Friday, September 26

Self Tanning for Brides (And Everyone Else)

OK, it's pretty standard fare, brides like to be tanned. Most do anyway. Something about wearing white and being all professionally made up can make a lady look a little washed out unless you're beautiful pale peaches and cream.

I wasn't wearing white, but I was wearing makeup, and the colour of my dress (labeled 'Oatmeal' by the designer) though flattering on me, did make me feel a little washed out. Plus, I had my entire back visible so I wanted it to be a pretty back (I totally got my first ever back zit the week of the wedding, not kidding).

For my first foray into self tanning I considered the three options: go to a tanning salon and get my fake bake on, get a spray tan, or try one of the vastly mind boggling at home options.

The first option was immediately ruled out due to cancer. Not a fan. The fact is that tanning beds have been correlated with an increased risk of skin cancer. I know everything causes cancer these days but I wasn't interested in improving my odds. 

In the car on the way home from the spray tan admiring my new predicament.
With that in mind I chose to try a spray tan at a reputable local salon where they use a low chemical formula that reacts to each persons natural skin colour to create a perfect non-orangey result. I went for my spray tan two weeks before the wedding so there would be time for it to fade if it was awful, and I could re-do it if it worked out. The experience was a bit weird. It was my first time and being all naked while someone sprays you down with a sticky cold liquid is very odd. After the spraying was done I stood there like an idiot for a long time before I felt less sticky, then headed home. At home I had to stay far away from my puppy so she wouldn't lick my tan off! I was supposed to keep it on for up to eight hours so I ended up having to sleep in it. I fell asleep with my hand on my chest and woke up with a hand print on my boobs! After showering I was less than impressed with the result. For 30 bucks, I might consider doing it again (early in the morning preferably so I don't have to sleep in it), but I had a big problem with streaking and gaps in the colour. After scrubbing out my streaks I looked pretty good for about three days, then it started to fade and it faded completely unevenly! I looked super patchy! Overall, unimpressed. Definitely not wedding worthy.

The patchy second day of my spray tan.

That meant I had to go shopping. I headed to Sephora and ended up purchasing Vita Liberata Rapid Tan Mousse. The kit came with a mitt for applying the mousse, and it was a special 'choose your colour' formula that you leave on for one to three hours (or more) depending on the level of darkness you want. 

Nick helped me apply the mousse (he was in charge of my back) but it was incredibly easy to get an even coverage. Much easier then spraying! I loved the mitt application.

The first time I left the tanner on for one hour and showered only to emerge the exact same colour as before! I reapplied and left it on for the full three hours (I should note that after showering I again felt like I had emerged the same colour, but the colour continued to develop more subtly over the next few hours so don't be discouraged right away when you wash off). This time I was extremely happy. It looked natural, even and it faded evenly as well. I would highly recommend taking this approach to self tanning. I was so happy with the product, it even lasted a full week before it faded.

No Streaks!

Using Self Tanner:
  • Look for a mousse formula that will go on evenly and be easy to see any bare spots.
  • Exfoliate and moisturize your elbows, ankles and knees before beginning. Start with shaved legs.
  • Use a mitt to get that perfect even coverage.
  • Get some help with the hard to reach back region!  
  • Don't be discouraged right away when you wash off your colour guide, it will continue to develop after the guide is rinsed off. 
  • If you end up with streaks, use an exfoliating body wash, loofa or cloth to scrub away any darker bits. 
  • To maintain your colour, moisturize frequently and try to wash and exfoliate in the shower evenly all over (shaving your legs exfoliates, so your legs will fade faster then the rest of you if you don't give your whole body a gentle scrub). 
I hope this helps someone even a little, we have six months of winter to look forward to in Edmonton and I might try tanning again when the shroud of winters palor begins to become opressive.

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