Sun’s out, bums out – how to get a perfect (faux) tan

With the days gradually becoming more warm than cold and with the great shift from scarves to shorts, many students are faced with the problem of having dull, pale skin from the long winter months. Andeline Wieland, a pageant enthusiast has experimented with different affordable self-tanning products, to give you an instant solution for those beach days.

“A little bit of sun is necessary for all humans to produce vitamin D and keep the body healthy, however most people get their needed daily intake of UV rays by simply driving or walking on a sunny day for 15-20 minutes. Anything after that, especially if you’re fair in complexion and not wearing sunscreen, is damaging to your skin,” said dermatologist  Dr Niels Holm.

“We strongly recommend that people stay away from tanning, tanning beds, drinking melanin stimulating pills or anything that can permanently damage your skin, the safest method would probably be self-tan or spray-tan.”

MatieMedia has reviewed five different types of self-tan products readily available in most local stores.

  • Bronzing Cream

Bronzing creams are a temporary solution to make skin smooth and even and can help to cover tan lines or redness on the skin. The cream or liquid is rubbed onto the skin and left to air dry and can then be washed off with soap and water later. It is fairly easy to apply and can be layered to darken the colour. Great for individual body parts such as the legs or back, it is however not so practical on hairy body parts.

We recommend: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Body Bronzing BB Cream (R230) a little bit of product goes a long way. Dilute the cream with body lotion to make coverage less dark or thick.

  •  Gradual tan lotion

Gradual tan lotions are body lotions that contain a small amount of self-tanner that can be built up by reapplying the lotion every day. This is a great way to naturally maintain a natural glow and is subtle enough to not get streaky patches or discoloured knees and ankles. The downside is that these lotions can have a very distinct smell that you either come to love or hate with time. Perfect for fair skin.

We recommend: Dove Summer Glow Gradual Self Tan Body Lotion Fair to Medium (R78). Builds a gradual tan with daily applications that appears natural. Has a very distinct smell.

  • Developer tan mousse

Tanning mousse is a white mousse that can be applied to the body by hand. It is lightweight and not sticky and dries down quickly. The mousse then develops on the skin for the next 8-12 hours and then the residue can be washed off. It is generally also odourless. The downside is that due to the fact that it is colourless, it is very hard to see if you have perhaps missed a spot during application. The mousse can be reapplied to get a darker colour.

We recommend: Caribbean Tan Bronzing Mousse (R99,95) Available in three different shades- A (fair), B (light), C (medium). Take care to apply liberally and evenly to entire body part to get desired effect.

  • Self-tan aerosol spray

This self-tan comes in a can and sprays a thin layer of product, similar to deodorant spray, onto the skin. Most are instant colour products which is convenient to monitor which areas need more or less product. It is lightweight and dries fairly quickly but do make sure it has dried completely before moving arround. The product will then continue to develop over the next 6-8 hours and the residue must then be washed off. Often has a very distinct smell and can be rather messy to apply, so stand on a dark, old towel before applying.

We recommend: Tropitone Bronze It Self Tan Continuous Spray (R89.95)

This South African product has a smooth mist application with a wide reach nozzle. Available in Light, Medium and Dark.

  • Self-tan Spritzer

This self-tan product usually comes in a pump action bottle with a spritzer nozzle. It is often accompanied by a mitt which is used to evenly distribute the product over the desired area. The product often has instant colour and takes a few minutes to dry down. Often is accompanied by a very strong and distinct smell that subsides once the residue is washed off after developing for 6-8 hours. Usually lasts around 5 to 7 days.

We recommend: Caribbean Tan Self-tanning Spritzer (R99.99) Highly pigmented spray with easy to apply pump nozzle and black mitt for distribution. May need another person to distribute product on the back of legs and the back.

How to make your spray tan last according to spray-tan professionals

Checklist for the day before:

  1. Shave or wax desired areas before tanning.
  2. Exfoliate or scrub off dead skin (try our DIY Body Scrub)

On the day:

  1. Wash body with oil-free products and dry completely.
  2. Apply lotion to dry areas such as knees, ankles and elbows.
  3. Don’t apply deodorant as this turns tan green.
  4. Apply tan as indicated.
  5. Allow to dry. Wash hands and soles of feet to avoid messy stains.
  6. Wear loose fitting, dark clothes for 6-8 hours.
  7. If you are going to sleep use dark bedding or line the bed with towels.
  8. Extend tan throughout the week by keeping skin moisturised.
  9. Apply a small amount to face to blend with the rest of the body.

Important: please remember that self-tan is NOT a replacement for sunscreen. – Andeline Wieland