Your summer long weekend at the beach may have been a success—and the weird tan lines your new strappy one-piece swimsuit gave you is proof. While time is the only thing that will truly make your uneven tan disappear, waiting isn't an option when you're expected to wear a strapless bridesmaid dress at a wedding in a few days.
In the meantime, makeup can help conceal the stripes so skin looks more even. "The biggest difficulty that comes with covering up tan likes is tonality," says NYC-based hair and makeup artist Abraham Sprinkle. "Often we think a foundation can cover in a darker color, but often it looks artificial. A natural tan can have a lot of orange or yellow undertone depending one natural skin tone." If this is the case, a darker makeup shade can look dirty on fair skin.
When using makeup on tan lines, Sprinkle recommends using a formula that's for face and body such as MAKE UP FOR EVER's Water Blend Face & Body Foundation ($43; sephora.com). "These have less emollients in them so it avoids spreading," he says. Depending on how deep your tan is, choose a shade that has a deep golden or orange base. Apply it in thin layers using a wet BeautyBlender for the most natural finish.
Sprinkle also likes using a portable airbrush makeup device such as Temptu ($195; nordstrom.com) because it won't move once its sprayed on. "I would avoid anything like a BB cream or tinted moisturizer if you're going to be at an event like a wedding. There's lots of hugging at weddings and you don't want to be the one to ruin someone's dress or blazer due to makeup transfer," he says.
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Another way to hide uneven tan lines is with more self tanner. "Self tanners have come a long way, and yes, there are many formulas that can aid in blending," says Sprinkle. "It's all about being careful in the overlapping of product as it can actually emphasize the difference and make the already tan skin darker." He recommends using a tanning towelette like Kate Somerville's Somerville360 Tanning Towelettes ($48; sephora.com) and precisely applying it to the lighter areas.
Next, he recommends looking at the overall effect and following up with a cream formula like Vita Liberata's Body Blur Instant HD Finish ($45; sephora.com) to blend the two together for seamless coverage, much like you would use concealer and then follow with foundation when applying facial makeup.