Orange is NOT the New Black
Most self-tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colourless sugar that interacts with the top layer of skin to darken it. Unappealing orange tints from a self tanner are often due to a saturation of DHA which can occur when you layer on too much product or when using a brand containing higher levels of DHA than your skin type can handle. To determine how a self-tanning solution will work with your skin, apply a small amount of product to a test area before covering your whole body. Some people tolerate higher levels of DHA than others based on the tone and pH of your skin. Besides avoiding the urge to slather or spray on loads of product, choosing the right formula can also help determine how your tan appears. Use a reputable brand containing less DHA and build up your colour accordingly. Bronze seekers should also go for products infused with erythrulose, a sugar sourced from raspberries to yield longer lasting results and a beautiful golden hue. Some great self tanners, like those found in the St Tropez collection, also contain green pigment to help counteract any orange.
Exfoliating thoroughly is the single most important step if you want smooth, streak-free colour. The outer layer of the epidermis, which is what the self tanner interacts with, is composed of dead skin cells that only last seven to ten days before they shed. You want to make sure you have an even layer of dead skin cells so that they all tan and slough off together. Go for a scrub that is gentle (think spherical, man-made beads over granular and uneven ones) to avoid irritating the skin prior to tanning. Ideally you should be seeking out an oil-free scrub to avoid creating a barrier between your skin and the tan. Being sloppy with your scrubbing means that some of the skin will begin shedding after only a day or two, leaving you with an uneven patchy finish.
To Hydrate or Not Hydrate Your Skin?
Many experts recommend moisturising before you tan, while others believe that lotion interferes with the DHA and the skin. A good way to avoid the controversy is to use a gradual tan moisturiser prior to your usual tanning product which is formulated to work with DHA without clogging up your pores. Plus, if you miss a spot with the full-fledged self-tanner, you’ve already covered it with the gradual tanner. Skin should be dry pre-application, but you should use a light layer of oil-free moisturiser or particularly dry areas like elbows, hands, feet, ankles and knees so they don’t over absorb colour. Look for products that contain hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut or avocado oil to help compensate for any dryness. This is a clever fool-proof trick that will solve any dilemmas when it comes to the question of quenching your skin.
Start from the Bottom
Self tanning novices are best off using an easy to control mousse or gel with a wash off cosmetic tint. The advantage here is that you can see what you’re doing and you won’t miss any spots. For self-tanner veterans, using an aerosol spray is the quickest, most natural option. Start from the bottom of your body and work your way up so that you don’t crease the colour when bending.
To fake cleavage worthy of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, don your favourite push up bra thirty minutes after applying self-tanner. Next use an aerosol spray to contour the M-shaped indentation created by the bra on your decolette. This second coat will make the area appear darker and more defined. Other than this optical illusion, contouring endeavors should be left to the experts to avoid streaky, stripey outcomes. To thin thighs, use a powder body bronzer or long wearing gel to darken the sides of your legs.
VIVA’s Top Tanners
For Fair Skin
Creme de la Mer Gradual Tan –Tanning takes on a truly luxurious feeling and is light and subtle enough to compliment a celtic complexion. Tanning rookies can also take part knowing the results will be flawless and even. James Read Liquid Tan in Light – He’s the tanning expert to know, spritzing the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Poppy Delevigne. His Liquid Tan creates a natural, long lasting bronzed finish perfect for those with pale complexions.
Medium Skin Tones
St Tropez Bronzing Mousse – This super lightweight, easy to apply, velvety mousse delivers an ultra-even all-over tan. Infused with aloe vera, it dries in 60 seconds and develops naturally and evenly.
Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Tinted Self Tanning Gel – Packed with Argan oil and essential fatty acids, this light gel formula is deeply hydrating, scented with tiare flower and only takes an hour to develop.
Deep Skin Tones
St Tropez Dark Bronzing Spray – This fine, light weight spray tan is perfect for enhancing darker complexions as well as being incredibly long lasting and fragrance free.
Rodial Brazilian Tan Dark – Containing caramel for a rich chocolate hue, this Rodial product is second to none for achieving a just-back-from-Rio tan.
*Wearing latex gloves or using a tanning mitt will prevent staining your hands and give an even finish
*Use broad and uniform strokes to avoid uneven patches and streaks
*Choose the right tan for your tone and build up colour gradually. Use a gradual tanners on a pale skin whilst darker skin tones can benefit from more intense formulas|
*Don’t panic if you’re patchy! Use a little lemon juice and scrub the affected areas with a nail brush. The acid gently and naturally dissolves mistakes