"Wax and shave 24 hours before tanning," says James Read. "If you have to shave after tanning, use an electric shaver as it won't affect your tan." Fiona Locke adds, "Use hair conditioner on any parts of your body that you're going to shave. It helps to soften the hair and only removes hairs as opposed to taking off your tan."Alyson Hogg adds that drinking lots of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables is key for skin that is hydrated and quick to absorb product. "Application should be done immediately after exfoliating," she sadds. Oribe Conditioner for Brilliance and Shine, $47.
#2. How to Apply It
"Just before applying your self tan, rub over your body with a face wipe to remove any tan that's not visible to the naked eye," says Read. "When applying, always use a tanning mitt to make sure your tan is perfect. Start from the face and work downwards. When applying tan to hands and feet, use the mitt and work excess product from your arms into the hands and then from legs to the feet and ankles. Do not apply tan directly onto these areas, otherwise it will be too dark. When doing your back, use your mitt, go over your shoulder then down the back. Do either side and then work product from the bottom of the back upwards." Locke recommends St. Tropez's Tan Optimiser Applicator Mitt ($7), and we love Neal's Yard Remedies Face Wipes, $9.
#3. Move Around
"Having a full length mirror in front of you and moving your body into different poses—not unlike yoga—helps to ensure that you don't miss a spot," says Locke. West Elm Parsons Floor Mirror, $499.
#4. Trouble Spots
Svetlana Fuller says, "For tan-free palms, use a kabuki brush applicator like Spray di Solé's. It's perfect for getting into wrinkly, difficult areas and it leaves you tan streak free." Hogg adds, "The skin of the nuckles, elbows, knees, and heels is dryer and, thus, tans darker than other skin. So th ebig secret is to wipe these areas with a damp cloth after application. Also, always avoid the heel of the hand and ensure you wipe the palm and between the fingers. Always blend at the sides of your hands." Spray di Solé Sun Gelée Kit, $50.
#5. Use This, Not That
"Definitely no oils," insists Hogg. (Their consistency will break up your tan and cause streaking!) "And you should not moisturize less than 12 hours before applying any of our tans." James Read adds, "To stop your tan from stripping when you go swimming, use a waterproof SPF." MDSolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray SPF 40, $19.
#6. Even Out
Read has the perfect at-home formula for evening out a blotchy self-tan job. "If your tan is too dark, or you want to even out a bad tan, mix some lemon and lime juice with some baking soda, then soak a flannel mitt in the mixture and put it in the microwave for three minutes. Then, rub it over your skin. Alternatively, having a steam at the gym will lighten or remove your tan."
Locke says, "Exfoliating about 3 to 4 days after your self-tan will revitalize your skin and ensure that as your self-tan starts to fade, it will do so evenly." Feller adds, "The hands and face will fade quicker than the rest of the body, so be sure to apply a color boost with a liquid bronzer." St. Tropez Optimiser Body Polish, $20.
"Use an after-sun to prolong the life of your tan. They're designed to work on real tans, but they work the same with fake ones. After three days, spray a fine layer of bronzing spray onto the skin." Sisley After Sun Care Tan Extender, $160.
May 23, 2013
Best Self Tanners
10 Commandments of Self-Tanning
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF SELF-TANNING
Self-tanning is a daunting task. Exfoliate, apply the product, put on the mitt, buff it in, go downwards—no! upwards—put on black, loose clothes, fall asleep smelling like a mix of flowers and old skin, only to wake up and realize that you missed a massive patch on the back of your legs and now you look like you suffer from some sort of bizarre skin disease. Nearly everyone has a self-tanning horror story, and it's easy to see why: Getting an even application and an all-over glow takes some serious work.
So cancel your dinner plans and set the DVR for your favorite shows: Monday's new summer evening activity is no longer a glass of rosé al fresco with your pals. It's tanning time. And since the art of the self tan is very noble and highly regarded, we knew we could only consult the very best. Enter James Read, tanner for Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and founder of an eponymous self-tan range at Net-a-Porter. Also, the lovely Fiona Locke of St. Tropez, who handles Olivia Wilde and Katharine McPhee. Then, Alyson Hogg, founder of the cult-favorite tan brand Vita Liberata that just arrived at Sephora. And, finally, Svetlana Feller of Spray di Solé, who's tanned LeAnn Rimes and Fergie.
The pros told us the ten vital commandments of self-tanning, and revealed the best self-tanners to fake a gorgeous, summer bronze. Click through the slideshow above and get glowing. By Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi)