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BPGP: Have a Sun-Kissed Summer

This morning, I posted a navy cardigan intending to use it in a Two Ways post.  However, I think I would like to save it for tomorrow and do a Four Ways for Work post with it.  So look for that tomorrow.

It’s almost summer time, which means that most women are searching for a sun-kissed look.  Here are my tips on how to get it.

Tanning. Until last year, I used to visit the tanning salon once or twice every two weeks.  While the risk of skin damage or skin cancer didn’t chase me away (I know, I’m incorrigible.), but you know what did?  The fear of ocular melanoma.

I was having some eye twitching last fall, so I went to the eye doctor.  She diagnosed me with a case of tired eyes, but when she did my exam, she immediately asked me how often I was tanning. I asked her how she knew, and she said it was damaging my eyes.  And we’re done here…  No more bed tanning, and sunglasses outside at all times.

Self-Tanner. My favorite brand of self-tanner is the St. Tropez Mousse.  I apply it with the mitt, but it’s not critical, I just find it makes application a bit easier.  If you need a drugstore brand, I like the Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Lotion to build a gradual tan over time.  If you just want to add a bit of color to your legs, try Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

But how to prepare your skin for self-tanner?  It may seem like a silly question, but if you want to avoid streaks and splotches, you need to do the prep work.  First, I shave and exfoliate with a salt scrub.  Then, I moisturize with Kiehl’s Creme de Corps.  Then, I wait a few hours before applying the self-tanner.  It’s important to keep the skin moisturized post-tan, especially the knees and elbows.

If you want to get a longer lasting, full-coverage tan, I would skip the Mystic machine and go for an airbrush tan applied by a professional with a spray gun.  It’s just a better way to apply the tan and you don’t have to worry about drips, splotches or missed spots.

Bronzer. The secret to getting that sun-kissed look on your face is two-fold: choose the right bronzer and apply it correctly. Let’s start with the application.

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photo found on Pinterest

Bronzer should NEVER be applied to the entire face.  It is to be applied only to the parts of the face that would naturally be bronzed by the sun a bit more than the rest of the face.  In other words, the nose, chin, the sides of the face and the temples.

Bronzer should also be applied with a fluffy brush because you want light coverage.  Too stiff a brush, and you’re going to look like a paint-by-numbers artwork, and not in a good way.  I like this Sephora Collection Mini-Multitasking brush, it’s a great buy at $14.  I also like a big Kabuki brush.

As for the type of bronzer you should use, there are some guidelines to follow: 1) choose a shade 1-2 shades darker than your skin tone (not a generic one-size-fits-all color), and 2) select one that has no hint of orange, unless you want to look like John Boehner.

I like Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder and Too Faced Bronze and Poreless.  Need a drugstore alternative?  There are two you might want to try.  Maybelline Fit Me Bronzer has a great color and just a hint of shimmer.  NYC Bronzing Powder is one of those drugstore products that women rave about in chat rooms and on blogs.  I’ve never used it, but it has a vocal following.

So how do you get your sun-kissed look in the summertime?  Or are you proudly rocking the pale?

LEAVE A COMMENT

    22 comments

  1. New to Bronzer says:

    I am confused about bronzer application. I have the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc Free Bronzer and I was applying it lightly on my cheekbones. I have more of an olive complexion. I fear I am applying incorrectly…

    June 17, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Cheekbones are fine. That uses the bronzer more as a contour, but that’s fine. I’d also apply a little to my temples if you want to use it that way. It’s a more balanced look.

      June 17, 2014/Reply
  2. Shelley says:

    Preachy post warning – A basal carcinoma and 14 stitches on my nose in 2012 made me realize how dumb tanning is for anyone. I don’t even fake tan it anymore because I feel a responsibility to rock my pale self as the norm, rather than endorsing a dark color as a “necessity” for the warmer months. I told friends and family about my skin cancer and two more people were diagnosed with basal carcinomas after I nagged them just to get a checkup.

    And in case anyone needs a reference, Dr. Farley in Annapolis did an amazing job on my nose. Most people can’t even see any scar until I point it out.

    June 17, 2014/Reply
    • Corporate Attorney says:

      Seconding this – I’m 33 years old and although I got religion about sunscreen about 10 years ago, I didn’t pay much attention to it in my teen years. I have to go in next week for removal of more abnormal tissue from a mole on my arm (it falls into that awesome “not cancer but could turn into melanoma if we don’t remove it” category). Please be careful and even if you’re careful, make sure your physician (GP or derm) is looking at your moles and tracking how they change from year to year.

      And if you have something show up quickly, in an abnormal color or shape, GO TO THE DOCTOR. Even if it’s small.

      June 17, 2014/Reply
      • save. spend. splurge. says:

        Thanks for the tip. I had to google “Abnormal Moles”.. because I had 2 show up on my arm recently but they’re quite normal apparently..

        June 18, 2014/Reply
  3. Valerie says:

    Totally agree with Shelley. I am sometimes self conscious about being pale (especially in the summer when I walk out in a swimsuit and people start making vampire jokes), but I’ve made it into my thing…I have auburn hair and light eyes, so I just tell people that being a pale ginger is the new tan (also wearing SPF 90 and a large hat to the beach/pool). Ive had several moles removed already (no tanning bed experience ever), and waiting for the biopsies to come back scares me enough to ever want to increase my cancer risk. A close family friend passed away a couple years ago from melanoma, and I tell all of my female friends to choose pale and safe over tan and potentially sick.

    June 17, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      How is quantifying tan as “potentially sick” helpful? Rock pale if you want, but don’t denigrate those who like to be or look tan.

      June 17, 2014/Reply
      • Robin says:

        Tanning occurs as a result of exposure to UVA and UVB rays. This exposure is a carcinogen. Thus, just as smoking causes lung cancers, tanning causes skin cancers. These are risky behaviors and thus warrant the proclamation”potentially sick”.

        June 17, 2014/Reply
        • Belle says:

          I’m not disputing that tanning can cause cancer. I’m asking why point at a woman who is tan and say, she could be sick, ew!? It could just as easily be spray tan.

          But mostly, I don’t like the notion that to advocate pale as beautiful you need to make looking tan a negative. This mentality presents itself in many other ways as well, and you shouldn’t need to paint one thing as ugly to feel that another is gorgeous.

          June 17, 2014/Reply
        • Belle says:

          Also, you wouldn’t accept telling a woman who looks thin or is plus-size that her weight means she’s “potentially sick,” so I don’t think the hue of her skin should bring about that comment either.

          June 17, 2014/Reply
          • Valerie says:

            Yes, I meant what Robin pointed out- potentially sick as in exposed to tanning bed carcinogens. Definitely not all tan women are at risk (especially if someone’s skin tone is naturally darker), and it isn’t a judgment about being tan or pale. It’s more that I know friends who were naturally pale and using a lot of tanning bed exposure to get themselves to a darker shade. Many have decided to use bronzed or self tanner, others have decided to be paler. I should have said better to be safe and use less harmful methods of tanning…

            June 18, 2014/Reply
          • Valerie says:

            I also would definitely not go up to a tan woman and tell her that her skin tone meant she was “sick.” My warnings were for good friends I knew weren’t naturally tan. I don’t think saying that pale is socially acceptable requires denigrating tan, for me it was about getting women to embrace a wider range of skin tones in the summer…

            June 18, 2014/Reply
            • Belle says:

              This makes more sense to me, thanks.

              June 18, 2014/Reply
  4. Julia S. says:

    I have a sister who tans regularly – both at the beach and in a tanning bed. We’re about the same age, and not only has she had several questionable moles removed, but she has a lot more wrinkles than I do. I am cursed with a sun allergy (PMLE) so essentially I break out in hives and get the chills and aches when I’m exposed to the sun for more than a short stint. It’s lousy, but I make do with a lot of SPF clothing, hats and umbrellas. And benadryl!

    I still like to have a little color, particularly on my legs. I love Jergen’s Natural Glow. I’m too intimidated to try a bronzer but I may visit Ulta and give it a try.

    I didn’t find Valerie’s comment denigrating. When I was a kid we considered baby oil to be the equivalent of sunblock. But I have so many friends now that we’re hitting midlife who have had spots removed especially on their faces. Bronzer and self-tans are a good compromise, I think.

    June 17, 2014/Reply
    • Jessica says:

      After googling PMLE, I think I could have this! How did you get “diagnosed?”

      June 18, 2014/Reply
  5. save. spend. splurge. says:

    I am naturally not pale (my skin tone is lightly brown), so I’ve never felt the need to brown myself… that, and once I learned that the sun ages you and is the #1 cause of wrinkles, I avoided it like the plague. I love the shade (hate sweating), and I HATE tanning in the sun because I never do it evenly (always end up with brown arms and legs and a white-r torso and thighs…

    June 18, 2014/Reply
  6. Justine says:

    I’ve read that “tanning is the new smoking” and “sitting is the new smoking” and “sugar is the new fat.” I can see how legislators could regulate tanning and sugar, but I wonder how they could regulate sitting!

    June 18, 2014/Reply
  7. Alie says:

    I have to agree that we shouldn’t be labeling any shade of tan or skin color as more beautiful, as this implies that anything other than pale is unhealthy or undesirable. I’m naturally dark olive, and despite the fact that I slather on heavy-duty sunscreen, I get very dark in the summer. Granted, I worked at outdoor jobs for a long time, and I currently spend every weekend hiking, so it’s not as if I stick to the shade only. I’ve also never been to a tanning bed, and I don’t lay out to tan. I’ve been called racist names because of my skin color, so I think we need to just be sure that we’re promoting skin health, no matter how that looks. As I said, I’m religious about sunscreen, so despite the fact that I get rather dark, I don’t view that as unhealthy skin.

    June 18, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I am in this boat as well. I so much as stand to close to a stop light and I get tan. So the idea that my tan should signal to people that I am “potentially sick” was really upsetting to me.

      June 18, 2014/Reply
      • Casper says:

        It’s also just not true. I’m translucently pale, have never tanned, and am still much more likely to get skin cancer than someone naturally darker who tans from time to time.

        June 18, 2014/Reply
  8. Addie says:

    I read in a magazine that a lot of makeup artists use foundation that’s 5 shades darker than the person’s normal shade as bronzer. You just a blend a tiny amount into all the same places you’d use powder bronzer. I guess because I’m the second lightest shade of Clinique even better foundation, when I went 5 shades darker it didn’t look like I’d done anything at all. But 7 shades darker gives me a perfect subtle glow

    June 18, 2014/Reply
  9. Valerie says:

    I think my earlier comment was misunderstood…in that it wasn’t a comment on skin tone per se (or any racist implications), just a echo of the warning the previous commenter made about tanning beds and cancer risk. My mom is Brazilian with dark olive skin, and she can sit in the sun for 5 minutes and be tan and never had any issues with moles or skin cancer. My dad is a pale Italian who burns bright red in the same amount of time and has had multiple precancerous moles removed. I don’t think one complexion is necessarily “more beautiful” than another.

    On an interesting note, though, several friends of mine are Indian-American and talk about the ads they see in India for skin lightening creams. Their American friends are jealous of their naturally olive skin tone, while their Indian friends make comments about how they should avoid the sun more.

    June 18, 2014/Reply