I’d like to preface this entry by saying that even though I’ve posted pics of my not-so-even tanner application, this is about learning from my mistakes and doing it right the next time. And there will be a next time because I really like this product.

My friend Kelly wafted into our lunch meeting back in March all goldeny-bronze and gorgeous. It was a subtle tan, but it was enough to make me comment on how “WOW!” she looked. Mostly because March here in Charleston was still fickle in its weather-settings. So all at once my thought process was “she looks so good with her tan. . . when did she have time to sit out and catch some rays. . . gosh, she’s a trooper with this weather.” Her secret was L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner.

Kelly smiled and told me about her self-tanner and gave me a quick run-down on her methodology. She’s got this down, but as you can see from the photo of my own feet, I need more practice.

So, in a nutshell, if you’re like me and meet any of these criteria, a self-tanner would be great for you:

1. You’re heeding the advice of every physician, beauty expert, television show, and magazine article and staying out of the sun because of the myriad of awful complications that go along with overdoing it.

2. You want a tan now!

3. You just feel better/healthier/sexier “with a little color.”

So here’s how the rest of the story goes. . .

I went to Wal-Mart and purchased L’oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion. It’s in a tube, it cost around $8. This is the product my friend had used, and it looked great on her. . . no orangey stained residue.

But here are some tips that the label on the tube doesn’t tell you:
* You can use this tanner anywhere. . . I started out using it on my legs, arms, and chest.

* Exfoliate first. This includes shaving your legs.

* Apply lotion to the creased areas. . . ankles, knees, behind knees, elbows, wrists, etc.

* Use latex gloves if you have them. . . this is actually very important because the tanning lotion will stain your hands. And speaking of hands, you do need to methodically, and carefully apply some tanner to the backs of your hands. This is where it gets tricky as you still need those latex gloves so as not to stain your palms or pads of your fingers. And you must be meticulous in this area. . .spreading tanner evenly. One method of applying to the backs of hands is to remove gloves, apply a small dollop of the tanner to the back of one hand, and run the backs of the hands together.

* Let tanner dry before putting on any clothes. This is vital to it not streaking or staining your clothes. So, that means, do this process when you have time; don’t do it as a part of a get-ready-quickly routine.

As you can see, I have some practice to do, especially around my feet. I look at this picture and see that I should have spread the tanner more carefully farther down the sides of my feet and more evenly on my toes. I’m willing to invest this amount of time getting this routine down so that I don’t have to “bake and turn” out on a beach. Those days are bygone. . . and my dermatologist is one happy lady.

One last note: this tanner comes in two formulations: “Medium/Natural Tan” and “Deep Natural Tan.” I went with the Deep Natural because my skin tone could handle it. If you are fair and want the most natural look, go with the lighter shade. It’s buildable and a few applications could make you look your tanned best.

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