Leather (face) and lace….NOT a good combo…

Face it…. With the exception of some ethnicities who already have this in their favor by being born with it, we girls obsessively NEED to be tanned. 


 We love the overall glow and color a good tan gives us….how it makes our teeth look whiter and our whole being appear more vibrant and healthy.  But we also want to look YOUNG, and UNBLEMISHED, with soft touchable skin.  In the scheme of things, its a small request, right? .  It’s not like we gals are asking the Universe for Fame, Fortune, Celebrity or Money, right? (well…maybe money…)  So, is it TOO much to ask that every female be granted the ability to have a year round golden glow if she chooses, without the fall out from what it takes to get it?   Apparently so – since A LOT of us did THIS for years -: 





A LOT of us will have THIS to  look forward to for the remaining ones (and they can be LOOOOONG ONES):




Ah yes.  The infamous “Over-tanned and wrinkled old lady” from Something about Mary –  poster child for the “outcome of  Play now, Pay later” –   This isn’t pretty in any light, is it?

If you’re lucky enough to be under 30 and not already seeing this happy face in your mirror – BITE ME!  I HATE YOU!  

For the rest of you who, like moi, fear the day the first search party is sent out looking for your missing chin amongst the sags and wrinkles, it’s time to seriously reflect on the definition of the word  “sexy” – note that nowhere in the dictionary under “sexy” do the words  “dried” or “raisin”  show up in relation. And if you aren’t already traumatized by this public service reminder, here’s some backup singers with some bad DooWop to this little ditty!  Not only is tanning in any form harmful to your health and can most definitely convert that plum in to a Sun Maid box dweller while you’re under the age of 50, but the UV rays actually cause the collagen in your skin to BREAKDOWN (probably, like you’re doing now from reading this)  forming Sags and HANGING FLESH to drip “witch-like” from your nose, cheeks and chin (not to mention everywhere else).   

I always thought that sagging was caused by either good old genetics, a  “>tramautic weight loss or gain, or from obessively-compulsively pulling and stretching the skin during a psychotic episode.   Who knew? 

Anyway, I stopped hitting the tanning beds and laying out in the sun a few years ago –  comforting myself with the thought of all the money I’d be saving on tanning and tanning accessories, as well as saving my skin – but a life of looking like the Pillsbury dough-blob bummed me out more than a 5 pound weight gain nightmare.   Soooo…I needed to find some un-sunny alternatives that wouldn’t have me looking like I belonged at Sizzler on a plate.  But what could I do that would get me looking as good as the sun used to?  

Well, let’s start with the facts.  What did I already know about tanning, a good complexion and overall health in general? 

1. Lots of factors go into having great looking skin – but good health is the most important key. Drinking lots of water, eating foods that are nutritious for you AND your skin- along with getting adequate sleep and exercise are ingredients that are essential in looking your best from head to toe, and remaining healthy – no matter what your age.

3. Moisturizing every day (especially after bathing while the skin’s still damp) helps your skin to glow – with or without a tan. 

3. Exfoliation all over is necessary a few time a week to keep your skin looking it’s best – especially WHEN you’ve added some color – via sun, bed or bottled.  A lot of women have the misconception that sun or bed tanning frequently will keep your tan as fresh as it did when they got it,  but that’s just not how it works.   Your skin sheds its old cells daily in order to keep the process of renewal flowing – so it doesn’t matter how dark you get – it’s shelf life is short – just like that of a med-fly.   

OK so now what can you use to tan that’s affordable and really works?   OTC  tanning products are available to all of us these days..and they’ve come a long way from Q T tanning lotion. I myself naively trusted in the honesty of American brands  and wasted my babysitting money on that joke Q T, and like hundreds of others wound up looking like a “lolli pop” kid on dialysis.  Thankfully, there are now other ways of achieving a false bronzed look – Spray on tans you can purchase at salons, airbrush tanning machines, and thousands of brands of lotions containing everything from “light” bronzers to additives that will make you appear to have changed nationalities if you’re not careful in apply it.  And some of these products – like salon spray on tans –  can be very expensive.  But I found an effective, yet affordable solution.

I’m going to give you my own special  concoction that works wonderfully for me, won’t break your wallet and works with  a spray on tan OR if you’re starting out bareassed WHITE. 

What you will need to look like you’re tanning year round and how to apply it:

1. Some type of gel, lotion, or OTC spray on tanning solution. (Here are 3 I have used successfully):



Loreal Sublime (most drugstores) - under $10


Sally's Beauty - Tanwise - under $10


do-it-yourself airbrush tanning kit - around $30

2. Epsom salts for exfoliating (available at most dollar stores for a buck!) Anywhere else – under $3.

  epsom salt

 3.  Regular body moisturizer.  Also available at dollar stores for a buck!  (I go with a more cream than water-based lotion myself).



4. Access to a shower or bathtub.  (You DO have that, don’t you?)

Ready?  Ok.  

I don’t apply the tanning spray or lotion just like the bottle says.  I mix things up a bit…by cutting it down with lotion.  The normal procedure of applying any self-tanner is awkward for most people, especially me!, and no matter how carefully I think I’m applying my tanner it seems I always end up over-applying in certain areas, and missing other areas completely!  The lotion cuts down the strength of the tanning product and makes it go on smoother – especially if it’s applied when you’re exfoliated and your gams are shaved!  For you first-timers you might want to prepare the mixture in advance: 

Get a small plastic bowl and put a blob of moisturizer into it.  Now add some tanning product – if you bought tanning lotion squirt a good amount into the bowl with the lotion. If you purchased a tanning spray, or spray-ER, spray some into the lotion and mix well. (Since I want to see results RIGHT NOW! I always purchase a self-tanner with “bronzers”).

Take a nice warm bath or shower and exfoliate your whole body from head to toe with some watered-down epsoms salts to help get rid of dead skin cells that keep your skin from looking fresh. (Be very careful to not scrub too hard on places like your face, neck or breasts – a small amount with gentle pressure is all that’s needed for those areas).  When you get out of your tub or shower, dry off, but not completely.  You’ll want your skin slightly damp so the mixture can go  on smoothly.  

Slather some of your mixture onto your hands and start rubbing the lotion into your skin. I start from the top fo the chest down – do my torso, arms and legs and save the feet for last – applying more lightly.  Follow the same procedure with your face and neck – but MUCH lighter at first, as on places such as these “color” tends to show up in any wrinkles and lines that have taken up residence and we don’t want to create a public map to these places, do we?

 After you rub in the mixture, let it dry completely then get dressed if you’re starting your day, or go to sleep if you’re ending it.

Do this once a day after a shower or bath and work your way up to two applications per day – the other time being whenever is convenient for you.  When you do this in between bath time, you don’t have to have damp skin – just make sure it’s clean and free of any fragrances and anything else.

Got it? Good.

By the way, this is also a great way to stretch the hell out of the shelf-life of that “salon spray-on tan” – if you’re one of the lucky few who can still afford $17 or more a pop:

Follow the instructions for letting your new salon spray on tan set into your skin (usually about 4-6 hours before bathing).  After your tan has set for at least five hours you can shower or bathe with a gentle soap…but DO NOT EXFOLIATE the first day.  Apply regular body lotion ONLY while your skin is still damp as in the first set of instructions. Add a few drops of olive oil to keep  your skin REALLY soft.  Repeat this process into the second day.

On day 3 exfoliate LIGHTLY while bathing then apply your mixture of tanning product and lotion as above-mentioned.  (You may want to cut down on the amount of tanner you mix with your lotion for the time being if you’ve just gotten a spray on tan – you don’t want to look like you were dyed in reverse Michael Jackson-style.)



Whether you’re beefing up a spray on salon tan or starting from scary white, by following this routine you will develop and/or keep a healthy golden glow. And this really works, although it may take time and patience to achieve the color you want –  especially if you aren’t wearing any tan to begin with.  And you can adjust the mixture to add more product and less lotion as needed – this will speed up the color depth process.  (And remember –  selecting a product with color bronzers will give you a subtle instant glow to begin with).   

 Eventually you’ll end up looking like you’ve spent the week at a sunny beach somewhere – (even if the last trip you took was down a flight of stairs)…


4 Responses to “Leather (face) and lace….NOT a good combo…”

  1. October 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Great Article! I am a spray tanning technician, and as such, I have been afforded the opportunity to try many products. I have gotten the most natural, sun-kissed bronzed look by using EnvyTan products (www.envytan.com). When exfoliating Ambush is a great product, and I love the cinnamon pumpkin scent! After spray tanning I always suggest my clients use a tan extender. Body Armor is great and it has a small amount of DHA in it, so your spray tan will fade evenly. If my clients prefer to self tan at home EnvyTan has “Lasting Envy: Spray Tan in a can” and “Confidential: Self-Tanning Lotion for the Body”. The other thing I love about these products are that you do not have to be a salon to order them.

  2. October 31, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Hi Callie! Thanks for the great information, I am sure some of my readers will look into your products – I know I definitely will. 🙂

  3. June 24, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I have to admit that I’m jealous. I am so frigging pasty that one of the few times I got what I would call a tan–in Jamaica, after prepping with weeks of tanning bed sessions–I barely recognized myself. My husband’s half Colombian so he tans deep brown. Next to him, I look like a cadaver.

    I’m like Woody Allen. I don’t tan, I stroke. Every self tanner, even a new one, looks like QT on me. So my skin looks young, if bloodless. I’m also overweight so I snorted when I read about losing one’s chin under wrinkles. The extra fat smoothes out my lines but I have too many chins.

    Your advice is great. I wish I could take it. I envy all of you that can. I’ll be the flabby chick with the blue veins on her legs who pretends she doesn’t wish she were tanned like you.

    • June 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      Oh Kath. It just depends on what color you need to blend in and sub level in hiding from whomever it is we all hide from personally. Me? I like to blend in WITH NIGHT – so the cops don’t find me LOL…(just kidding ossifer…)

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