Spray Tan – Discover the Best Self Tanner

05May10

Still seeking self-tanning perfection? Victoria’s Secret bronzing guru Meredith Baraf and St. Tropez celebrity tanning expert Fiona Locke reveal how to get a natural-looking faux glow.

Code Orange! Avoid Looking Like a Carrot

Most self-tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless sugar that interacts with the top layer of skin to darken. According to Locke, who works with Olivia Wilde, Katharine McPhee, and the cast of Dancing with the Stars, an orange tint is often due to an over-saturation of DHA—which can occur when you layer on too much product or use a self-tanner with a percentage of DHA too high for your skin type. “Some people can tolerate higher levels of DHA than others, based on their natural tone and skin pH,” says Locke. “I have certain clients where I can put a tremendous amount of product on and they absorb it like a sponge and never get too dark or turn a strange color. Others, I’ll do one light layer and they’re ultratan.” To determine how a self-tanning solution will work with your skin, Locke suggests applying a small amount to a test area before covering your entire body.

Besides avoiding the urge to slather on or spray loads of product, Locke says choosing the right formula also determines how your tan will appear. “Go with a reputable brand, one that uses a lower percentage of DHA so that you can build your color accordingly,” she says. Bronze-seekers should also go for products infused with erythrulose, a sugar sourced from raspberries. The combination of DHA and erythrulose in a sunless tanning product is believed to yield longer-lasting, cosmetically-pleasing color. Some self-tanners, like those found in the St. Tropez collection, also contain green pigment to help counteract any orange.

Pre-Tanning Prep: Create the Perfect Canvas

“The most important thing to do is exfoliate,” says Baraf, who gives Victoria’s Secret models Alessandra Ambrosio, Marisa Miller, and Miranda Kerr their photo-ready glow. To get the smoothest, streak-free color possible, Baraf emphasizes the necessity of applying self-tanner immediately after exfoliating: “The outer layer of the epidermis, which is what the self-tanner interacts with, is composed of dead skin cells that only last seven to 10 days before they shed. You want to make sure you have an even layer of dead skin cells so that they all tan and slough off together.” If you don’t properly exfoliate “some of the skin will begin peeling in a day or two,” adds Baraf, which can result in a splotchy tan job.

via Spray Tan – Discover the Best Self Tanner on ELLE.com.

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