I have to admit, whether pale or sun kissed complexions are in season, I always feel better with a nice glow and used to go to extremes to achieve a tan, yes, even in February. Before my days in the beauty industry, I would lay in a tanning bed daily and bake my skin so it was crisp and leather like. Now when I look at the crows feet that have already begun to appear around my eyes and think of the damage I've done to my skin, I shutter, but am proud to announce that I am now a reformed tanorexic.
Ever since I weaned off of my addiction I jumped onto a new one to satisfy my craving... spray tan. Although I was skeptical at first I find if you take the appropriate steps to prepare and care for your healthy spray tan, it's a win win situation all around. Jamie Ahn, President of Townhouse Spa and Acqua Beauty Bar in NYC gave me the 411 on how to maximize your spray or self tan experience.
The key to a long lasting spray or self tan is smooth, even skin so exfoliation is a must. Use an exfoliating cloth that can air dry or a gel based product on a mit. Product alone isn't enough for a deep exfoliation. Pay special attention to your ankles, knees, elbows and wrists. If you're preparing for an event, get a manicure and pedicure prior to your tan. It will help to keep things even.
After exfoliation, dry off and don't put your regular moisturizer on. Professionals use gloves when applying tanner at the salon. You can pick up a vinyl pair at your local drugstore. For even distribution, start with a dollop the size of a quarter in your palm and apply to larger areas first. Jamie suggests using Xen-Tan for a very natural color. Keep applying product with measurement. Do the tops of your thighs down to your ankles and the top of your shoulders down to your wrists. This way you're left with little tanner at the end. Squeeze just a dime size into your hand for your entire face and treat it the same way as your body. For your hands and feet use a self tanner that has a spray applicator and lightly go over them at the end.
Make sure you wait at least six hours after a spray or self tan until you take a shower. Jamie recommends doing it before bed, getting eight hours of sleep, and showering in the morning. To prolong your glowing results, use a moisturizer that acts as a tan extender daily. They have DHA in them that helps make the tan last and keep it from fading unevenly. Normally your tan will last three to five days but this can make it last over a week.
Thanks to Acqua Beauty Bar, I stay glowing all year round sans premature aging and the risk of skin cancer!