Bronze Beauty: The Best Self-Tanning Tips for Every Skin Tone
Getting your summer glow on (sans the sun) can be tricky territory, and not all self-tanning products are created equal. Selecting the right formula for your complexion is the first step to achieving a natural-looking finish, and the proper application will save you from embarrassing mishaps like telltale streaks and unsightly orange hues (we’ve all been there!).
To ease your quest for the perfect bronze, we quizzed self-tanning gurus and came up with the best tips, products and techniques to suit every skin tone. If you’re fair like Cara Delevingne, for example, St. Tropez skin finishing expert Sophie Evans recommends taking a gradual approach. "Break yourself in gently to self-tanning and get used to seeing yourself with a glow," says Evans. "Use a gradual self-tanner at first, which are formulated to take you one to two shades darker. Apply every few days, and once you have your desired color, you can use a true self-tanner." Ready to go bronze? Click through to our guide below.
If You Have Fair Skin
Fair Skin: What You Need
"Break yourself in gently to self-tanning and get used to seeing yourself with a glow," says Evans. "Use a gradual self-tanner at first,which are formulated to take you one to two shades darker. Apply every few days, and once you have your desired color, you can use a true self-tanner." We're obsessed with La Mer's gradual tanner ($90; cremedelamer.com), which can also be used on your face to impart an all-over even tone. If you're not ready to dive into the world of sunless tanners just yet, opt for a temporary body bronzer like Gleam by Melanie Mills ($40; gleambymelaniemills.com). "The Bronze or Deep Gold shades are perfect for an instant tanned look, but Light Gold is great if you've had too much sun and have a little redness," Mills says.
If You Have Medium Skin
Medium Skin: What You Need
Although your complexion already holds somewhat of a tan, a too-orange effect can also be apparent if you choose the wrong formula, or if your self-tanner reacts to a product already layered on your skin. "Make sure you used basic products like body wash and scrubs that are mineral oil free, and do not leave residue behind on the skin," says Evans. "Certain products used with a self-tan can interfere with the overall color." Because the St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil ($50; sephora.com) is so hydrating, you can take the minimal route on the lotion and apply only where needed. We also love the natural sun-kissed effect Guerlain's Terracotta Sunless Gel ($55; nordstrom.com) imparts, not to mention how easy it is to blend.