Beauty News

Guide to: self tan

If you've got perfect alabaster skin then why worry about tanning at all? Your complexion will work beautifully with the vintage-inspired fashion around this season. But if you want bare legs with bronze

If you’ve got perfect alabaster skin then why worry about tanning at all?

Your complexion will work beautifully with the vintage-inspired fashion around this season. But if you want bare legs with bronze skin this summer then here’s what you need to know:

How they work

  • All self-tanners contain a substance called DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which causes a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the surface layers of the skin, making it go brown. DHA only affects the outermost cells of the skin.

  • A small number of people lack the required reactors in their skin, so self-tanners don’t work for them at all.

  • Usually you’ll see some results after an hour and the tan will last until the dead skin cells rub off – generally five to seven days. You can prolong the effect by applying the product again a couple of days after the initial application.

  • How dark a product makes your skin depends on how much DHA it contains.

How to tan

  • Prepping the skin is important, because if it’s dry and rough it’ll “grab” at the colour, resulting in a blotchy tan. So exfoliate first and wash off any remaining product with a soap-free cleanser.

  • Apply the tan lightly to dry skin using vertical then horizontal strokes and blending with your fingertips. Start from your ankles and work up so you don’t get lines on the upper part of your body when you bend over. The wrists, elbows, ankles and knees are all places where it’s easy to get blotches and streaks, so apply it extra lightly in these areas and blend well. Wash your hands immediately after application, paying particular attention to your cuticles. Alternatively, you can wear latex gloves while you’re applying fake tan. Allow the product to dry before putting on clothes.

What to use

Self-tans come in all sorts of different formulas. The trickiest to use are the airbrush sprays. ooisturisers and lotions are simpler and help to smoothe and condition the skin.

Gels work well for oilier skins, while mousses are super-blendable. And anything tinted tends to be easier to use because you can see where you’ve gone with them.

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories