Travel Beauty Month :: Self-Tanning Secrets With St. Tropez

st tropez sunless tan tips + travel {Editor’s Note: It's the last day of August and we're going out with a bang. Because summer doesn't last forever, sorry to remind you, St. Tropez' celebrity tanning expert tells us how to maintain a Mediterranean tan year-round. A big thanks goes out to Lauren, our beauty editor, who has curated and collected tips and products for Travel Beauty Month. Catch our regular Travel Beauty feature on the third Wednesday of every month. PS - Until noon PST today, enter to win one of FIVE DuWop Flight Sticks for a light coverage and hydrating glow.}

Who doesn't want a français St. Tropez tan? Obviously, we'd all love to be lazily strolling along the sun-bleached boardwalk beside the Mediterranean's mammoth yachts with only an oversized shirt loosely buttoned over top our bathing suits. If that trip style isn't in the cards tout suite, why not fake a bronzed bod with some of the best self-tanning products on the market? I asked St. Tropez' celebrity self-tanner, Sophie Evans, how to achieve the perfect tawny tan without spending any time in the sun!

How should we prep our skin for the perfect self-tan?
  • Exfoliate a minimum of 8 hours before, if the skin is too freshly exfoliated, you may find the tan will not settle as well on the skin.
  • Do all hair removal the day before.
  • Don't apply any body moisturizer on the day of the spray tan, this can result in an uneven or lighter tan.
  • Remove all deodorant, make up, etc prior to the tan {products on the skin can result in an uneven color}.

What are your tips for applying self-tanner and how do you best avoid streaks? Streaks and splotches are normally due to lack of product. Always work with enough tanning product so you can glide the product over the skin freely. You should never feel that you are pulling or stretching. This is how streaks happen! Believe it or not, it is always better to over- than under-apply as your skin will only take in a certain amount of product and therefore, only go to one color. If you feel that the tan has been applied unevenly---with far more color in some areas than others---simply take a dry soft towel or ST. TROPEZ Mitt and lightly buff over the body to remove any excess.

How do you pick the right shade of self-tanner? Can someone fair use a dark self-tanner if they want to get a dark tan, or would that look bad? If you are using a high quality tanning product, the shade should go to the color that suits your skin’s pigmentation. If you are very fair, the tan should not develop too dark because your skin does not have the pigment to do so, therefore to get darker, you may need to apply a further application the next day. Beginner self-tanners may find it easier to use a lighter tan initially, so that they get used to using the product, then build up to a darker shade which will save time and energy.

What type of self-tanning formula is the best to use: a mousse, a lotion, a spray, etc? When would you choose those different types of formulas? Aerosols are super quick to apply, very fast drying and great if you hate touching your skin. They are also effective at adding depth to the tan as you can glide the spray around the body's contours. Mousse tans are fantastic and quick drying as well. The ST. TROPEZ Mousse will dry in 60 seconds flat, you will also find you have slightly more control over the application if you use it with a tan applicator mitt. Lotion self-tans are by far the most hydrating of all tans and will generally last longer on the skin. The ST. TROPEZ Self Tan Lotion can last up to 10 days with such a rich and hydrating base, whereas a spray or lotion lasts at best up to about 5 days. All the formulas are good for beginners, it really depends on your skin and lifestyle. If you are a nervous self-tanner, try a gradual tan like ST. TROPEZ Gradual Everyday Tan in light/medium---you can't go wrong---so build a light glow that you are happy with, then move on to the stronger tans which will demand far less applications and time.

How can you avoid the hands, feet, elbows and knees getting too dark or uneven after self-tanner application? Always apply the tan wearing either tight fitting latex gloves or an applicator mitt, which will also protect your palms from staining. If you don’t have a glove or mitt, I would invest in ST. TROPEZ Tan Remover so you can guarantee the tan will be erased from the palms immediately---nothing worse than bright hands! Always apply moisturizer as a barrier on these areas prior to tanning, and remember the hands and feet can develop far darker than anywhere else on the body, so dilute the tan with moisturizer: about ¾ moisturizer with ¼ tan, then apply. After tanning use a cleansing wipe or tan remover to clean the palms and nails {the nails stain yellow if tan is not removed immediately}. If you use cleansing wipes, you won't have to use the sink and will avoid water splashing up the arms or taking tan off from the front of the hand. {Tip :: After tanning, blend moisturizer along the crease in the wrist and back of the heel for a seamless tan}

After applying self-tanner, what steps can you take to make it last? Maintain your self-tan by moisturizing your skin after every bath or shower, ST. TROPEZ Body Butter is excellent for this. Be gentle with your skin, pat on the moisturizer and do not rub. To achieve your desired color you may have to self-tan everyday initially, but once the color is achieved use the tanning product once or twice a week. It is very important to lightly exfoliate with a product like ST. TROPEZ Body Polisher to maintain a fading tan with even color and no build-up. The face will always fade the quickest {due to cleansing/toning}, so reapply every few days. Try combining a self-tan with a gradual tanning product. Self-tan initially and after a few days maintain with a lighter gradual tan, rotating this method will save you time and energy of constant reapplication.

What new products does St. Tropez have on the horizon? Any new technology in self-tanning that we should know about? We just recently launched 3 new Skin Illuminators in gold, rose, and violet. These are perfect to wear alone or use over any of our tanning products to create a dewy look. They can make legs appear longer or highlight muscles. Also, use with a moisturizer for a luminous everyday glow.

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{Photo credit: St. Tropez}