I’m about to give you a beauty secret only known by the most experienced in the industry: cellulite looks less obvious on bronzed skin. So if you can’t beat it…hide it with a fake tan!
There’s no denying it, a golden body is a great confidence booster. You tend to look longer, leaner, more toned with a bit of color. Faking it is so much safer than baking in the sun. Many of us would agree that we would be less tempted to soak up the sun rays if we arrived on vacation with a bit of color already taken care of.
It’s also brilliant at helping disguise cellulite – a fake tan somehow seems to even out lumps and bumps. Plus the prep work you do before you apply it – exfoliating, moisturizing and so on – helps hydrate the area, remove dead skin cells and even out skin-texture. So cellulite ruined skin will look better before you even get around to the bronzing.
Applying a fake tan used to be a messy, smelly old business. And the shades were questionable. Thankfully, gone are the days of George Hamilton-style tans in a shade of tangerine that smelt of something you’d keep under the sink. These days fake tans are sophisticated, easy to use, quick-drying and incredibly effective. They’re a great way to prepare your body for your two weeks in the sun, or cover up pasty white bits when you’re wearing that sundress/mini-skirt/strappy outfit.
Why does it work?
The magic ingredient here is the DHA (dihydroxyacetene) which turns the skin brown by oxidizing the amino acid in the skin. Manufacturers usually add lots of other lovely softening, toning, hydrating ingredients, too. Fake tans come in mousses, creams, gels, lotions. You can either apply them yourself – home tans tend to last up to four or five days – or you can go the professional route and visit a specialist, who might put you in a booth and spray you with the stuff. Salon tans tend to last longer – some claim theirs last between a week and a fortnight. A salon is the best route if you want an all-over tan without the hassle of doing it yourself. Best salon choices include St-Tropez, Guinot and Clarins.
What to expect
Here’s what to expect if you’re a salon tan virgin. You disrobe (and usually pop on a pair of those charming paper pants), after which the therapist exfoliates you, and slaps on handfuls of goo, covering you thoroughly. She’ll then leave you there for up to an hour while the tanner works its magic, and she then removes the excess. When you shower the next day (if you can leave it that long) you look fantastic. Make sure you wear dark clothes to avoid staining on your clothes.
Many fake tans take a few days to look beautifully natural, so if you’re preparing for a special do, book your treatment a few days prior to the event. And always remember that a fake tan won’t protect your from the sun so you still need sunscreen. If you’re using a self-tanner at home, make sure you patch test the area beforehand to avoid an allergic reaction. Don’t be tempted to go too dark; always choose one that matches your natural skin tone. Best tried-and-tested self-tanners include those by Decleor, Ambre Solaire, St-Tropez and Lancaster.
Just follow the three golden rules – exfoliate, moisturize and layer
Start by exfoliating the area with a body scrub, loofah or a flannel. Apply exfoliator with circular movements (it helps boost circulation). Make sure you pay particular attention to heels, knees and elbows where the skin is rougher. A cheaper option is Epsom salts – which will help to deep-cleanse your skin. Just fill a cup with salts and add enough water to make a paste. Massage over skin, then rinse off.
Always moisturize after exfoliating. Leave the moisturizer on for about 15 minutes before you apply your fake tan so it doesn’t interfere with the active ingredient in fake tanning products.
Remove excess moisturizer with a damp flannel before you apply the tanning product – especially on bony areas such as knees, elbows and ankles – it’ll prevent any uneven tanning.
Apply the fake tan, smothering it on as you would a moisturizer. Don’t forget backs of knees and hands, and your inner thighs.
Then build up gradually. You don’t need as much where your skin is thinner as the color will stay longer here. A tan usually appears about three or four hours later – if you find you have streaks, try exfoliating the area. Avoid swimming or having a shower for about twelve hours after a treatment. Moisturize your body well over the next few days; it’ll help prolong your fake tan and keep your cellulite at bay.
Olivia Winters is an established author and contributor in the health and beauty industry. After spending over 15 years as a professional make-up artist she now blogs and shares her secrets with the world. You can find more of her beauty secrets at Breathtaking Hairstyles.