Skin cancer, wrinkles, brown spots. Those words have freaked out an entire generation of former sun worshippers who loved to “lie out” and bake their way to a tan. However, many people — including those who now wear an SPF 30 daily without fail — still believe they appear healthier and more attractive when their skin has a sun-warmed look. Thanks to the beauty industry, we can all go sunny-side up safely with a wider range of glow-getting options. Here’s how:
1. Get golden with a mini tan
Not everyone wants a just-back-from-South-Beach look or needs to do a full-body tan. In fact, just giving a sallow, ashy, blotchy or tired complexion what I call “tan-lite” may be enough. Mixing tanning drops like L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops with Hyaluronic Acid ($15, amazon.com), St. Tropez Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water Face Serum ($35, nordstrom.com) or Clarins Self-Tanning Face Booster Drops ($35, nordstrom.com) with your daily moisturizer, tinted moisturizer or night cream creates a sunny glow depending on the number of drops (one to three) and frequency of use (daily to every other day or once a week). You’re in the driver’s seat here. Simply blend a drop or more and your cream in the palm of your hand before applying. Start with the lowest dose — you can always add more the next day or night. For a seamless look in V-neck tops and lower necklines, be sure to apply any leftover mix to your neck and chest before washing your hands.
2. Go to a pro to kick-start summer
For a flawless head-to-toe tan from day one, opt for a salon spray. Only a pro can control the exact level of allover tan you prefer and get every nook and cranny — unlike at-home jobs or the swimsuit-and-sunscreen tan you’d get at the beach that leaves “tan lines.” You can’t beat it for first-day-at-the-shore confidence, and it makes changing from a V-neck to a strapless suit easy. It is fine to get sprayed in underwear for modesty’s sake but choose your briefest pair. Prevent patchy uneven color by exfoliating skin and washing or blow-drying your hair the day before “tanning.” Make sure to wear loose black clothing on the way home and wait to shower for 6 to 8 hours afterward; it will prevent patchy, uneven color development and tan stains on car seats, clothing and furniture. Costs vary, but expect to pay $50 to $75. It’s worth it.