It may be fall, but that doesn't mean your (faux) tan has to fade...
The smoother the skin, the smoother the tan — so be sure to exfoliate or shave first. Textured scrub gloves and nylon polishing towels are especially effective when it comes to removing dead skin (and also help to combat streaks and discolored patches). Apply a light layer of lotion to elbows, knees, heels, toes, etc to prevent those dryer areas from absorbing excess formula (which will result in darker blotchy patches). Petroleum jelly will act as a barrier for palms, nails, cuticles, or any other places you don’t want to tan.
St. Tropez offers up several options for face and body including sprays, lotions and mousses. It’s worth investing a little extra in their applicator mitt ($6.50) to help evenly distribute the product and keeps your hands from getting stained.
For an on-demand tan that you can rinse of immediately, their Wash-Off Instant Glow for face and One Night Only body formula is a cult favorite ($6.50-$42, sttropeztan.com).
On the flip side, gradual formulas are great for fair skin tones, but can sometimes be too subtle. So a personal favorite is a ‘medium-strength’ option, Jergens 3 Days to Glow lotion. You’ll get a noticeable boost of color after just one application, but still have the option to build up to a deeper color ($8.49; drugstore.com).
For those who like double-duty beauty, Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Glow Pads for face and body are fantastic, as they pack a punch with vitamins and anti-aging ingredients. The body version of the pads also contains a hair growth inhibitor ($32-$45, dgskincare.com). Dr. Denese’s Glow Younger Self-Tanning Gloves are not only super easy to use, but are also infused with peptide technology, and aim to soften the appearance of lines and firm skin's tone ($42 for 12; drdenese.com).
Last but not least, get a flawless finish by setting your new tan with a hair dryer and some body powder. Stand in front of a fan or use your hair dryer on a cool setting to help dry any tacky areas where the formula may not be drying. Then use talc to absorb excess moisture to help prevent streaking. Sprinkle some all over, but especially on high friction spots or any areas that tend to perspire (like under your "girlfriends"). Finally a quick blast with your blow dryer will remove excess.
NEW PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: VITA LIBERATA
It takes a truly special product to get me to switch from something tried-and-true, so trust me when I tell you—you've got to try Vita Liberata's 10 Minute Tan.
After exfoliating in the shower, dry off and wrap your wet hair in a towel to keep it off your skin and to prevent water drips. Apply the lotion wherever your tan is desired, rubbing it in large circular motions, then wash your hands.
Find a way to entertain yourself (fully undressed!) for 10 minutes, or a little longer for a deeper tan. Then get back in the shower and rinse off the product. Pat yourself dry with a towel and that's it—your tan will show up in four to six hours. You can get dressed right away with no risk of color rubbing off on your clothes or sheets. This product is a bit of an investment at $39 but it really, truly works, delivering an even and natural-looking tan that lasts for about four days.