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It has never been easier to get a natural-looking bronze. Gone are the notorious orange tint and unpleasant smell, replaced with advanced formulas that dry instantly, smell sweet, and create a faux tan so real-looking that nobody will know it came from a bottle. Here, a primer on achieving sun-kissed radiance.
The single most important step for a streak-free tan? "Exfoliation, exfoliation, exfoliation!" says Regina Viotto, spa director of New York City's Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. To guarantee even coverage, use a scrub in the shower, followed by moisturizer to hydrate rough patches, which tend to sop up color. For goof-proof application, pick a tinted product, so you can see exactly where you've already put the tanner. Post-tanning, use a hand-wipe on palms to remove residue, advises Fiona Locke, senior sunless technician for California Tan, in Los Angeles. Finally, reapply at least once a week -- and to avoid streaks, always wait three hours before using a second coat. Happy bronzing!Our Self-Tanning Picks
If, like many women, you notice that your face feels oilier during the sweltering summer months, you may want to send your thick, creamy moisturizers and cleansers on vacation. Then try lightening up your skincare routine with gel-based products. Although gels have traditionally been recommended for breakout-prone skin, we're now seeing them formulated for all skin types -- dry, combination, and oily. Gel-based skin products feel more soothing on contact than creams or lotions, thanks to their cool consistency. And because they're water-based, they evaporate quickly, leaving skin energized and refreshed. Also, some formulas tighten pores to make them appear smaller and minimize overall shine, which means smoother, prettier skin. Gels are available as light-as-air hydrators, and also as toners, exfoliators, and cleansers, meaning you can fit one anywhere in your regimen. Getting gorgeous, healthy skin this summer is suddenly no sweat!Our Skin-Cooling Picks
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, a day in the sun can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it looking and feeling less than desirable. "Skin responds to sun damage with redness, tenderness, inflammation, and dryness," explains S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, a Miami-based dermatologist. "Depending on your skin tone, damage can begin occurring in as little as five minutes." She adds that while skin does naturally repair itself, this protective function decreases with age and accumulated damage. Help your skin help itself with after-sun products, which are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C or E that combat free radicals. Other ingredients to look for include shea butter, which has moisturizing benefits, and soothing aloe vera or lavender oil, which are excellent for alleviating inflammation. Not only do these ingredients feel great on irritated, flushed skin, but before long, your skin will be back to its original soft, smooth, even-toned state.Our Sun-Repairing Picks
While summer is the time to revel in warmer temperatures, longer days, and balmier nights, it's also time to wear skin-baring shorts, tanks, and bathing suits. For many of us, however, this means razors or depilatories are required to get hibernating body parts ready for their warm-weather debut. Luckily, there's a slew of new products that make hair removal easier and faster than ever. The newest razors minimize nicks and scratches, and some even have extra skincare bonuses, such as exfoliation. As for depilatories, the newest versions come in fruity scents and quickly dissolve hair while keeping your skin soft.Our Hair-Removing Picks
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, July 2005.