Guide To Staying Golden All Spring
I don’t “need” a tan in the sense that I’m never super pale, but I need a tan in the sense that I look like a yellow, bruised, old squash if I don’t bring out the glow in my skintone on more than one occasion. Being sick and often anemic doesn’t help. Being on medications that make me extra sensitive to the sun also doesn’t help, but doesn’t actually stop me either (if there is a beach and a vacation involved, which is rare). I’ve had five or six biopsies requiring stitches over the years, with my largest area being near my lymph-node along my jaw line, and requiring a thick row of painful stitches (not my face! Whatever you do, not near my face!) The Dermatologist thought we should have seen a Plastic Surgeon to perform the surgery to make sure it didn’t leave a nasty scar at a young age, but fortunately, literally no one can tell since my jawline hides everything.
You’d think (due to my family and environmental lean towards skin cancer, my medication list and my fierce level of skincare vanity) that I’d avoid the sun like Naomi Watts at Disney World, but unfortunately, I don’t always have a lot of common sense. I am, at once, congruently paranoid about keeping my skin youthful (Vitamin C serums, tons of sunscreen, and then even more sunscreen), but I also love to sit on the front porch with my girls while they play, and bask in warmth whenever I can get a chance. It’s often the one thing that makes my aching joints feel less miserable, or my Vitamin D levels not infusion worthy… And so, yes, I am a complete and utter hypocritical paradox at all stinking times. Still, protecting my skin is a priority, so I’m trying to improve my shoddy habits with these 100% safe options.
My skin is a million different colors at all times.
I have an actual psychological complex about how much my face doesn’t match the rest of my body. No matter how much I try to align my shades of bronze, my body (especially my legs, stomach and forearms) stays way darker than the rest of me year-round. I’m sure some of this is because I’m extra cautious with my face and neck regarding the sun, or because I use more exfoliants on those areas… But either way, it’s annoying. I joke about it myself, and my friends tease me: but, especially when I’m anemic or feeling unky, I cannot fake the glow on my face enough to match my shades! Makeup doesn’t do the trick because makeup is temporary and can sometimes look like a mask if it’s too off shade. Instead, I’m trying to deepen my skintone with this super cool serum by L’oreal. I’m pretty phobic of self tanner as a whole (look at old photos and you’ll understand why), so I was nervous to try this at all.
I loved the idea of a serum that you can add to any aspect of your normal skincare routine, instead of a thick self tanner that can’t be mixed or measured according to your needs. I generally add one big glob to my nightly retinol cream, and apply thoroughly all over my face and neck. It has a very light self-tanner the smell… the kind that I secretly actually like, because it’s subtle and summery…and is yet to streak. In fact, all it does is bring my face down a shade- giving a soft golden cast without makeup. I have only been using it about once a week because I’m lazy and disorganized, so now I need to experiment with using it more often to really even out my palette. If you really want to increase your glow, you can add a pump or two to your regular body lotion, and apply it everywhere as well (just make sure to wash your hands after!) I’ve tried it once before on my body and it worked really, really, well. I didn’t have any obvious streaks and it blended right into my lotion of choice, but again, I’m too lazy to make that a regular habit. It requires at least 5 minutes of naked time in the bathroom, and my children literally never leave me alone so…. Maybe when they’re in college I’ll try it again?
I have wanted to write about this product for months, and wanted to find the perfect way to showcase. But, since life is insane and we mothers don’t always have time to think straight… Screw it. I’m just writing about it now (I can always do a more detailed post with Before and Afters later, if you guys want it?) I was creep-stalking this product for weeks online when I first read about it, and couldn’t wait for it to be available in the states. I tend to be a giant beauty nerd in the sense that I actually love the chemistry behind everything. (If I was good at math, that would have been my calling in another life.) One day I’ll have to make my own beauty line if only because I’m such an obsessee, I probably know more ingredient names and chemical combinations than Neil Degrassi Tyson, or someone who’s on the FBI Watch List… but I digress. This product has had mixed reviews online, to be honest. Most people said that it was too light to notice a huge difference. Others said they only noticed if they used it every single day in a row for awhile.
But, don’t worry: I cracked the system. For those who don’t know, this self-tanner is literally meant to be used IN the shower. Using the theory that wet skin has a more even, smooth surface without the dry, patchy spots we typically find, the product goes on in the shower so that you get a fool-proof, streak-free application. For the self-tan phobic like me: this is perfect. But, here’s the trick: you have to do all of your showering stuff first, turn off the water and lather the product all over your body in circular motions, leave it on for three minutes, and then rinse it off. Cool, right? A little chilly, yes, but cool? Absolutely. Except… being that it says “gradual” in the name, it’s exactly that. Subtle, slow and hard to notice. Perfect for super pale gals… Not so perfect for the rest of us.
Here is how to use Shower Tan so that it works amazing. For starters, I suggest doing all of your bathing stuff before you apply it, so you don’t have conditioner or shampoo suds messing up your application. Personally, I’ve been taking a bath for the shaving portion. I then stand up, and slightly pat my skin with a towel so it’s not soaking wet, just damp. This, mind you, is NOT recommended by the brand: its just my own weird hack. Works great for me, but likely wouldn’t for someone with lighter skin. Anyways, I then apply a healthy amount of Shower Tan to my entire body (anywhere that you want a glow- so don’t forget spots if you don’t want streaks), and hang out for 5 minutes instead of 3. I don’t have scientific evidence on how this tactic works versus what’s suggested, but I do have visual evidence in that my skin looked distinctly glowy on my second day of doing this routine (enough that I stopped for a few days). When it’s time to rinse, don’t rub at your skin- just let the water run everything off of you instead. Make sure that you don’t leave any rogue glob of suds running down your leg, because that will become a streak in the morning. It really IS streak proof from what I’ve seen, as long as you let the shower gently rinse everything away. Make sense?
The verdict is still a little bit out on this one. I got it because it was on super cheap sale at Walmart, and I liked the idea of using it daily to hopefully prolong my glow from sitting-outside-with-the-kids or any of the afore mentioned products. Again, I’m lazy, so whatever takes the least amount of work. I’m not sure if it’s essentially just a super-powered moisturizer, and a thick body butter wouldn’t do the same? So far I really like it: it smells amazing, it goes on silky smooth, and it doesn’t leave a weird chalky cast to my skin like some moisturizers. While most of my body lotions are white, this one has a golden color to it, so already I like it more. Time will tell if it actually extends anything more than hydration otherwise would… But I’d love your opinions as well. Have you ever tried this?
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