wide assortment of self-tanning products are available at a variety of prices, starting at $3 for 16 ounces of the no-ad brand, and going as high as $30 or $40 for 4 ounces of designer labels, such as Estee Lauder.
For the most part, we have found all the products work essentially the same, but the more expensive brands tend to have additional ingredients such as body lotions and sunscreens that offer extra temporary skin protection.
To successfully achieve that perfect faux tan, you need only take a few simple steps:
Exfoliate your entire body to create a smooth, clean surface. It is recommended that you use a loofa (sponge) scrub on especially tough areas such as knees and elbows.
To make application smooth and streak-free, a light body lotion should be applied to any areas you plan to tan.
Blending is the key to successful tanning. Don’t just stop at the jawline. Keep blending down the neck and across the chest. Have someone help apply the lotion to your back and shoulders.
Use less tanning lotion over areas of rough or dry skin, such as elbows, knees or heels. This fends off the dark, bruised look.
Apply tanning lotion to any area exposed by your swimsuit. Go all the way up the thigh for high-cut suits, and low on the neck and shoulders for low-cut suits and skimpy tops.
The hands are the last area to be tanned. After all other areas have been covered, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Put a small amount of tanning lotion on a cotton ball and lightly apply it to the backs of your hands. Avoid the fingernail and cuticle areas where color can collect and look darker.
After applying the tanning lotion, wait 15 to 20 minutes before getting dressed. This allows the lotion to dry and helps avoid streaking.
Finally, one important reminder when using sunless tanning lotion: Just because you appear to have a beautiful tan doesn’t mean you are protected from the sun’s harmful rays. You still need to use a sunscreen if you are going to be outside. Always apply sunscreen to any exposed areas to avoid burning and long-term damage.
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