You’ve worked hard for that sexy core, those toned legs and sculpted arms. Now, some strategic highlighting will really do them justice. Although tanning is not the pop culture here, a tanner can come in handy to perfect the body you’ve worked so hard for. We’ve enlisted the top beauty and bronzing experts to share their wisdom.
1. Prep, prep and prep!
Because you’re going to start with self-tanner and it develops darker on patches with excess dead skin cells, exfoliating is key. “Pay special attention to dry areas like knees, heels and elbows. The smoother your skin is in general, the more natural your result will look,” explains Melanie Mills, a makeup artist who has worked on Dancing With the Stars. To ensure you evenly scrub every inch of your body, Mills recommends using loofah mitt: Step into the shower and squeeze just a little soap or mild body wash onto the mitt – heavy, oily cleansers may interfere with your skin’s absorption of the tanner. Rub your body in circular motions. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Even out your skin tone
Thanks to everyday sun exposure, your chest and arms are probably a bit darker than your stomach and thighs. Plus, if you’ve been exercising a lot outdoors, you may also have tan lines from your racerback sports bra, tank, tee, or shorts. “Tan lines divide your body, causing it to appear blocky,” notes celebrity tanner Jimmy Coco, whose famous clients include Ariana Grande. “Erase them and you’ll instantly look longer and leaner.” To do that, smooth a gradual self tanning lotion on the palest areas every day until they match the rest of your skin (stop exfoliating during this time or you’ll rub of the color). Then spray a body bronzer all over for a perfect, seamless tan.
3. Zero in on a feature
Pick the body part you’re particularly proud of and apply a light-reflecting powder to that area. “It acts like a spotlight, drawing the eye to your beautiful curves and muscle tone,” explains Heidi Klum’s makeup artist Linda Hay. Highlighting (a.k.a. luminising) powders come in a range of colors, but Mills recommends a rose-gold hue. “It’s always gorgeous on everyone,” she says, and will play up your bronzed skin.” Once that spray bronzer you applied is completely dry, swirl a large fluffy brush in the powder, tap the brush to shake any excess, then dust it over your skin. If you want the focus to be on your shoulders and back, sweep the shimmer across the top of each shoulder and the on the pointy edges of your shoulder blades.
4. Set it and forget it
Don’t let your efforts melt away the minute you walk outside. “Seal your shimmer with a water-or-sweat-proof sunscreen mist,” Mill says. It’s like hairspray for your skin, freezing your makeup in place – and you need to apply in anyway. One more tip from Mills: “If you swim, avoid rubbing your skin with a towel, which will buff off your makeup. Instead, pat.”