I can’t believe It’s already that time of year for shorts, and here we are left to look at some white legs. Some people can embrace it, and others (like me) can not handle it. Tanning to me has been kind of a luxury, and dangerous activity that I’ve been doing since I was a senior in high school (before the laws changed over.) So yes, this post is going to be all about UV tanning, the dangers, protection, benefits, secrets and lotions because aaaalllllooooottt of people are being lied to by companies, or friends. I started tanning today, and just reminded myself of all of these super important steps. Not only have I been tanning since I was seventeen, but I also worked in a highly professional tanning salon for a while. I had to be educated in tanning itself, had to learn about different beds, spray tanned people, lotions and just about anything else you can think of. It was super interesting, and it also taught me how to take care of my skin despite participating in the dangers of tanning. I had a lot of happy customers and clients, and loved what I did! With full disclosure: Yes, tanning is obviously still bad for your skin. I’m not recommending that you tan, I’m simply here to help you if you do decide to tan, or are already tanning. You need to take precautions and educate yourself in what you are doing. The big scary cancer word is still a risk, and a risk that you are deciding to take. Moving forward!! So, you might decide that you want to start indoor tanning. When going to look for a salon, you need to ask about packages and what not, obviously. If the girl doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to levels, beds, and doesn’t even show you them, then she isn’t going to know how to tan you. Make sure you can feel that they are confident in what they are talking about. When it comes to the beds, the shorter the time, the stronger the bed. You need to start out about halfway (depending on your skin – if you burn easily then less than halfway) on the time. Most places don’t even give you a choice, out of respect to your safety. They aren’t being controlling, they just don’t want to put anyone in danger. Start out SMALL and SLOW. Also, switching up your beds is going to help with a great tan. Different beds, levels…it’s almost like a workout for your skin. It’s a great way to get results! But, you never start out in a high level. Also, I don’t believe in tanning every damn day. Three days a week, maybe four was perfect. When you start out tanning, lotion IS important. Yes, they are expensive. The cheaper they are, the crappier they are. It’s just the truth. Your three dollar lotion from Walmart is not doing you any favors. Why is lotion so important? Protection, better tan, moisture. You are participating in an act that dries out your skin. Moisturized skin is happy skin, and it tans better. Good lotions also provide a certain level of protection, and actually help the skin tan better as well. When you tan dry, you are not doing yourself any favors. Bronzers: Bronzers have a tinted look to the lotion itself, providing instant and fake color on top of you achieving your tanned color. This will come out in the shower, or when you shave, but it helps people reach a tan faster by providing that little pop of instant color. A good bronzer wont rub off, but some may, so be prepared. Also, a good bronzer should have a nice tint to you. Try a dab on your arm and see if you like the look and smell, because the nasty O word (orange) is a risk.
Liquid Assets is almost like a mix of a bronzer and intensifer. The smell of this lotion is strong!
Instensifiers: These are usually a light, or almost white color. This is more about getting the skin ready to tan, moisturizing it, and letting it achieve its color a bit more naturally but making sure that is intensified naturally. They smell great, they are usually light, and for people who don’t want to risk a left over color then this is your best bet. Tingles: Lawd have mercy. If you want to feel like the first layer of your skin is being peeled off, then go for it. A tingle irritates the crap out of your skin, making the blood flow faster and producing a more powerful and faster tan. This is where that whole “beauty is pain” comes into play. I refused to try one because I cannot stand to itch, which is usually the sensation people get, or a burning one as well. This should be for experienced tanning peeps only. Aftercare: This is where most people screw up. You may have your regular tanning lotion that you put on before the bed, but you need one AFTER. Yes, I’m serious. That Victoria’s Secret lotion, or Jergens? It has alcohol and sulfate in it. In fact, just about every lotion out there does, including your shaving cream and body washes. That STRIPS color, literally. You have to keep moisturizing your skin to maintain color, and you can’t just do it with anything. My favorite brand for this would be HEMPZ. It smells great, and it prolongs the tan while being extremely healthy for the skin. Face: Your face is the only one you have, and yes you are damaging it too because it is exposed! A super light sun block is advised, or a face lotion that helps protect it, but tan it too is beyond recommended. Like Crystals from Australian Gold – it has no bronzers in it because no one wants a fake color on their face, but it helps protect that color. “I put the towel over my face!” Um, yea that doesn’t do anything. Tattoo’s: Is everyone paying attention!!! One of the most important parts!! I cannot tell you the importance of protecting your ink. If you like your ink at all, then you NEEEEED a tattoo stick. Tanning ruins tattoos because it fades the color. Your black tattoo will turn faded and green. Invest in a tattoo stick that has a high sunblock level that you can run all over tattoo’s to keep them looking great. The tattoo sticks are best for people who have small ones here and there. If you have massive pieces, then you need to invest in a tattoo protecting lotion. Also, NEVER EVER tan with a new tattoo. After Smell: Yes, this is actually an issue. Tanning makes you smell weird – almost like you’ve been working out with a little toasty smell to it. Another reason why finding a lotion is important! Bonus! Teeth: Yes, you can whiten your teeth in the tanning bed! How awesome is that?! I did all last summer, and received lots of compliments. I was using “Twilight Teeth” which allows you to put a little dissolving minty tasting gel over your teeth, smile the whole time, then you are done! There is no rinsing, no pain, no damage. I did it every other tan, and if I missed one, they give you a little light to touch up at home. Yes, it actually works. Lotions in store are an investment, and they are expensive because they are skin care! A lot of us think “I’ll just buy offline, it’ll be so much cheaper!” I’ve been guilty of it too. The problem with this is that you have no idea what is in that bottle. You could’ve just paid for something that they switched out, or put something in to harm you on purpose. Buy from a trusted company if you do decide to take the risk of buying online. When it comes to spray tan, the only one I’ve had experience with is the Mystic Machine. It is fantastic for spray tans! You want to make sure the ingredients are Red Beet Based to give your skin red undertones because that is natural. Anything else will give you orange undertones…spraytan disaster. Be careful what boosters, scents and other things you put in your spray tan cartridge. You don’t want to go all out your first time! Also, you are putting something like paint (not really) on your skin, so you need to PRIME. Always invest in a primer if you become an avid spray tanner. Aftercare is exceptionally important for the same reasons of alcohol and sulfate – HEMPZ is still an option. My favorite brand of lotions always came from Australian Gold! I think that they have reasonable prices for the awesome lotions that have always given me great results! My favorite to use was a men’s actually, G for Gentlemen Natural Bronzer, because of the sexy man smell. Yes, I smelled like a man and I didn’t care. It also had tattoo protectant, and bronzers in the lotion. It was fabulous!! No, I’m obviously not sponsored, but check out the Australian Gold website to browse through their selection and find a way to order through them, or a store near you! I’m not saying you should be tanning, but if you choose to Fake ‘n Bake, I hope you enjoyed these tips to get you through to a successful and natural looking tan. -haley. @haleyann92