A few of you have alerted me to the fact that a) I have been featuring a lot of white and b) I have made you long for skimpy little sundresses — while c) it’s still mid-April and we’re all blindingly pale. Point taken! (What, you wouldn’t feel comfortable blending in with your white bikini?!)
And so — while nothing beats an authentic mid-summer glow — I want to highlight a couple of faux-tan tricks and tools that have helped me through the worst of winter wanness. I’ll begin by saying that I’m not a huge fan of self tanners because they all smell wretched and an even application is difficult to come by. They also (on the whole) tend to make you look orange. However, if I’m really desperate for some serious color, I use Clarins Gelee Auto-Bronzante Express. The scent is minimal and the color is as natural as self-tanners come. I always mix it with scented body lotion prior to application — it ensures a more even application and neutralizes the scent. Sometimes I’ll mix a dab in with my face lotion when I’m looking especially washed out, and it seems to do the trick.
For the most part, however, I use washable bronzers. They work like a charm! I love Lorac’s TANtalizer Award Show Glow — it’s a concentrated bronzing mousse that I smooth onto my shoulders and decollete prior to heading out on the town, and it looks totally believable (and you can wash it off with water if you go overboard!)
I’ve been tentatively test-driving St. Tropez’s Instant Glow Wash-Off Body Lotion, but the jury’s still out. The “lotion” comes out alarmingly dark and syrupy and it takes awhile to dilute it enough to make it look natural. I picked it up on a whim while replenishing my candle supply at Blue Mercury (love that store) and have not yet come to use it over my Lorac go-to.
But the real trick to faking a tan? Adding luminizers. I always wear a bit of body oil on my shoulders, decollete, and legs — it makes the tan look more believable by adding a little “sun-kissed glimmer.” I am crazy about Bobbi Brown’s Beach Body Oil, although the scent is strong and difficult to mask; if you don’t like the Beach scent (literally smells like sand, sunscreen, and water — amazingly nostalgia-inducing), you should probably pass on it.
I tried to switch it up and use Nars’ Body Glow, but discovered that I’m not thrilled with the scent — it has an almost plastic quality to it — and was less than enamored with the consistency, which turned out to be thick and glutinous. I do, however, ADORE the Guerlain Terracotta Huile du Voyageur Dry Oil.
It smells phenomenal and leaves a glossy, tan-boosting sheen. It also costs an uncomfortably high $59. I unfortunately dropped my bottle on the bathroom floor when I had about half of it left, so I decided to be more responsible and go with Bobbi Brown’s $30 counterpart (which is in many ways just as good). For those looking to legitimize the splurge, I should also add that the Guerlain stuff lasts — I’d had my bottle for nearly a year before it broke, and it was still half-full.
When traveling, I always bring Michael Kors’ pocket-sized Leg Shine. It bears the Kors signature scent (which I love), leaves legs (and shoulders — you can use it anywhere) smooth and lustrous, and is a cinch to apply on the fly.
For the face, I wear Nars’ Casino bronzer on a daily basis, applying it not only to the cheekbones but on the nose (just a touch) and along the hairline — which really does wonders in terms of making the bronzer look believable. (You’re basically hitting all the spots that the sun would.)
I like to add a dab of Benefit’s High Beam luminizer on the apples of my cheeks and, for a big night out, on the brow bone. But be weary of over-application — you can quickly look oddly oily and shiny if you don’t know when to stop.
Speaking of not knowing when to stop — I should also mention that too much of anything is a bad thing, and the same is especially true of any of the tanning products above. (We’ve all seen Snooki-esque tanning disasters, and it’s not a good look.) But until mid-summer rolls around, do what you gotta do to get a little glow going!