Bronzing 101: Bring out your glow

Bronzing blunders
Tips from body bronzing expert - Victoria's Secret makeup artist Linda Hay

The secrets to your best bronze:

Everyone always recommends to exfoliate before applying a sunless tanning lotion. Yes, it's important, but it is equally important not to overdo it. Over-exfoliating will not only irritate the skin, but cause the skin to dry out and lose its natural luster. Under-exfoliating will cause the sunless tanning lotion to stick to the dead skin, leaving the skin looking streaky, and blotchy. The perfect amount of exfoliating happens once a day and doesn't rub skin raw. My advice is to take a textured (but not rough!) washcloth into the shower once a day and go over the body once or twice, lightly, with a body wash or soap.

A natural look / choosing a color
For a natural, radiant glow, I recommend gradually tanning the skin, mimicking the process of natural sun tanning. To do this, I apply a "cocktail" (about 50/50) of a daily glow moisturizer with a sunless tanning lotion. Mixing a cocktail of two products is the best solution for a customized self-tanning process. Adding a lighter moisturizer to a tanning lotion helps keep skin hydrated and makes the sunless tan last longer. A tanner-moisturizer cocktail also reduces the chance of streaking and allows you to customize the color and depth of the tan to best suit your complexion. For my palest models, I'll add more moisturizer to make a 60/40 concoction to make the bronze glow look more natural. Let the color develop for about 10 minutes and go back for round two, or three, until you get the color that is ideal for you. Most of the newer brands of sunless tanners have brand new technology with more natural, brown actives to avoid that "orange" look that was so prevalent when sunless tanners first hit the market. This gradual tanning process is ideal for first-timers or for the faint of heart who want to make sure they won't get orange instead of bronze.

No more streaking / Application 101
My biggest trick when applying the 50/50 cocktail is the motion I use with my hands on the body. Most people tend use an up-and-down motion, which leaves the long streak lines you see on the legs. When I am backstage at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and I know the whole world will be watching the models on the runway, streaking is unacceptable!

That said, I use a circular motion with both hands. The circular motion allows color to really blend into the skin and every inch of skin gets covered. This motion is just like how makeup artists blend eye shadow on the eyes from lash to crease, making color look smooth and natural.

I use the sunless tanning lotion for the body, and blend it all the way up to the décolleté. Then I take a sunless tanning lotion that is just for the face and blend from forehead to the chest - all in a circular motion.

When you're all bronzed and beautiful, it's important to add a pop of pink blush to the apples of the cheek so the skin looks fresh, healthy, and multi-dimensional. I add a light dusting of shimmer powder down the front of the legs, arms, and chest to reflect light and make skin glisten.

Getting the "tricky" areas - knees/elbows/back
The sure-fire way to botch your bronze is by having an obvious, uneven application appear on knees and elbows. Only apply one layer on the knees, elbows and back of knees. These areas are already naturally darker than the other parts of the body, and the creased skin here holds color much easier. Never bronze directly into your armpits as they sweat, and the color will wear off, and could potentially streak down the sides of your body or stain your clothes.

Another big bronzing challenge is reaching areas such as the back. It is best to seek help from a friend. Have an at home spa day with a girlfriend and trade applications or make it a fun activity with your boyfriend! If that's not possible, use a thin, long towel, apply the 50/50 cocktail onto the towel and rubbing it on the back. You should be able to reach the sides of your back, just the center is where you'll need some coverage. Check for any missed spots and use an aerosol bronzing mist for any touch-ups.

Covering imperfections / Looking thinner with self-tanner
The biggest benefit of self-tanning is that it's a great way to hide veins, cellulite, and make the arms and legs look more toned and defined (it's no secret why body builders are so tan!). After skin is all bronzed, I take a shimmer powder with a subtle combination of different sized and colored sparkles. With a fluffy brush, I dust a line down the middle of the leg from the top of the thigh to the ankle, front and back. I repeat the same process with the arms, front and back, but never the sides! The sparkles serve as a "mirror" to reflect light. When concentrated down the center, it gives a streamlined illusion to create the look of a longer, slimmer, and contoured leg or arm.

The result is a gorgeous, glowing, fresh and sexy look for spring and summer!

Linda Hay's summer beauty tips

Tips for sexy, summer Legs:

1. Apply a "cocktail" (about 50/50) of Daily Glow Moisturizer and Gleaming Self Tan Tint from our Bare Bronze line to freshly exfoliated legs. A healthy sun-kissed glow is the foundation of sexy Angel legs, and mixing a cocktail of two products takes care of two necessities (hydrating and safe tanning) in one easy application. It also reduces the chance of streaking.

2. Apply a light application of Bare Bronze Body-Perfecting Spray to finish your glowing tan and conceal all imperfections.

3. Next is the shimmer powder. A light dusting of silver sparkly powder will both warm and highlight the skin, and a combination of these colors works for all skin types. I love our Bare Bronze Sun Dust Powder Brush Shimmering Body Powder, which we used backstage at the 2007 VS Fashion Show. The finished effect is a pair of beautiful, sexy, glowing, Angel legs… but we haven't finished yet.

4. The icing on the cake is my favorite product. Sexy Little Things Touch Me Gently Airbrush Moisturizer is a spray lotion that immediately brings skin to life using a subtle combination of different sized and colored sparkles. I spray a line down the middle of the leg from the top of the thigh to the ankle, front and back. This creates the illusion of a slimmer, longer leg, contouring from top to toe.

More summer tips:

Bronzing Oils are a great way to fake a sexy glow. The Bare Bronze Shimmering Body Oil is fantastic because it contains Vitamins A, C and E for antioxidant protection and Aloe Butter for intense hydration. This is a must-have product that creates the dewy, radiant glow seen on the runway at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

The best way to combat sweat is to make sure you have plenty of powder! The first step is to really cleanse the skin and then apply a light moisturizer so you have a clean slate to work with. Then apply concealer where needed. And, if you have great skin to begin with, you can skip the foundation all together and just powder, using Very Sexy Mosaic Bronzer, to ensure that everything looks smooth and gorgeous.

In humid environments, blotting sheets are also a secret weapon on a hot summer day; they absorb sweat and oil without moving the makeup. The Beauty Rush oil blotting sheets are amazing - the durable, silky material doesn't break down when you try to use them when you are sweating. And, it's best to keep powder to a light dusting. When it's very hot too much powder can pancake quickly and create an uneven complexion. Always blot before you dust with the powder and never swipe, only dab.

Finally - a big trend for summer is a pinky/peachy tone for the lips, this color really enhances bronzed, glowing skin. I love the Very Sexy Makeup Lip Gloss - they are not sticky or tacky and come in amazing shades - Rumor is a gorgeous coral I used on all the girls in the Fashion Show. It truly flatters everyone.

About Linda Hay:

Linda Hay is the lead makeup artist for Victoria's Secret; responsible for making the world's sexiest women - the Victoria's Secret Angels - look even sexier at photo shoots and on the runway at the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Linda's makeup artistry is in constant demand by top fashion photographers, magazines, and celebrities for red-carpet appearances.

Thank you to Hotel Del Sol for providing the location for this segment.

Hotel Del Sol
3100 Webster St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

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