Spray tans have come a long way. Gone are the days of bad-smelling formulas, orange skin and streaky lines. Us Weekly senior reporter Travis Cronin stripped down and teamed up with St. Tropez ambassador and celebrity spray tan artist Sophie Evans to show you just what a difference a contour-based spray tan can make. If you’re going to the beach or prepping for a run-in with an ex and haven’t been hitting the gym as much as you’d like, a good spray tan is the quickest way to get the body definition you want. We contour our faces to create shadows and highlights, so why not do the same to our bodies?
The first step to a great tan, which lasts for 10 days, is prepping the skin. Evans recommends using an exfoliating skin wash the night before to remove all the dead skin cells. This way, the spray tan is sitting on a clean, fresh layer of skin. The morning of a spray tan, don’t use any oil-based moisturizers on the face or body; oils can block the color application. But do moisturize, particularly the drier parts of the body and the nails. “I call this the tan commandments,” she tells Us. “You must moisturize the elbows, knees, hands and feet. This dilutes the tan because in these areas the skin is more transparent, so it holds more of the color and will appear much darker. It’s also very important to put moisturizer on the nails.”
Next, if you’re doing this at home or on your own, start by holding the spray can, Evans recommends St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mist ($35, at Sephora.com) 8 to 12 inches away from the skin and spraying evenly. Evans, who has tanned the likes of Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Hugh Jackman, recommends one coat for a “one week on the beach” look and two coats for “two weeks on the beach.” After you lay down the base, it’s time for the transformation: the contour.
Contouring the body can take pounds off your tummy, arms and legs, and also help bring out any muscle definition (or disguise a lack thereof!). “Make sure to use a darker color than the base for the contour,” Evans tells Us and recommends St.Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mist ($40, at Sephora.com). “Spray that base down the sides of the stomach, inner thighs, around the jawline, on the cheeks and even on the eyelids for a little semipermanent eye shadow.”
As for technique, “I like to follow the body’s natural lines,” she shares. “Don’t try to create any new shapes on the body. Just follow your natural body lines with the darker tan color.”
When you’re happy with your transformation and color, make sure everything is perfect and blended. “Go over the tan with a dabbing mitt or a towel, just to blend in all the color that may be be a little wet,” Evans advises. “Grab some baby wipes and go over the nails on the hands and feet. You don’t want the color to sink into the nails. After that, put some powder in the places you’re going to sweat. For women, that’s below the breasts, under the arms and around the neck. This will stop you from sweating and possibly streaking your fresh tan. Also, don’t forget to run the baby wipes under the soles of your feet, because you may have stepped in some tan during the process.”
A final tip from Evans: “Don’t forget to moisturize every day to extend the life of your tan. The color will fade off the face and hands first, so you can just hit those areas with some extra tan as needed.”
And that’s it! So if your summer body isn’t yet where you would like it to be, go down to your local Sephora, CVS or any drugstore and give yourself some definition in your own bathroom.
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