WHEN KEEPING IT REAL GOES WRONG: My Skin Looks Better With A Spray Tan, Okay?!

Did you get that Chappelle's show reference? God, I miss him.

Nov 18, 2011 at 3:30pm | Leave a comment

image

Do you know what’s more depressing and gloomy than the weather in New York City right now? My dull complexion.

While Hannah looks all retro-sexy with porcelain skin, the olive version of pale is a sickly shade of grey that doesn't work on anyone. And even though spray tanning isn't always part of my beauty regimen, this year I don’t feel like accepting my natural skin tone. Or my natural anything. Maybe the lips were a gateway drug and I’m heading toward full Kardashian. We’ll see...

Anyway, yesterday I stopped by discreet NYC tanning spot Bake find out how to achieve a believable winter tan at home and avoid looking desperate and orange.

It's founded by medical aesthetician turned tanning expert, Abby Feller, who's responsible for bronzing for some of the glowiest, most sun-kissed-looking stars on television. And she's obviously the perfect shade of Jennifer Lopez, so I trust her. Here's the deal:

PREP

The biggest mistake you can make pre-tan is aggressive exfoliation. You know that St. Ives scrub everyone loves so much? It’s actually packed with jagged little granules that leave tiny tears on the surface of your skin and make for an uneven foundation. Go for a scrub with micro spherical granules like Peter Thomas Roth Botanical Buffing Beads instead to gently slough off dead skin without tears.

Abby also swears by using an exfoliating mitt with normal body wash.

Next up, make sure your legs are freshly shaven. For a really clean finish, I always use a disposable Gilette Mach3. The sleek black razor looks much better in my shower than a tweeny pink Venus and I'm convinced it gives a smoother shave, too.

APPLY

For a believable, streak-free tan, look for a formula like L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Gel. Unlike tanning creams, this spray gel is easy to smooth evenly over skin and it's buildable so you can keep adding more until you're happy with the result. I'm also obsessed with Neutrogena's MicroMist Sunless Tan. I used to use this stuff compulsively a few years ago and actually forgot about my natural complexion the way some blondes forget they're brunettes.

MAINTAIN

To protect your color, shower with lukewarm water instead of hot, and when you get out, gently pat yourself dry since rough toweling makes for accidental exfoliation! Then extend the life of your tan even more by keeping skin hydrated with a lightweight natural moisturizer like Kiehl's Creme de Corps, since certain ingredients like salicylic may breakdown your color.

After my tan with Abby, I freaked out about sweating bronzey skidmarks all over the white lining of my Carven dress, but I put it back on and the color didn't budge. I definitely smelled a bit anti-social though, which didn't stop me from going to this Wired party and perving on Theophilus London.

As usual, I love my slightly enhanced ___. This time it's skin tone. What do you think? Is spray tanning tacky and unnecessary? Sexy and essential? Let's talk about it.