The sun is shining, the weather is warm, the beach beckons...and you're white as a sheet. But before you reach for that bottle of sweet tan salvation, some quick preparation is in order, lest you emerge looking more like a striped animal than a bronzed goddess. You'll need:
- non-oily body scrub
- a loofah
- a razor and a non-oily shaving aid
- plain body lotion (no tanner!)
The key to an even application of tanner is an even surface, so before you get to work, hop in the shower with some scrub, a loofah, and your razor. This is not the time for that creamy, shea-butter infused scrub; you want one that's not too oily, so it doesn't leave a film on your skin that will prevent the tanner from soaking in later. Some to try: St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Body Polisher**and **BORBA Firming Fiber Knit Diamond Body Polish**.**
Use the loofah to wear down tough spots like elbows, knees, ankles, and - here's one that's often neglected - the tops of your feet. Ever wind up with overly brown feet? I always find that the skin on the tops of my feet is a little tougher than normal, thus absorbing more tanner. So scrub away!
Next, shaving. You don't want to do this before the scrub, because you could end up really irritating the freshly shaven skin - especially if you use a salt scrub (they don't call it rubbing salt in the wound for nothing!). You do want to shave right before you apply the tanner, though; not only will it provide a more even surface, but if you wait until your next shower, you'll probably wind up scraping off some of that fresh new tan. As with the scrub, find something to shave with that's not oily; you might just want to go with a clear (not creamy) shower gel.
Before you step out of the shower, make sure you've rinsed off any residue (especially any hair conditioner that may have run down your back!).
If your elbows, knees and ankles still feel a bit rough, coat them with a thin layer of plain body lotion to keep your tan from looking too dark or patchy in those areas.
Now you're ready to get tan, baby!
Stay tuned for Part 2, Self Tanner Basics: Application.