Kate’s Take: Self-Tanning Demystified

Kate Fannin, our beauty trend editor, knows how much we all covet a terrific tan during the summer. Here, she explains how to get that beach babe bronze without the harmful side effects.

Me soaking up the rays during my swim team days.

Remember when you were on the neighborhood swim team and were more concerned about your cheesy one-piece than the long-term effects of the sun? (See my 15-year-old self above for reference.) What I wouldn’t give to have that perfect tan shade again, albeit in a much SAFER way. Good news—you totally can, and with no chlorine or kickboard required. Here are some quick steps and picks for achieving the perfect “swim team” tan without risking serious sun damage:

1. Get Ready: Use a great body exfoliator or soap in the shower to prep the skin (shaving also helps). Some good options include Kate Somerville ‘ExfoliKate® Body’ Intensive Exfoliating Treatment or Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap.

2. Get Set: Use a lotion or cream around areas that are susceptible to absorbing too much product (i.e., the often-dry parts) like heels, ankles, knees and elbows. A few of my faves are Estée Lauder ‘Nutritious’ Energy Lotion, L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate and Clinique Deep Comfort Body Moisture.

3. Tan!: With so many new formulas available, there’s definitely one for everybody—and every body! (Or face!) Check out Xen-Tan ‘Absolute Luxe’ Dark Lotion. It’s non-greasy and has no icky self-tanner odor—it even has Scent Secure technology to make sure. Also, St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse is a good bet—you can’t argue with an Allure “Best of Beauty” winner AND 5-star customer ratings!

One last tan tidbit…

If you’re in a hurry or traveling, try one of my “hall of fame” self-tanning favorites: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads—travel-friendly towelettes that exfoliate AND give a gorgeous tan all in one! Use at night (after shower and before bed), and by morning, you’re gorgeously tanned and guaranteed to score compliments about your glowing skin! Best of all, they come in both face and body options.

And that’s my (tan) take!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kate F. August 6, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Hi Patricia,
    The key to a smooth application on your face is to ensure you start with a clean face (I find a Clarisonic really helps remove any dirt or makeup residue). Make sure your face is also dry and free of oil. Then, you can try a light serum or moisturizer to create a smooth “canvas” for the tanner. Just let it absorb for a few minutes first. I also like to mix/”warm” the tanning product in my hands first–this helps smooth it on.
    Another great option is to simply add a bit of a self-tanner to your moisturizer or foundation–it completely takes the guesswork out of the right amount. I highly recommend Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster – super easy to use as part of your regular routine!
    Hope this helps!

  • Patricia Greer August 5, 2014, 5:42 am

    When I use self tanners I get brown spots on my face. Any product that will not do this?

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