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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do sunless tanning creams really work?

The first time I put on shorts a few days ago, I couldn’t believe how white and washed out my skin had gotten. I think we forget about tanned legs when we are faced with snow and below zero temperatures. Throughout the country, record highs are being experienced even though it is just mid-March, but there are still cold days ahead as we move into spring.

During these warm to hot days, I prefer to have a bit of color on my legs vs. facing the world with these 2 white sticks! This is where self-tanners come into play. Of course I use Yonka’s sunless tanning products, and my absolute favorite is *Lait Auto-Bronzant. (*See update below.)

No matter which self-tanning product you use, here are some guidelines to follow that will hopefully help you get a good-looking fake tan without incurring the added sun damage of a real tan.
  • I like to apply the tanning product right after a shower. I always use a body lotion after baths and showers (to help keep my body skin soft), so I just substitute the self-tanner for my normal lotion.
  • When using a self-tanner, you do need to be careful where you apply it as well as making sure you get it on evenly to avoid blotchiness. Watch out for bony areas like ankles, elbows, and wrists. These places can appear darker if you apply too much product.
  • After applying, it is best to not put on clothing for a little while. I like to give the product at least 10-15 minutes to soak in. Otherwise you run the risk of it coming off on your clothes and getting uneven color on your skin.
I do this process 2 days in a row. Why? I have found one day is not enough and 3 days in a row is too much—the color starts to look self-tannery (aka fake). Then I’ll wait 3-4 days before reapplying. This schedule seems to work best for me and my coloring. You may need different timing depending on your skin tone.

I personally never apply self-tanners to my face, but you absolutely can. For me, since I don’t wear any makeup, it feels—well, like I have put makeup on. So I just go with the natural coloring of my face. There really isn’t anywhere you can’t apply this type of product.

I’m including a funny story to show how well these sunless tanning products work. The following happened while I was living in Chicago several years ago.

Being the eternal experimenter, I wanted to see how well the Auto-Bronzant worked, so I put it on one leg only over 2 days (two applications). It warmed up in Chicago and my now ex-boyfriend and I went to play golf. Of course I was wearing shorts.

While we were walking to the clubhouse, I got ahead of him. The next thing I heard was, “
What is going on with your legs?! They are different colors!” Oppsie.

I had to laugh. I had completely forgotten about my self-tanner experiment! The good news is my “tan” leg looked great
very naturally tanned. The other leg got a tan right after my golf gamebut beforehand it really did look lily white from a long Chicagoland winter!

UPDATE 12/2016:
Yonka has discontinued Lait Auto-Bronzant; see link below.

For more information, see: