Self tanning review and compare

How to get the bronzed look without the harmful rays.
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  • Updated:4 Oct 2006

05.Tanning tips

  • Before applying the tan, remove any dry skin and dead skin cells by exfoliating with a body scrub or loofah. Pay particular attention to dry areas such as elbows, knees and ankles. Failing to exfoliate may lead to your tan flaking off prematurely with the dead skin or leave your skin looking cracked and lizardy.
  • If it’s the first time you’ve used a product, you might want to test it on a small (and inconspicuous) patch of skin first to see if you like the colour.
  • Apply the tan according to the directions on the particular product. Generally, you should use it sparingly around your elbows, knees, ankles and hairline.
  • Wear disposable latex gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  • A tinted product allows you to see where you’ve applied it straightaway. Some other products are clear (your skin becomes tanned as the result of a chemical reaction with the product over time) and it can be difficult to judge the evenness of the tan as you’re applying it.
  • Try to avoid contact with water for about three hours after applying the tan. This includes activities that’ll make you sweat, as it could streak the tan.
  • If you realise you’ve had a tanning disaster, there are some self-tan remover products available.

Leave it to a pro?

  • A spray-on tan is a popular alternative to DIY tanning products. This involves an operator spraying the tanning product onto your skin with an airbrush.
  • You can get it done at a salon, but there are also a number of mobile tanning companies that will come to your home.
  • The operator should get you to stand in the shower while they apply the tan so they can wipe down any excess product afterwards. Some companies bring a portable booth for you to stand in.
  • It takes around 10–15 minutes for a full-body application and costs between $35 and $50. The tan should last for seven to 10 days.

Not a sunscreen

  • Self-tanning products don’t protect you from exposure to the sun. None of the products in this trial contains sunscreen, but even fake tans that do only provide short-term protection for two to four hours after application, not for the length of time the tan remains on the skin.

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