Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Bronzers and Self-Tanners: Getting a Safe Glow June 23, 2011

Any kind of tan a sign of damage to your skin.  There is no such thing as a safe tan – period.  So what do you do if you want a glow or a tan during the summer or even year round?  Time to break out the bronzer and self tanner.   Last year I wrote a post, The Only Way to Tan: Fake It, with lots of references on how to get a great fake tan.  This year I’m updating that information so that hopefully everyone can find a great self-tanning or bronzer product for themselves.


If you want to start off faking your tan a little bit at a time try a bronzer.  When you use bronzer on your face you control how much product is applied so you can decide just how sun-kissed you want to look.  Bronzer comes in a few different formulas.  Though powder bronzer is great for someone with normal to oily skin since it helps to create a matte finish it really powder bronzer can be used on any skin type since it blends so easily.  You can use powder bronzer on your temples, cheeks, and bridge of the nose; also blend a little down your neck and onto your chest.  Remember to blend well with a big fluffy powder brush so it looks natural.  Cream bronzer is good for someone with normal to dry skin since it leaves the skin with a luminescence that might be too much for skin that already has a shine to it.  Because of the bit of shine that cream bronzer usually has don’t put it on the bridge of your nose.  Instead stick to applying it to your temples and cheekbones.  Finally if you choose a gel or serum bronzer these formulas are light enough to be applied all over your face and down your neck. 

The above illustration is a perfect example of how you can look with the proper application of bronzer.  Here are two simple lessons to help you master applying bronzer:  Blushing Bronze: All-Over Glow Technique and  Blushing Bronze: Burn Technique.  Allure also offers up: How to Avoid the Biggest Bronzer Mistakes, Get the Perfect Glow, and even a video on how to apply bronzer with fabulous tips.




I’ll admit that I am can be intimidated by most self-tanners.  I pretty much only feel comfortable letting a professional give me a spray tan or with using a gradual self-tanner like Jergens.  But I am here to say that in this respect – please don’t be like me.  There are so many self-tanning products on the market – everyone should give self-tanning a try at least once.  Proper self-tanning does require a few extra steps such as making sure you’ve properly exfoliated (make your own exfoliator by mixing household sugar and olive oil) and moisturized before applying the product.  Plus you need to make sure that you apply the product everywhere you want it, including the tops on your feet for example, but not places you don’t, like your palms.  (Read Cat’s post YES, YOU PROBABLY COULD BE BETTER-LOOKING: This Self-Tanner Changed My Life!  from xoJane for some self-tanner tips)

Now that you’ve decided to take the self-tanning plunge which product should you choose.  For that decision I suggest turning to my favorite beauty magazine Allure and their article The Top 8 Idiot-Proof Self Tanners for help.

One of the newest ways to apply self-tanner at home is with an airbrush system; you become your own spray tan tech.  This is quick and clean way to apply your self-tanner for a natural glow.  I’ve heard of two systems: Luminess Tan and Temptu Summer Skin.  If anyone has tried either of these system I would love to hear how the experience was.


So once again – there is no such thing as a safe tan but there is also no reason to remain pale all through the summer if you don’t want to.  Get out your bronzer and blend away or slather yourself down with self-tanner!  Just remember get a safe glow this summer.


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