the faux-glow

{ The Rub sugar scrub by Splurge | Clinique Self Sun in Light/Medium | Simone France Body Glow }

My collection of sunless tanning horror stories is almost as large as the volume of kitchen beautician nightmares involving drugstore boxed hair color and self-cut bangs. I’m naturally fair-skinned, and I spent my teenage years and most of my 20’s doing everything I could to bronze up. Including a longterm affair with tanning beds, for which I’m deeply regretful and pray I don’t have to pay for later (both figuratively and literally) in the dermatologist’s office.

A few years ago, I decided to just embrace the pale and work with what the good Lord gave me. But, when an occasion calls for bathing suits or short-shorts I’ll take all the help I can get; and a little glow goes a long way in cooling my burning hatred for bikinis.

If you’ve used self-tanners before, you know the “dark side” of getting, well, dark. No one wants to look like an oompa loompa — except, evidently, Snooki Polizzi circa 2009 — and we’ve all woken up with stained palms or feet the morning after application. I’m all too familiar with the disappointment of going to sleep looking awesome, and waking up to an overnight fake bake disaster.

A few weeks ago, in preparation for a beach trip, I picked up a bottle of my favorite tanning product, Clinique Self Sun in Light/Medium and went to work on my faux-glow. Clinique Self Sun Pros: It gives my fair skin a natural touch of color, it’s buildable so I can control the level of my tan, it doesn’t stain my clothes or sheets after it dries, it fades evenly, and the tell-tale “self-tan smell” is really minimal compared to other products I’ve tried.

I think the trick to getting the most out of any self-tanning product lies in the prep. I like to apply the product in the evening so it can fully develop while I’m sleeping, and then I wash it off the next morning. I apply it every night until I reach the color I’m happy with, and then reapply every few days for maintenance as long as I want my “tan” to last. 

Here’s my (slightly obsessive) self-tanning ritual in three steps: 

1. Scrub-a-dub-dub. Exfoliation is key numero uno in getting the best, most even results and avoiding stained knees, ankles, and elbows. I like to soak in the bath for a bit (bonus: relaxation time!) and then scrub down with a natural sugar scrub. The good folks at Splurge skincare sent me their sugar scrub, The Rub, and I’m in love. It sloughs off all dry skin, and moisturizes at the same time with natural oils. I’ve already gone through one jar! I follow that up by shaving my legs, and finish by gently pumicing my feet, ankles, knees, and elbows.

2. Moisturize. Dry areas — like knees, ankles, feet, and elbows — tend to soak up more of the tanning product, which cause dark stains. While exfoliating goes a long way in preventing this, adding a light moisturizer is an extra insurance policy. Rub a little lotion into these areas and let it fully absorb before moving on.

3. Apply. My friend, Terra, wrote an excellent step-by-step application post using the same product on her blog, Stylish White Female a while ago. I follow it to the letter, but add in a few extra hand-washings between sections for good measure. I love that the Clinique product has a built-in bronzer so you can see where it’s going. Self-tanning is not one of those things that’s made more fun by surprises. {Hello, tiger stripes!}

Author: Keira Lennox

I'm a small town lady from the sunshine state with an affinity for bookstores, beauty counters and unfussy style. I spend my days running my flower shop, and my nights blogging about what I love and what I wear. (Or watching Netflix and drinking wine.)

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