10 Steps to the Perfect Tan

st tropez tan

Self-tanner and I have a love-hate relationship. I love how it gives my skin an even, glowing tone, but I never seem to get the application right. (And I never know if I’m using the right formula for my skin—too dark? too light? too streaky? too orange?)

Winter is my favorite time to test out self-tanners. Since my legs are always covered, it’s the perfect opportunity for trial and error without the world being privy to my self-tanning mishaps.

Makeup Bag intern, Monica, sampled some St. Tropez favorites after hearing about the new Aromaguard formula that helps mask the unmistakable aroma of self-tanner (DHA activating on the skin). Here’s her report:

I was dying to try St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse and Intensifier after hearing them boast a complex that reduces the tell-tale “tanning” aroma. I excitedly applied both products but was disappointed when I began to smell “it” in all its glory immediately after application and for the next several hours. Fortunately, I had a pleasant surprise in store! While most tanners’ scents tend to linger on my skin until the last drop of color disappears, the scent of these products was gone without a trace after just one shower while my tan remained fully intact.

The Intensifier (similar to a gradual tanner) and the full-strength Bronzing Mousse were equally easy to apply, with helpful tint guides and lightweight, quick-dry formulas that were totally transfer-resistant. Interestingly, I felt as though both formulas achieved the same color with just one application, but I actually preferred the Mousse; my tan was more even and natural than the color I got from the Intensifier.

While I’d prefer a tanner with no scent whatsoever, technology just isn’t there yet. Until that day, these St. Tropez formulas make a great compromise – if I handle the odor for a few hours (until I get a shower), I’m rewarded with a pretty tan sans the stink for the rest of the week!

St. Tropez has an essential guide that offers step-by-step tips for a perfect tan every time:

10 Steps to the Perfect Tan

  1. If you’re a tanning junkie, exfoliate regularly to avoid build up. Several layers of tan can result in an uneven result.
  2. Waxing or shave more than 24 hours before tanning.
  3. Give yourself a good all-over polish and apply plenty of moisturizer the night before your tan to get your skin as silky as possible. The most common cause of a patchy tan is dry skin, so it’s crucial to moisturize problem areas (wrists and hands, elbows, knees, ankles and feet) immediately prior to self tan application.
  4. Keep palms tan-free – try using latex gloves or our applicator mitt when applying, then simply sweep the backs of the hands with self tan diluted with moisturizer. Our Tan Remover- which you can use for up to four hours after tanning – removes any unwanted tan.
  5. When you’re applying your tan, make sure you’re covered all over. Don’t worry if you go over the same area twice – the tan will only be patchy if you miss a bit, not if you double up.
  6. Make sure you don’t rub in your gradual or self tan. Gentle smoothing is all you need, then you can let the product do its work. Rubbing may make the finish uneven.
  7. Try to avoid washing your hands for as long as possible in the development time – a minimum of 2 hours. Try a hand sanitizer or wipes instead.
  8. Your tan won’t get deeper the longer you leave it – once it’s been on for the required amount of time (check the pack) it will have given you the natural-looking golden color you’re after. For a deeper tan you should re-apply on successive days – 2 – 3 days in a row will give you a really deep, rich bronze tan.
  9. After you’ve applied your tan wear loose, dark clothing and avoid tight-fitting underwear. Anything that’s pressing on skin may result in a patchiness.
  10. The hands and face will fade quicker than the rest of the body so apply Rapide Face to the face and the backs of the hands to keep your tan looking fresher for longer. For a color boost for the rest of the body, try using a tan intensifier every 2-3 days – but don’t forget to polish and moisturize, too, or your color won’t fade evenly…

St. Tropez tanning products with the unique Aromaguard formulation are available online at St-Tropez.com.

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  • I spend a lot of my time handling self tan, whether it’s tanning myself or others. I recommend using a mitt to apply the solution. My own personal secret to evidence-free palms is using a little bit of petroleum jelly on my palms before I apply the fake tan. Works every time.

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