I have tried pretty much every fake tan product out there. In high school, I took a few spins down at the tanning salon in the spray tanks, but I found that process to be far to expensive since the tan only looked good for a few days. After that, I looked pretty scary until I could exfoliate it all off. Now, I only use fake tanning lotion on my legs, and I'm much happier with the end result.
How to achieve a balanced fake tan:On the night I apply the tanning lotion, I shower first, exfoliate my legs with St. Ives Body Wash Exfoliating Purify and shave. Then I pat my legs dry with the towel, apply light lotion to my knees and ankles, and go on with my nightly routine until my legs are completely dry.
Once they are dry, I put on my disposable gloves, which you can find at any drugstore. Make sure they are tight fitting as you do not want them to crease as you apply. I have found this is the only way to ensure my hands come out spotless after the process.
My favorite tanning product is L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer. I want to stress that I have tried most drugstore and high end tanners and this is pretty much the only one I will continue to repurchase. I don't even like the other L'Oreal tanners. Just this one. If they discontinue it, I will be devastated!
With gloves on, I squeeze the lotion into my hands, rub them together and apply it to my legs. Since you can see the pigment of this lotion, it's a lot easier to avoid streaks. I basically concentrate on the bottom half of my legs first and work my way up. I try not to apply too much to my knees, and I rub the lotion into my skin until it feels dry. Then I squeeze more into the gloves and continue the process until both legs are covered. After that, I carefully remove the gloves and wash my hands are wrists in case any product made it's way onto undesired places.
If I have work or school the next day, I will shower again before because I can't stand the fake tanner smell. However, the longer you can leave the first application on before submerging yourself in water, the better. I repeat this entire process every three to five nights to maintain the tan. On the nights I do not repeat the tanner, I apply body oil to my legs while they are still wet in the shower. I've found when my legs are well moisturized, it helps maintain the tan for longer. My favorite body oil right now is The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil.
Sometimes I still use Olay Quench Plus Touch of Sun Body Lotion (Medium to Dark) on my arms and chest during the summer, but honestly, I've never been able to stand the smell of any fake tanner, so it's hard for me to apply it near my face. The scent of the Olay lotion is the least repulsive to me :)
I hope this was helpful for my fellow tan skin challenged people! If you have a favorite tanning product, please share it below so I can check it out!
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