Faux Tan 411: The Spa Girls Guide to Going with the Faux

Everything NOT under the sun you need to know for a healthy faux tan.

Most trend spotters point a manicured finger at Coco Chanel’s fateful French Riviera trip for the fashionably tan craze. I blame Malibu Barbie circa 1971 (yes, I know I’m showing my age!). Role playing with a deeply tanned, platinum blond bombshell made a lasting impression on my moldable mind, and I was among the early adopters to sport my orange QT tan with pride. We’ve come a long way since then (hallelujah!) and today’s faux glow treatments and self-tanners would make even Malibu Barbie slather on the SPF.

Behold, your faux tan 411 to everything you need not under the sun for a bona fide faux glow.

Faux Glow Treatments

Not handy with a self-tanner? Leave your tan in the hands of the bronzing masters at these beauty spots.

  • Organic Spray Tanning Treatment at Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia in Paradise Valley (pictured). This paraben-free self tanning spray is made with essential oils and natural healing ingredients. The custom tanning application gives your skin a natural, flawless finish.
  • Airbrush Tanning at Designer Shades in north Scottsdale. No time to slip away for a tropical vacay? Look like you did with a St. Tropez sunless tanning treatment from these tanning titans. More top tanners: Bronzeology and Arizona Airbrush Studio in Scottsdale.
  • VersaSpa Sunless Tanning at Dolce Salon & Spa in Chandler and Scottsdale. Step in the high-tech tanning booth and step out a bronzed goddess. The system hydrates, bronzes and dries the skin in about 5 minutes.

Know Before You Faux

Spray tanning DOs and DON’Ts.

  • DO exfoliate the day of your appointment and use only a light body lotion or skip it altogether.
  • DO wear loose fitting dark colored clothing to your treatment.
  • DON’T workout after a spray tan.
  • DO bring a towel to sit on if you have leather car seats (trust on this one!).
  • DON’T sweat (if at all possible!).
  • DON’T shower for 6 hours after the treatment or better yet, sleep on it.
  • DON’T panic. The spray tan solution can rub off around waist bands, sleeves and toes depending on the type of shoes you wear. But remember that most tanning solutions have a bit of bronzer in them, which will wash off.
  • DO moisturize skin liberally after your spray tan to prolong the color.

Faux Home Products

With a little practice, self-tanners can build the tan of your dreams minus the streaks and orange hues of yore. Products to ponder:

  • L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel. Spray it on, massage it in and your tan starts to develop in less than an hour. New from L’Oréal, this citrus-scented clear gel is paraben free. Pick it up at most drug and mass market stores for $10.
  • St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Infused with alovera and a trademarked fragrance technology, this velvety mouse gives you subtle color without a hint of self-tanner aroma, $30 at sttropeztan.com.
  • Anthony Logistics For Men Self Tanner with Anti-Aging Complex. This unisex, fool-proof formula nourishes skin with antioxidants and fruit acids while building a handsome glow, $30 at sephora.com.
  • Hampton Sun Sunless Tanning Gel. For the discriminating sunless worshiper, this rich gel develops into a golden glow while leaving skin smooth and delightfully sniff-able, $32 at hamptonsuncare.com.
  • Jane Iredale Tantasia Self Tanner. Apply this naturally tinted bronzer on face and body for a surge of hydration and touch of color that illuminates gradually with daily use, $36 at janeiredale.com. Read our review.
  • GlowFusion Micro-Nutrient Face and Body Natural Protein Tan, Sunless Self-Tanner. No streaks, no stains, no odor and no greasy residue – just a rich subtle color that lasts up to two weeks without fading, $58 at sephora.com.

More self-tanning products.

Flawless Home Faux Glow

Follow these steps for a flawless self-tanner application.

1. Polish. In the shower, prep skin with an exfoliating body scrub, paying close attention to knees, elbows and ankles. Look for a body buffer or a non-oily scrub rather than a sugar or salt scrub, which tend to dissolve before you’ve thoroughly exfoliated. The more moisturizing the scrub, the more residue is left on your skin and the less the bronzer will absorb.

2. Pat. Dry off thoroughly and unless your skin is super dry, skip your daily body lotion application so the tanning product absorbs.

3. Practice. Self-tanner application takes practice. Apply the tanner in a circular massaging motion, working it over skin as evenly as possible. For fast-drying formulas, wash hands frequently between body areas or wear latex gloves. Use a daily gradual self-tanner if you want to build a subtle, more natural tan and avoid streaks completely. If you’re a newbie or want the instant gratification tan, try a product with a touch of bronzer so you can see where you’ve applied product.

4. Buff. After application, wash the palms of your hands with soap and water. Use an old, dry towel to swipe around my feet, heels, toes, ankles and elbows where the tanner tends to accumulate.

5. Stay Dry. The worst time to apply a self-tanner is when you have any chance of sweating or getting caught in the rain before the formula dries. A safe bet is to apply your self-tanner is before bedtime. This gives the product plenty of time to dry and do its job. Slip into a loose-fitting tee or sweats and when you shower off the next morning, your tan is ready to roll.

6. Keep Calm. If you awake to streaks or blotchy spots, don’t panic. One quick trick is to mix the juice of half a lemon with 1 cup of water and dab the mixture on patchy areas with a soft cloth to lessen their appearance. Another option is to apply a second layer of self-tanner, focusing on blending around the patches or streaks.

Faux Tan Enhancers

Extend and enhance your faux glow with these product finds from sephora.com.

  • Prep your skin with Dermadoctor’s KP Duty body scrub ($44). The creamy formula banishes dead skin cells with a chemical and physical exfoliant and leaves skin free of any oily residue.
  • Extend your tan with a daily dose of Too Faced Tanning Bed in a Tube ($25), which has a slight bronze shimmer or St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Body ($30), which is clear.
  • Enhance your summer tan glow with Laura Mercier Body Bronzing Makeup ($38), which has a touch of color and shimmer to bring out your glow.

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