As much fun as it is to lay out in the sun and get gorgeously bronzed, it’s just not healthy for our complexion. We prefer the faux version of this summer staple because it allows us to protect our precious skin! If you’re like us, you know how nerve-racking it can be to slather self-tanner on your face. But getting a perfect glow (without those harmful after effects) isn’t as difficult as you might think! Below, our beauty editor, Erin Sousa, and Alexandra Grant of To Vogue or Bust give us the confidence boost we need to self-tan our face at home.
Picking the perfect tone for your complexion is important. If you have a fair complexion, choose a lighter-toned product. If your skin is darker, it can likely handle a deeper pigment.
Preparing the canvas
Neglecting dry skin will yield a patchy result because tanning products will stick to dead skin. Start by cleansing and exfoliating your face with a gentle granular product, such as Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. (Oil-based exfoliators are a no-no here, as they will repel the tanning product.) Pay special attention to the areas around your nose, hairline and jawline when exfoliating. Dry your face, and you’re ready to start tanning!
Get ready to work quickly, and apply a few drops of product into your hands (wearing gloves is optional). Work the product into your face and neck, moving in upward, circular motions. Blend well into the hairline and around your nose and jawline. Avoid the eyelids, lips and undereye area.
Wash your hands with soap and water to avoid staining them. And now, be patient—the color will develop over the next few hours (depending on the formulation of the product you used). If, after time has passed, you feel as though more color is needed, reapply. Don’t just apply one thick layer; applying multiple layers builds a more natural-looking tan. Avoid the use of chemical exfoliators or products containing retinols post-‘tan’—these will decrease the life of your faux tan.
NOTE: Read the directions on the self-tanner you choose. Not all products are created equal, and they may have unique instructions.
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