Q: My skin is approaching Vampire Diaries pale status. Any suggestions for how I can look as if I just got back from Bali even though beach season feels forever away?
A: We feel you! It’s common to crave your August tan when your winter complexion is looking dull and lackluster.
First and foremost, we want to emphasize that the tanning bed is not the solution to getting your summer glow back. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted from a tanning bed can be up to three times more intense than the UV rays from natural sunlight increasing your risk of all skin cancers. While it may sound appealing, the tanning bed is not the way to go. Instead, you can achieve a bronzed aura with a little clever makeup application, a new blouse and, of course, spray tan.
Bronzer is a life-saver when it comes to getting that sun-kissed look. Because it’s winter, skip your usual bronzer for a softer compact that has a little shimmer like Smashbox’s Fusion Soft Lights bronzer in Baked Starburst. (A too-tan face that doesn’t match your neck in the middle of January is a dead-giveaway that you’re faking your glow.) For perfect bronzer application every time, just remember the number 3: Using a bronzing brush, begin your application at the middle of your forehead, swopping the brush down your temple and around to the apple of your cheek. Without picking up the brush, back-track over your cheek and trace the brush down along your jawline to the middle of your chin.
Brighten up your wardrobe and you could brighten up your complexion too. Look for blouses, necklaces or earrings in white, tangerine or coral orange and yellow. Worn near your face, these colors will immediately make your skin look tanner.
When it comes to getting a full-body tan, fake-tan is the best way to go. For foolproof application, try Origins’ The Great Pretender self-tanner. The sugar-derived DHA (the tanning agent) interacts with your skin’s proteins for the most natural looking fake-tan.
The day before you apply though, scrub down and exfoliate your skin; lingering dead skin cells cause that unappealing streaky and scaly look that has made people shy away from fake-tan lotion in the first place. Hours before you’re planning to apply your self-tanner, slather on some regular moisturizer to prep your skin. Come application time, apply the fake-tan lotion in small, circular strokes to minimize streaking. Wash your hands thoroughly after application and, if you have some splotches, dab nail polish remover with a cotton ball to the affected area.
With a little clever application and tricks of the eye go a long way when summer feels like… well, a long ways away. It may still be freezing out but you look like a bronze goddess!