As a teenager, I thought if I used baby oil and baked in the sun, that I too, would get that “California girl” tan that looks golden, and perfect. Alas, with light, freckled skin that burns in an instant, the closest I ever got to tan was a nasty (and dangerous) shade of red.
For that reason, I should be a great fan of bronzers and self tanners. While many have had the power to turn me into the great pumpkin, or at best, provide me with the same ugly red sunburn color that I didn’t want, self tanners and bronzers have come a long, long, long way. I honestly don’t love them, but since Summer is here, and sunbathing is an international (if somewhat unsafe) pasttime, I thought I’d share a few self-tanning and bronzing products from our JUNE What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column and a few tips about how to bronze yourself, beautifully, Hopefully this will encourage you to use high level of SPF sun protection when in the sun, and get the look anyway, at home (safely inside).
BRONZING TIPS: Bronzers, especially powder and gel bronzers, give you instant gratification–the look of the sun, with the ability to wash it off at any time. However, even a sheer bronzer has to match your skin tone. If you are very pale, using the deepest color option is just going to make you look strange and two-toned, since the rest of your body can’t possibly match! Less is more when you are using a bronzing powder or gel. It’s easier to gradually add more, than to remove too much. Always use a soft bronzer brush or fan brush to apply, and layer the color a little at a time until you have the desired effect. For an all-over natural matte tan effect, sweep over matte bronzer shade with a powder brush and apply over entire face, or on the highest parts of the face-forehead, cheekbones, nose and chin. To accentuate and contour, apply matte bronze shade over cheekbones. To highlight, Add a bit of shimmer in a complimentary shade (don’t try to get too creative with glitter or excessive pearl). For best results, use a soft bronzer brush or a fan brush (sponges add too much powder too quickly with little control). Apply moisturizer prior to bronzing powders and make sure they are dry and absorbed first (or risk the bronzer turning orange).
Physicians Formula has an impressive variety of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic bronzers to suit just about every skin time. The Bronze Gems Matte & Bright Bronzer, Highlighter & Eye Shadow $12.95 is as pretty to look at as it is on your skin. The dual-finish bronzer has a large circle of matte bronzer in “Light, Peach, Healthy (medium) or Bronzer” (deep), but it also has three eye-catching “gems” superimposed into it (in gold, bronze and copper), to add a shimmery matte finish that really looks pretty and sun kissed. As a bonus, you can use the “gems” to highlight face and eyes. This is so versatile! Use it over makeup or alone, and use the matte and “gems” together for a glow-y “tan,” or use each piece separately. A small bronzer brush and a mirror are included in the bottom part of the lightweight compact, making this good for your tote bag or purse, too. I also like the For Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush and Eye Shadow $11.95. These are packaged in clear, square compacts with five shimmery shades of sun-kissed colors used separately for eye shadows and various effects on face (over bronzer, foundation, or alone) or use together for one glowing color. Each collection is named after a famous “strip.” “Vegas Strip” with coppery shimmers ranging from sand, to deep copper create a light, shimmery bronze when worn together. “Miami Strip” creates a deeper, cooler bronze from pink to bronzed rose. “Riviera Strip” goes deep and glowing, with sandy bronzed colors from medium ivory, to dark bronze. **For many more reviews of the newest and best bronzers and self-tanners, visit the Advice Sisters What Works July/August Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column ( which should be up the first week in July check our FEATURES page http://www.advicesisters.net/Features/Features.html to see what’s new.
Men want to look tan, too. Some use bronzing powders, but many guys think that’s too “makeup-y.” Instead, they’re embracing self-tanning products. Once you apply these lotions, they don’t wash off. In our June What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion Review Column suggest that a good Father’s Day gift for a dad who would like to look tan and healthy, but probably wouldn’t know how to start, if the Self Tanner With Anti-Aging Complex from Anthony Logistics $28.00 2.5 oz. This one helps moisturize a man’s skin while the foolproof formula lets a man darken gradually without streaks. If you’re a guy trying this for the first time, don’t worry…it’s gradual and it’s not drastic, so you can’t mess it up! This self-tanning product also has a ton of anti-aging ingredients to help reduce fine lines and improve a man’s complexion. Key ingredients include self-tanners DHA (to give you results in 1-3 hours) and ETH (to provide continued results over 8-16 hours); a complex of extracts of fruit acids (to remove dead skin cells and help retexturize skin); peptides (to help erase fine lines, while firming and brightening the complexion; apple fruit extracts (to smooth and soothe sensitive skin), plus green tea. Guys, the more you use this, the deeper your tan will get (within limits). Whether you use it twice a day, daily, or just now and then, the color is always under your control.
Prescriptives Sunsheen $27.004.2 fl. oz is the type of product both men and women will like. The tote-able, coppery tube with flip top, and the one-color-fits all, self-tanner gives skin a gradual tan in about 24 hours. You’ll get deeper color with each application. A nice thing about this one is that it doesn’t just lie there looking boring and blah–it has a bit of a sheen to it, so your skin looks healthy and glowing from the first application to the last! More importantly, it also has SPF 15, to help protect you from the sun’s damaging rays, as self-tanners give you the look of tanned skin, but they do not protect you on their own. The broad spectrum SPF is yet another reason to use it. The oil-free formula means you won’t break out from it at the beach–another plus.
SELF-TANNING TIPS: Your “tan” won’t be smooth if you skin isn’t. EXFOLIATE before applying a self tanner (that means the guys, too). As with bronzing powders and gels, don’t try to go too dark–it won’t look right with the rest of your body. At the most, go a shade or two darker than your real skin. Make sure you have the time to do the job right–you don’t want to suddenly look at the clock, realize you’re late, and have to dash out when the tanner isn’t quite dry (it could leave quite a mess on your clothes, not to mention blotches on your body). Be sure you read the directions carefully, and follow them. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after use. In most cases, the more you use a modern self-tanner, the deeper the color will get. *watch our Summer July/August What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column up in early July, for more Prescriptives products.
***BRONZERS AND SELF-TANNERS DO NOT PROTECT YOU FROM THE SUN’S DAMAGING RAYS UNLESS THE PRODUCTS SPECIFICALLY SAY THAT THEY HAVE SPF PROTECTION IN THEM. YOU MAY LOOK TAN, BUT YOU ARE AT JUST AS MUCH RISK FOR SUN DAMAGE AS SOMEONE WHO IS PALE. PLEASE APPLY PRODUCTS WITH SUNBLOCK BEFORE GOING OUTSIDE NO MATTER HOW “TAN” YOU LOOK!!!
*check this blog in the coming days for more gift ideas for Father’s Day that beat the old tools and tie, idea!
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