You've got a gorgeous sunless tan - now what do you do? How long will it last? How do you keep it looking great? Don't worry - it's not as difficult as you might think!
Your maintenance routine is going to depend upon several things:
- the product you used
- your skin
- your lifestyle
As I mentioned in "Choosing a Product", some sunless tanning products tend to produce a tan that lasts a bit longer than others. Airbrush solutions tend to last the longest, followed by lotions, aerosols, gels, and mousses. Generally. But your skin type and lifestyle can also affect how each of those products works for you - so everyone is going to get different results.
Moisturize: Most people will find that applying a good moisturizing lotion once or twice a day will help extend the life of their sunless tan. This is especially true if you have dry skin. Others will find that moisturizing daily causes a weird thing to happen to their tan. And yes, this used to happen to me, LOL. For some reason, in some people, moisturizing daily makes the tan roll right off the skin in little brown balls. Yes, I said little brown balls. Any sort of friction on the skin makes the tan rub off. Remember those pink rectangular erasers we used in school? And when you'd erase a large area there would be a lot of little pieces of the eraser on the paper? That's kind of what the rubbed-off tan looks like. I don't have that issue anymore - I assume it's because my skin is now "mature", and more dry. Yay - something positive about aging skin!! Of course, the only way to discover how much moisture your tan needs is to practice, practice, practice.
Use a moisturizing shower gel: Now is the time to use a moisturizing shower gel. Use a soft shower pouf so you don't remove too much of your tan. Every time you shave your legs, you'll be removing a thin layer of your tan. Using a sharp razor minimizes this issue. Moisturizing strips on the razor aren't a problem during maintenance. Some people find that using an electric razor works best for them. I love the Gillette Venus & Olay razor.
Avoid friction: People who live an active lifestyle or who wear tight clothing will generally find that their tan will rub off in certain areas. If you wear running shoes with tight socks - your feet are going to fade quickly. If you wear tight sandals/shoes, you're probably going to have striped feet, with the tan rubbing off where the shoes touch your feet. Bras rub the tan off your torso. If you wash your hands a lot, your hands are going to fade quickly. Actually, in general, hands & feet fade most quickly anyway. You can try powdering areas that receive friction - sometimes that helps reduce the amount of rub-off. Some people even use Monistat Anti-Chafing Powder-Gel - apparently it works well on feet.
Most people find that their sunless tan starts to fade the third or fourth day after application. The trick is to reapply the day before your tan starts looking like a lizard. Splotchy. Flaky. Icky. For some people, this is Day 3 - some can wait until day 4. Sometimes it depends upon what type of product you used. For me, with most ABS, I need to reapply on Day 3 if I want to maintain a constant color. I can stretch it another day, but my tan is usually a lot lighter.
So it's Day 3. Now what? Do you scrub it all off and start over? Or do you just reapply as-is? The correct answer is somewhere in-between.
If your tan still looks good and is just starting to lighten a bit, you're going to want to shower, shave, and lightly exfoliate with your nylon exfoliating gloves . Do not scrub hard. Do not try to remove the existing tan. When you're finished, you should reapply your sunless tanner following the instructions in my Application post.
If your tan is splotchy and uneven, you're going to need to do a little more work. And that's why it's best to reapply before your tan gets all jacked. In this case, you need to shower, shave, and do a little more exfoliation with those nylon exfoliating gloves. Concentrate on the areas directly surrounding any white spots, trying to gradually even out the color a bit. It doesn't have to be perfect. You might need a little more than the gloves - baking soda , Irish Spring bar soap , Lava bar soap - I'll cover that more in Part 6: Removal. Once you've evened out the color a bit, then you can reapply your sunless tanner following the instructions in my Application post.
Can you just keep doing this forever?? Well, some people can! For me, it's not quite that easy. There comes a time when I have to remove most of my sunless tan and "start over". I think it's because my natural color is so pale. After awhile, the build-up starts to just look funky because the pale skin is showing through. Not so much an issue for those who have a darker natural skin tone. We'll be discussing removing a sunless tan in the next part of the series.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Don't forget to check out the other posts in the series!
Sunless Tanning Tips series: Part 3 - Sunless Tanning Tools
Sunless Tanning Tips series: Part 4 - Application
Sunless Tanning Tips series: Part 4 - Application
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