Getting_That_GlowI spent most of my summers growing up trying to achieve the perfect glistening tan. For this green-eyed blondie, that involved a bottle of tanning oil, laying out during peak times, and most of the time, treating my sun scorched skin, while praying it would turn into a tan. I have since wised up and now realize healthy natural skin is in! However, for special occasions, I love to treat myself to a faux glow with spray tanning. Nothing makes putting on a swimsuit in the middle of March more tolerable than a little color (and a few strong margaritas helps too!)

As a newbie to the process, I scrounged the internet for tips and tricks to avoid the streaky nightmares I had seen portrayed in movies. With my vacation only three days away, I figured I would leave it to the pros and head to my local salon to get a spray tan. I walked in, nervous, but excited to see what all the hype was about. The owner was at the front desk and explained how the process worked. I referenced all the information I had gathered and he assured me as long as I wasn’t wearing any lotions or oils the tan solution would do its thing. I threw caution to the wind and was soon freezing cold, in nothing more than a shower cap, and guided solely by the robotic voice of the machine given instructions. I was in and out in ten minutes and went to sleep that night, anticipating waking up with a glow that would rival Jennifer Lopez.

Upon waking I looked at my hands, hoping the stripy mess was some illusion in the morning light. I popped out of bed where I stared in horror at my body which now resembled a tiger’s orange striped coat. After some quick online searching, I doused my hands and face in lemon juice and even acetone nail polish remover until the streaks diminished to something I could manage. I took some playful ribbing from my coworkers that day, but fortunately, with some scrubbing, I was able to even it out the color that night. I now know to trust my instinct, and the beauty blogs of many who have spray tanned before me, and ensure I put a barrier cream on the dry spots of my body prior to application. Here are my tried and true tricks for having a great spray tan experience:

  1. Research-you have a few options, Mystic, Versa, hand sprayed by a pro, or at home ( I am modest, so I usually go with the versa or use many of the great products available for in home use)
  2. Prep-exfoliate with a good scrub (non-oil based) or loofah, and shave your legs. My favorite tools for this are some exfoliating gloves you just slip on and can use with any soap or body wash. Make sure to get feet, ankles, knees, elbows, and hands especially well
  3. Barrier-this is crucial, use a rich moisturizer on the driest parts of your body. BREVENA Restorative Skin Balm provides the heavy duty moisture that prevents your skin from soaking in too much of the tanning solution. Apply liberally to fingers, palms, feet, ankles, elbows and knees
  4. Apply-follow the verbal instructions if you are getting one done salon, or if you are at home, start from your feet up and rub in the product in using little circles. I use a tanning mitt to ensure even application, and keep my hands from getting coated
  5. Dry-give the product time to soak in, 5 minutes for a spray or mouse, 10 for a lotion. Dress in dark or old clothing, and hold off showing or getting wet until 6-8 hours after your application (I usually apply at night, and shower off in morning)
  6. Post care– Avoid excessive exfoliation of your skin to keep the color fresh, and always apply moisturizer such as BREVENA Daily Hydration Moisturizer and Restore and Hydrate Night Cream to keep skin soft and prevent fading