Choose from one of our top tanning recommendations to give your skin a safe and healthy sun-kissed glow.
Every bride wants a beautiful bronzed glow on her big day, but what do you do when your skin is best described as “various shades of pale” rather than “golden brown”? You fake it.
But with so many tanning options available on the beauty market today it can be hard to determine which one will provide the most natural looking tan. Should you do-it-yourself or visit a tanning booth? Professional airbrushing or tan in a can?
Though the dangers of solariums and sun baking have made many of us embrace at home self-tanning, if you’re a beginner, the possibility of a botched application and being left orange-hued, streaky and smelly, on your wedding day of all days can be quite a turn off.
The good news for novices is that many of today’s self-tanners contain two key ingredients – Erythrulose and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – that their more tangerine-tinged predecessors didn’t.
Erythrulose works with DHA by reacting with the amino acids in the keratin protein on the outer layers of the skin. It encourages a deeper shade of brown, rather than an orange shade that DHA alone tends to produce. It’s also odourless, so no nasty smell factor.
The secret to successful tanning lies in the preparation. Regular exfoliating ensures a polished canvas for your tan to settle on. Moisturising twice every day, and not just when you’ve applied fake tan, keeps your skin hydrated, and as a dry dermis is the main culprit for uneven fading and an unnatural looking tan, the moisturising ritual is a must.
A word of caution though – whichever tanning option you choose, tread lightly – your wedding photos want to capture a happily glowing bride with just a hint of colour – not a tragic tanorexic!
Airbrushed to perfection
Having your tan applied by a professional is one of the best ways to ensure a flawless finish without streaks or uneven patches.
Even Nicole Kidman, famous for her porcelain skin, succumbs to the odd tanning session. She prefers St Tropez, which she has applied at Sydney’s Venustus Beauty and Body Lab in Paddington.
Airbrush tanning is applied with an airbrush spray gun that emits a fine mist of tan, applied by a qualified beautician.
Before your appointment make sure you shower, exfoliate and avoid moisturizing, as moisturisers leave a film on the skin which will give your tan an uneven coating when applied
We recommend: St Tropez and Sun FX.
Expert tip: Avoid using soap-based body washes which will strip your tan prematurely. Instead, use a body oil such as L’Occitane Grape Shower Oil.
Booth fake baking
If the idea of standing stark naked in front of a stranger is not your idea of a good time, then booth tanning is a good option. This method is so popular Victoria Beckham has her own booth installed in her home, ensuring her bronzed appearance all year round.
Quick and easy, it takes just a few minutes to strip off, apply barrier cream to hands and feet to prevent colour gathering in these areas where skin is thicker, and once in the booth, with a press of a button you are coated with a fine tanning mist.
Exiting the booth, quickly dry off and as with most tan applications avoid showering for at least four hours to maximise the development of your colour.
We recommend: Magic Tan (priced from $45).
Expert tip: Ensure you apply enough barrier cream to hands and feet otherwise you’ll end up with an uneven application.
Tan in a can
While you might think it would take a brave bride to self-fake tan before her big day, if you’re a regular self-tanner then today’s can and bottled tans are relatively fuss free and foolproof.
Kate Moss, Jade Jagger and Kylie Minogue are just some of the celebrities who are fans of at home spray tans, touting Model Co as the best product when trying to achieve a streak-free bronzed glow.
Can tans apply instant colour so you can see streaks immediately and rectify them. Application is made easier as many cans allow you to apply from any angle, even upside down, so you’re able to get to those hard to reach places. They’re also quick to use, once the spray is applied there’s no need to wait for the tan to develop.
One look at Megan Gale’s envious coffee-coloured complexion and you will realise that the David Jones brand ambassador is definitely doing something right. Her tan is courtesy of her own product, Jet Set Tan, a clear, dye-free, non-staining liquid which delivers a natural looking sunless tan. The non-staining formula prevents against staining sheets, towels and clothing, and has a pleasant caramel scent.
Other bottled options include creams, mousses and gels – all of which are easy to apply and work best when mixed with a small amount of moisturiser for even application.
Creams inject your skin with an extra dose of hydration, mousses are light if your skin is prone to oiliness, while gels are absorbed quickly into skin.
We recommend: Sisley Self-Tanning Lotion, Nutrimetics Bronze Glow Bronzing Gel and Neutrogena Instant Bronze Lotion In One.
Expert tip: Make sure you moisturise twice daily, in the morning and before bed, to extend the life of your tan.
Bride Tasmania's Tanning Tips:
– Always wash hands thoroughly after each self-tan application.
– Moisturise, moisturise, moisture. Colour fades quicker when skin is dry.
– The same goes for exfoliating. Colour can become patchy and fade unevenly when it clings to dead skin cells – especially in areas like ankles, elbows and knees.
– Don’t stray too far from your natural colour. The paler your skin the less natural a really dark tan will look.
– Fake tan two days before your wedding to let colour settle.
– Whether shaving or waxing is your preferred hair removal method, do so the night before a tan application as opened pores can become irritated when tanning products are applied.
– Make sure you modify your make-up to suit your new skin colour. Avoid pastel colours and choose bronze hues to flatter your new golden glow.
– Use dark coloured sheets, towels and clothing after having your application done. Trying to eliminate orange streaks from white Egyptian cotton bed linen is no one’s idea of fun.