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You Glow, Girl! Secrets to a Streak-Free Sunless Tan

Thursday, August 07, 2014
There are many reasons to mourn the end of summer, but the threat of ashen, winter-chapped skin is chief among them.

Not ready to face a ghostly complexion just yet? Neither are we.

To keep our pallor at bay, we consulted the experts. Here, they offer tried-and-true tips to maintain the appearance of a summer glow.

Be Gentle

Meredith Fish, who founded Brownberry, a salon and product line that specializes in the art of the spray tan, recommended that wannabe golden girls lightly exfoliate before applying self-tanner.

"The actual activation is happening between [the product and] your epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. If you're not working with the outermost layer, it's not going to last as long," she explained.

Of her preferred exfoliation technique, Fish said: "My favorite is just using a wash cloth with a really hydrating soap. You want to be careful not to irritate your skin or dry it out, which sometimes people end up doing, because they're just so ferociously determined to exfoliate."

Christy Cella, the vice president of education at Clarins Group and a "self-tanning client of Clarins for 18 years," agreed. After stressing the importance of exfoliation to eliminate unsightly dry patches, she, too, encouraged users to moisturize.

"People always go, 'Why do I need to moisturize?' The fact is if your skin already has a bit of slippage [from lotion], a self-tanner will glide on more effortlessly," she said. "It just makes the tan look more natural and you're less likely to have any mistakes."

Think Ahead

Erin Griffin, a makeup artist at Tarte Cosmetics, has told clients to apply product the day before they want to see results.

"[Y]ou want to ensure the product fully absorbs into your skin and has enough time to full develop a natural-looking color," she told ABC News. "When using Tarte's Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner, I always suggest avoiding any activities such as exercising, showering or shaving, for at least eight hours after you've applied the tanner."

Lay It on Thick

According to Fish, the key to superlative sunless tanning is a willingness to "go to town!"

"You're better off going back over a spot, if you think you missed it...than being cautious where you spray," Fish said. "You just really want to get every spot -- every nook and cranny. Be as thorough as possible."

For a foolproof tan, Griffin added, "always ... apply the product in long, even strokes as opposed to circular motions."

Nothing Lasts Forever

Like a "real" tan, a faux glow is temporary. To extend its effects, Cella said to moisturize regularly: "Body oils are a great way to keep your skin hydrated and supple."

At Brownberry, Fish said she "would never want to deter a customer from going swimming, but the longer you soak the more quickly [your tan is] going to fade." Be ready to reapply, she added.

Fading Gracefully

Of course, no matter how we cling to bronzed skin and the season with which we associate it, cooler temperatures will prevail.

When it does, Cella advised users to apply tanner less frequently and consider products like Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, which they can mix into moisturizer for a more subtle tint.

"You don't want to look like you just got back from Tahiti in January," Fish said. "But I think it's always nice to have a little sun-kissed glow. It's definitely youthful looking. It's definitely healthy looking."

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