The old story goes that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk. And that glass of milk is going to remind him of a song, which will remind him of the Jonas Brothers, and then he’ll want to visit New Jersey, or something like that. Who can remember. (If you can remember, remind me.) The point is that one thing triggers another, causing a chain reaction of events until the mouse is finally — finally — satiated.
I mean, he’s very high maintenance for a rodent.
But the same exact thing happens to me while I’m shopping online, and after reading Mattie’s story about her spray tan, it reminded me that I forgot to get mine for this weekend. Then it reminded me I need a new body scrub, and that meant a new loofah, and then a new lotion, and then it all spiraled….
Yes, the weather’s going to be shit, but still, I demand to be bronzed. With less than 24 hours to subtly brown myself, zero appointments available at Benefit (best spray tan award in my book if you have one near you), and despite my own self-described D.I.Y anxiety, I’m going to have to do this myself. Who’s with me?
So first thing’s first I’m the realest. Second thing’s first is we need to PREP. OUR. SKIN. If you don’t prep, you will be sorry. I apologize for threatening you but if you skip this step you’ll be threatening me later on when you look like a tiger and not in a good way. How do we prep? EXFOLIATION NATION.
If you wax, do it a day before, if you shave, do it right before applying tanner. Two super important notes: 1) shaving is exfoliating, so skip the scrub where you’ve shaved otherwise your legs will feel like they have a UTI. 2) Skip anything oil-based. Oil and faux tanner have drama with each other, and the oil will lesson the tan’s effect.
After you’ve scrubbed, dry off completely and apply lotion to the bottoms of your feet, your hands, and I what I like to call the Alien Areas: aka, your weenuses, the creepy bendy spot between heel and ankle, and your knees.
HERE IS SOMETHING I DO: I take a towel and wipe the lotion off my knees right after applying. That way only a little tan absorbs there — you don’t want it to look like you tanned with knee pads on, after all — but because it’s a dry area you want to make sure it’s hyper moisturized. Dryness = orange-u-glad-it’s-too-cold-to-wear-shorts-yet.
Now we tan. Never, ever, tan without a mit. This sponge glove will be your new skin color’s BFF because it offers even-application and eliminates orange paws. PRO TIP: stick your hand in a sandwich baggie, then put it inside the mit because often, a little solution will filter through.
As far as product goes, I swear by San Tropez. I use the foam when I need an emergency, immediate tan. I use the spray to maintain, or when I just want a little “glow.” (One layer, though guys. All you need is one layer.) The best part about San Tropez is when people ask, “Whoa, you wheredya get that tan?” You can be like, “Tan Tropez.” And it’s not a lie!
If you’re freaked about tanning, Jergins is ye old standby, and I honestly believe them when they say their new formula smells less. Less. The evil truth is that all tanners smell a bit like bread, but a lot of people like bread, so.
If you’ve tanned the night before, I recommend taking an AM shower. You’ll see some tanner run off — don’t worry, that’s the top coat. And besides, if you’re as white as I am, you want to look believably tan, not tangerine.
Once you’re officially sunkissed (but not sun-slobbered if you’ve followed my instructions!), a light touch with the makeup is key. All you need (if anything) is a tinted moisturizer, a dual cheek/lip tint, maybe a touch of powder bronzer (go easy on this, Baxter) and waterproof mascara.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that a faux tan does not eliminate you from getting burned.
Sunscreen is still your friend, and hopefully, if your tan turned out well, then so am I.