Q: Why is it that when I self tan, the tan settles into my pores and makes them look more noticeable!?
(If you haven't had this happen to you and you don't know what I'm talking about, it's when you apply self tanner and your pores appear darker and more noticeable)
First of all, you're not really going to know if this will happen to you unless you are familiar with the product you are using. Considering everyone's skin reacts differently, you can follow all of the right steps. Shower, exfoliate, shave & moisturize. Then, before you hit the sack you apply the self tanner with pristine skill, wait for it to fully dry and go to sleep. Then you wake up to legs full of dark dots. While your BFF did everything you did, and woke up with legs good enough to be in a Skintimate commercial.
Typically, you are more prone to these spots when you use a self tanner that provides a deep, dark tan with a very dark color guide (color guide: a dark colored lotion, essentially a bronzer that "guides" you from missing spots that a clear lotion can miss).
So, dark self tanners such as: St. Tropez Self Tanning products, SUN Labs Tanning products, St. Moriz, Bare Essentials Faux Tan, Neutrogena Instant Bronze.. shall I go on?
Tips for an Even Tan, Spot Free!
1) Avoid salt & sugar exfoliate. They might sound great because they make your skin feel super soft and give an overall polished look. You think your skin is the perfect canvas. But no, your exfoliate has fooled you. It has just left an oily film on your skin that actually, creates a barrier between your skin and your self tanner. So when you apply your self tanner, your skin isn't absorbing it efficiently. Thus, giving the opportunity of an un-even tan. Also if you're planning on shaving.. a salt exfoliate can irritate your skin. Think. You just revealed new, sensitive, fresh skin cells with the help of large grains of salt and now you're going to shave. I don't know about you, but it makes me cringe. I automatically think about salt on open wounds.. which also makes me think of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. LOL!!! (Don't mind me, it's late) An exfoliation glove works great with a shower gel. Plus, they are inexpensive. You can pick one up at Dollar Tree, for yes.. a dollar. Just buff your skin in gentle, circular motions.
2) Invest in a good razor. Generally, more expensive razors = better quality razors. They tend to protect your skin better (many have an aloe or lotion strip) & will give you the closest shave. You definitely want the closest shave you can get so you won't have to end up shaving over your self tan. Using a cheap razor (please don't get your razors from Dollar Tree while you're there) can irritate your skin once you apply your self tan. I've had it happen before and it stung, a lot!! Really, what's an extra few dollars to spend to have silky smooth, non irritated legs? It's one thing I don't like to go cheap with. That and my Secret Clinical Deodorant (dang you, Secret for charging so much!). I use a Schick Quattro for men and I love it. I change the blades constantly when they dull. If you know your skin in sensitive, try to avoid shaving right before you apply your self tanner. If possible, shave the day before or in the morning if you're planning on tanning at night. Give your skin a little time. Avoid oil based shaving creams or hair conditioner. A shave gel is preferred.
3) The right moisturizer. Moisturizing is a preference. It's not necessary. Some people swear by moisturizing prior to applying their self tanner. Some never use a moisturizer with equally great results. It's whatever you like. Moisturizing your skin may help the self tanner smooth evenly on your skin. Just make sure it's not... (you should know this by now) oil based. Use a water based moisturizer that will absorb into your skin. Not a moisturizer that will sit on top of your skin. You can tell if your lotion is water based by looking at the first ingredient on the back. It should say "Water". Too many excess oils can cause your skin to break out. I've experienced using an oily exfoliate, an oily shave cream and applying body cream before tanning. I woke up with pimples on my neck. I thought, what in the world!? I've never had a pimple on my neck. But it makes sense. Exfoliating your skin and then applying so many excess oils to go straight into your pores.
4) The right temperature. Believe it or not, this plays a roll. If you're planning on self tanning once you've just gotten out of your steamy shower, give a little time to cool off instead. Let the bathroom air out. Applying in warm or hot conditions is not ideal for your self tan. When you're showing in hot or warm water, all of your pores open up. Applying self tanner when all of your pores are open is a no-no. This can be one of the main culprits of having your self tan settle in your pores. I know, who wants to stand around naked and cold to apply their self tanner? Apply it at room temperature or with a fan nearby. If you're prone to having very visible pores after tanning, likely on your legs, face or arms.. splash or run cold water on your skin and pat your self dry with a towel. Then apply the tanner right away. When your skin is cold, your pores tighten. Cold water might be unpleasant, but it works.
5) Tighten your pores even more. Use a toner. Witch Hazel works great for me. Apply some on a cotton pad and smooth it over your skin. There are other products like Tendskin, that work great as well. Again, when your pores are tightened and your skin is free of oily residue, your skin will absorb the tan like nobodies business. And that's exactly what you want. You'll notice less color will wash off in the shower.
6) Application method. Make sure to wear tight fitting gloves. I prefer latex gloves over plastic gloves because they are better fitting and have a softer texture. If you're wearing loose fitting plastic gloves, like the ones you'd get in a box of hair dye.. you have more chances of getting a streaky tan. I personally like gloves mostly for lotions. For mousses and sprays, I prefer a self tanning mitt as it covers more area in one swipe.. not to mention it applies liquids very evenly.
7) Drying Time. Allow your skin adequate drying time. This is one reason I like sprays. Most contain alcohol, making the drying time very fast. If you've just applied a lotion, allow a little extra time for your tan to dry. Wear loose fitting clothes and don't come in contact with water.
8) Longer is always better. Ehem. The longer time you wait for your tan to develop, the better. If you're using a super dark self tanner, the DHA (what's essentially making you bronze) needs time to develop. With most self tanners, you need a minimum of 8 hours. I like to have my self tanner on for at least 10 hours before I bathe. My tan ALWAYS looks the darkest, and best when I've kept it on the longest. If you're going to be home all night, don't always wait for the moment you're going to go to bed. Try tanning as early as you can so there is more development time.
9) Rinse. Yes, shower. If you followed the steps, you shouldn't be scared of losing your tan by scrubbing your body like usual. Like I mentioned, the more your skin absorbs the tanner, the less color will wash off each time. If your tan developed with a barrier between your skin, your tan won't be as intense. Thus, more will rinse off in the shower because SO much less product was actually absorbed in your skin. **When it's time to shave next, this is where having a good razor will come in again. Using a good razor generally won't take your tan away. Bad razors can cause streaks in your self tan or remove it.
10) Moisturize. Make sure to keep your skin moisturized to maintain your tan! :)
I hope some of these tips helped you!! Do you have any tips of your own?