Tuesday, March 18, 2014

6 Steps to Achieving the Perfect Sunkissed Tan

It's weird how we Filipinos are blessed with a beautiful golden hue and beaches a hop, skip, and a jump away, yet the majority of products we see in beauty aisles are all related to becoming unnaturally white. I remember when I was in high school, the soap in the shower was Silka Papaya, Block & White lotion was all the rage, my mom had me taking glutathione before it became all the rage, and I was to wear a jacket and tote an umbrella around no matter how hot it was outside to maintain my glow-in-the-dark complexion.

Yes, I was the "ideal color", but I wasn't happy. I looked pasty and sickly. I tried to get some color on me. I really did. But everytime I'd lie out on the beach to brown up, I just ended up turning lobster red one day and sunburned the next - no matter how much sunblock I'd slather on. I just couldn't understand it. "Was this the effect of too many whitening products?" I thought to myself. I had almost given up all hope of ever being golden like Solenn, until that trip to Cancún  a few years back where a friend of mine taught me her secret for bronzing up and staying that way - no matter what the weather.

So if you've always wanted to rock that perfect sun-kissed tan 12 months out of the year, here's what you need to do:

Before hitting the beach or hanging out poolside, give yourself a good scrub down and slough off any dry skin first. I usually do this a night or two before. I prefer to make a homemade scrub out of brown sugar and virgin coconut oil (this is great as a lip scrub, too!), but I'm also partial to The Body Shop's tropical smelling Coconut Body Scrub and their limited edition Valentine's special Chocolate Body Scrub. I swear, half the time I don't know if the smell of deliciousness is coming from my kitchen or my bathroom.

Before you go off to your sun salutations, a good douse of sunscreen is important - you want to look sunkissed, not crayfished. I love how convenient Target's Up & Up sunscreen is - there's no goopy, sticky feeling after. You just spray it on, spread it around a little bit, and wait for it to dry. Since I can't get my cheap Target sunscreen over here, I have to settle for the way more expensive and also harder-to-find Beach Hut spray on sunscreen, or stick to the affordable-yet-sticky Nivea Sun sunscreen lotion. Ick.

After applying sunscreen, brown up with - what else - browning lotion! My friend swore by this, and now I do, too! This costs a pretty penny, but if you're serious about turning a glistening shade of gold - or bronze, depending on your original skin tone - then invest in this! A few shops like Strip and Brown Belly sell it here. A more affordable local version (I think) is Real Tan. A couple of my friends swear this works as well, but I haven't tried it myself, so I'm just taking their word for it. These two brands are as organic as they come, using natural ingredients like coffee to give you that perma-vacationer hue.

If you want to brown really quickly, you can also opt to slather on coconut oil as a substitute. Just don't stay out in the sun for too long - 20 minutes tops! And if you smell sizzling bacon with a side of latik... well, that's not a good sign.

When out tanning, keep in mind that your lips will darken as well unless you protect them. I'm partial towards Nivea Sport lip balm (it hasn't let me down yet!), but Hurraw! is also a nice option, especially if you support all-natural products, and the cute packaging of EOS is all the rage these days. Just pick a balm for your pucker that comes with SPF protection, and you should be fine.

After baking n the sun all day, take a lukewarm shower and slap on a hydrating mask to keep your face from peeling the next day. I find the ones as Missha and Faceshop to be quite affordable yet very effective. Aside from your face, your body is totally parched and needs a tall glass of water too, so slather on a good amount of aloe vera gel or lotion to keep the sunburn at bay (or at the very least, minimize the pain). The Banana Boat brand s pretty easy to find at most department stores, but I personally like the Jason's cooling Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion.

When I spend a few days by the beach, I keep my tan extra dark by layering on Jergen's Natural Glow Moisturizer as a base, before putting on a thin layer of L'Oreal Sublime Bronze, which are both natural tanners. This just gives your tan that extra oomph it needs, and works wonderfully well when you actually put in the work to achieve an even tan. You can still use this without heading to the beach or lounging by the pool, but you may start to look like an oompa loompa if you solely rely on self-tanning products.

After you come back from your much deserved vacay, you'll notice that the first thing that starts to lighten is your face, since you scrub and clean it daily. I keep my face glowing with St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse - another natural tanner that has a gentle formula, so you don't break out. You can use this on your body, too, but since your best chance of buying this is through Amazon, I suggest you save the contents of the bottle for your face and neck.

After finally learning to tan, I have never looked back. Gone are the days of being so white I was practically luminous! Being tan, my face looks smaller, my legs look leaner (and longer!), and I love the "just came back from the beach" look. I'd recommend this to anyone who asks!

When mucking around Manila, ditch the whitening products and join the rest of the sun worshipers instead! Keep these six steps to achieving the perfect sunkissed tan in mind, and you won't have to worry about burning, peeling, or getting an uneven tan ever again!

Just mucking around Manila,

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