A bronzed, glowing complexion is a beautiful look any time of year. In the colder months, it’s harder to rely on the sun for your tan glow, which isn’t a bad thing because the less time you spend out in the sun, the better. Self-tanner is a great way to help you get the sun-kissed glow you’re looking for at any time of year, without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays.
If you haven’t self-tanned before, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know, including all the right makeup and self-tanning products you’ll need to transform your skin right before your eyes. Take notes as we give you the rundown on how to achieve bronzed skin from head to toe without baking in the sun.
How Do I Get a More Even, Bronzed Tan?
The key to achieving a flawless, even tan lies in your preparation. Before you self-tan, it’s important that you take the proper steps to create a smooth base for your self-tanner to adhere to. If your self-tanner fades prematurely or gets blotchy almost immediately, it’s probably because you didn’t prep your skin correctly. Here are a few things you’ll want to do:
Exfoliate your skin with a scrub, an exfoliating mitt or a clean washcloth the day before you apply self-tanner. Focus on the drier areas of your body like your elbows and knees. If you have dry skin or dry patches, the self-tanner will cling to those areas and you may be left with blotchy, orange patches of color. For the face, use an exfoliating scrub, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser. Bring it down to your neck too, massaging it in circular motions to buff away any dead skin cells that your self-tanner could cling to.
Shave the day before you apply self-tanner, too. Shaving after you put on self-tanner will take off some of the color, and there’s a good chance you’ll be left with an uneven tan.
Moisturizing is so important after you’ve exfoliated and shaved, because if your skin is dry, your self-tanner isn’t going to last. After exfoliating, apply an even layer of body moisturizer, focusing on dry areas like your elbows, knees and hands. You can moisturize your body before you apply self-tanner, just do so a few hours in advance so the lotion has time to sink into your skin. If your skin still feels wet or tacky from the lotion, the self-tanner won’t adhere well.
If you do find that your face tan ends up a bit streaky or uneven, you can add some liquid highlighter to even out your complexion. Reach for L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer to get the glow you want. Apply it with your fingers all over your face, building it up on areas that need some extra glow (where your tanner falls short). You can also add a bit more on the high points of your face once you’ve applied your foundation and concealer or tinted serum. It’s super hydrating and blends smoothly even with powder products.
5 Tips to Help You Get Tan Skin Without the Sun
There’s more than one way to get bronzed-looking skin without the sun. Check out these five tips on how to do that without spending a ton of time or money.
1. Apply Self-Tanner to Your Body and Face
Having a tan and laying out in the sun seem like they go hand in hand, but with the right self-tanner, you can have glowing bronzed skin all year round — no sunbathing (or sun damage) necessary. Decide on a self-tanner and take the necessary prep steps to ensure you’ll have a seamless, streak-free glow — exfoliate, shave, and moisturize.
For a sun-kissed-looking complexion sans the harmful UV rays, this tanning water mist is infused with vitamin E and coconut water to boost hydration, and includes a non-comedogenic formula, which means you don’t have to worry about it clogging your pores. After spritzing it onto your complexion, a few hours later you’ll have healthy-looking, bronzed skin without orange tones or sticky textures.
How to use it: Spritz a cotton pad and swipe it across your face. For your neck and décolletege, hold the bottle six to eight inches from your face, spray the mist in horizontal motions, making sure to evenly distribute the product across your neck and chest.
Mix this tanning serum into your moisturizer before bed and wake up to bronzed, glowy skin. Yes — it’s actually that simple. The fragrance-free formula suits all skin types and the nice thing about this product is that you can create a completely customizable tan based on how many drops you add to your moisturizer.
How to use it: Grab a lightweight moisturizer, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream and add a few drop of your tanning serum. For a light sun-kissed-looking glow, add five to seven drops to a dime size amount of moisturizer and for a deeper bronze glow, add eight to 10 drops.
If you love the look of a natural, sun-kissed tan, we have a good feeling you’ll really enjoy this self-tanning water mousse. The lightweight foam goes on clear and develops into bronzed, natural-looking color within a few hours while providing the skin with a hydrating finish. The water-like formula is transfer-resistant, so there’s no need to worry about staining your clothes or sheets with self-tanner. Plus, we can’t forget to mention our favorite part — the fresh coconut fragrance that’s reminiscent of a tropical vacation.
How to use it: Use clean hands or a self-tanning mitt to smooth the mousse onto your skin, massaging it in circular motions.If you used your hands, wash them with soap and hot water immediately after use. Give the color four to eight hours to fully develop before showering.
If you want to achieve a bronzed glow without making a mess or needed other products, try these easy tanning wipes. Infused with vitamin E and gentle alpha hydroxy acids for smooth skin finish, each towelette is packed with the right amount of color to give you an ultra-smooth, streak-free and natural-looking tan. They’re perfect for on-the-go use and there’s no mitt required.
How to use it: Smooth the towelette over your entire body and sparingly over your knees, elbows, wrists and ankles. Wash your hands immediately after use and allow the self-tanner to develop for two to four hours before rinsing it off.
This self-tanning mist with a wide-angle applicator and quick-drying finish is perfect for a full body at-home spray tan. The continuous mist provides even application and streak-free bronzed color, plus it’s great for those hard-to-reach areas like your back and behind your knees.
How to use it: Hold the bottle at arm’s length (or about a foot), spraying your body in long, even strokes. Let the color develop and rinse eight hours later.
While this step won’t help you achieve a bronzed glow, it’s key to maintaining one and that’s half the battle, right? To maintain your tan, continue to apply lotion daily to keep your skin moisturized. Not only will this help your tan last longer, but it’ll help it fade more evenly, too. Self-tanner lasts for about a week to ten days so once that time has passed, you can start the process over again, beginning with exfoliating and shaving.
3. Use Bronzer
To level up the sun-kissed-looking glow you achieved with self-tanner, add bronzer to your makeup routine. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer works double-duty to add warmth and dimension to your beauty look and prevents your makeup from looking flat. Apply the powder on your cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose and chin for a bronzed, sculpted finish. You can also use it on your décolletage to give your shoulders and collarbone extra definition.
4. Use Pink-Orange Blush
A shade of pink blush that mimics flushed skin will help to elevate your tan. To get the look sans the sun damage, reach for a cream blush, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip and Cheek Tint in Ethereal Blush. The pinky-orange hue will give you the rosy, flushed look that always follows after you’ve spent some time in the sun.
5. Use Liquid Highlighter
As we mentioned earlier, liquid highlighter can help you cover up a streaky faux tan. Well, it can also help you fake a tan if you’d prefer to skip self-tanner altogether. The aforementioned True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer can be used as a primer, highlighter and offers moisture to the skin. It’s formulated with glycerin and shea butter to hydrate the skin while giving it a luminous, lit-from-within glow.
We love that you can use it under makeup and all over your face and décolletage, making it a well-rounded pick in your quest for an all-over bronzed complexion. Try the shade Deep if you have a light to medium skin tone and want to contour, or if you have an olive to dark skin tone and want a true bronzy tan.
Photographer: Nelson Huang, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Producer: Becca Solovay, Beauty Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Digi Tech: Jacky Jiang, Photo Assistant: Tyler Andrews, Models: Mecca Allah and Erin Williams
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