Sunless Tanners: Lotions, Sprays, Gels, and Mousses continued...
Egashira says that she has found that self-tanning lotions tend to last slightly longer than sprays.
Some sunless tanners work gradually and build up color over a few days -- a boon to beginners testing the waters as well as those who want to tan subtly. "That's great for someone who maybe wants to build it up over time," Egashira says, "so that it's not, one day, you're fair, the next day, you're dark."
Julie Morgan, a makeup artist who works in Los Angeles and New York, recommends Jergen's Natural Glow as a good drugstore choice for building up a gradual tan. Egashira likes Sephora's Body Intense Moisturizing Bronzing Lotion.
Fast-acting sunless tanners can create a bronze glow in as little as two to three hours, great if you’re short on time or need a glow for a special occasion.
Experts praised certain brands, such as Clarins, Dior, and Estee Lauder. In particular, Morgan, an airbrush tanning expert who has tanned celebrities such as Naomi Watts, recommends Clarins Intense Bronze Self-Tanning Tint for Face and Decollete and Clarins "Delicious" Self-Tanning Cream for the body.
Another of Morgan's favorites: Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze collection of self-tanners.
Sunless Tanning: Preparation Is Key
Experts say that sunless tanners require more preparation than a cosmetic bronzer.
Morgan advices waxing or shaving the day before applying a sunless tanner. Shower and exfoliate the skin just before applying the product to allow the tanner to penetrate evenly.
Pay special attention to exfoliating "the parts that are really dry -- the elbows, feet, and hands -- because that's where it's a dead giveaway when you do the self-tanner," Jenna Anton, a makeup artist based in New York City, says. A tanner can settle into creases and turn too dark or orange.
After showering and exfoliating, experts say to skip any moisturizer, lotion, or deodorant, which can interfere with even absorption of the tanner.
One exception: Apply a small amount of light lotion or moisturizer to very dry areas, such as the hands or feet, to prevent too much tanner from soaking in and darkening.