Five tricks to self-tanning

By Brielle Urciuoli
Correspondent

Our summer tans have come and gone like the leaves on the trees. While indoor tanning is expensive, bad for your health and can get a tad too sweaty, there are other alternatives for those of you itching to have a healthy glow all throughout the holiday season. Gradual tanning lotions are the best way to go. Here’s how to get the most out of your “fake bake”:

1. Choose the right formula: This should be the obvious first step, but it is often the most ignored, causing people to shy away from the tanning lotion experience. Lighter-skinned people who tend to burn in the summer should go with a much lighter formula than those who tan easily and can get away with a “medium to dark” lotion. Read the labels carefully to avoid turning orange!

2. Exfoliate: Creating a fresh, even layer of skin before applying self-tanner will help the tan last longer and will also prevent streaks.

3. Don’t expect overnight miracles: DHA is the sugar in self-tanners that, when introduced with the top layer of skin, causes a chemical reaction and slight color change (don’t worry, it’s totally safe). The change is mild — and takes time — so don’t give up after only a few applications if you don’t see results. If you’re looking for immediate results, try a tinted moisturizer instead!

4. Don’t believe the “stink-free” formula: It is tempting to apply tanning lotion before a date or holiday party, but please refrain. While many tanners boast an “odor-free formula,” they are most likely lying. DHA is what gives you both the tan and the stink, so try applying it before bed, running errands or going to the gym.

Self-tanning can help you keep that natural summer glow and will assure you that you won't end up looking like 'Tanning Mom.' (AP Photo)

5. Don’t forget your face: A tan body is great, but it would look out of place with a completely pale face. While tanning lotions are not the worst things to put on your face, they surely are not the best, so if you want to use the same thing for both body and face, try mixing half tanning lotion with half gentle moisturizer. Companies also have specific self-tanners for your face. But lotions and potions aside, a great bronzing powder will always do the trick.