The Essentials of Becoming a Golden Goddess

We live in very sunny parts of the world, where it’s essential to put on sunblock before you even think about stepping outside. But, being skin conscious doesn’t mean you have to be an alabaster bride, as there are all sorts of ways to achieve a healthy, sun-kissed glow. Read on for all the do’s and don’ts of bronzing on your big day.

Fake tans generally fall into two categories: cosmetic bronzers and sunless tanners. Cosmetic bronzers can be compared to regular makeup, as the application is similar, and you get to wash it off at the end of the day, while sunless tanners stain the skin to achieve a darker colour, and only fade when you lose skin cells.

Cosmetic Bronzers

These products are usually applied to the face, and come in a range of forms: powders, gels, spray, creams and sticks. They are generally easy to apply, and they last from a few hours, up to a full day, depending on the quality of the product (and when you wash your face!). Bronzers have warm tones that mimic a healthy tan, and give your skin a radiant glow – just what every bride wants on her wedding day.


Bronzing Powders

Powders are by far the most popular form of bronzer. You can use pressed or loose powder, and it’s available in a variety of shades. It’s easy to blend, you can place it perfectly wherever you want, and it instantly makes you look like you’ve just come back from Bali.

Bronzing Gels

These are harder to apply and dry quickly, which means that your results can vary. This is a concentrated product and it requires some experience to correctly apply it. Add a small amount of gel to your moisturiser and apply it over your face, neck and chest.

Bronzing Spray

This is a quick and easy way to fake a tan, but it can be messy, so apply the spray while you’re in your bathtub. They’re usually water-based, so if you find that you’ve created a Jackson Pollock on the wall behind you, you should be able to hose it down without a problem. Use it on your face, neck and chest, and apply under natural light to get the right effect.

Bronzing Cream

This is a good choice for dry skin as it moisturises while leaving a healthy tan. It blends easily onto your skin, or over foundation, but use it before powder to avoid caking and streaking. Apply using fingers or a sponge.

Bronzing Stick

It’s quite similar to a deodorant stick and it’s popular for its no-hand application. You can also dab the stick onto problem areas like scars, and then blend the colour using a sponge or your fingers, to hide the imperfections. Use powder to set the bronzer so it won’t rub off.

General Bronzing Dos:

– Choose a colour closest to your natural skin tone, no more than a shade darker, and preferably matt
– Pick a product that suits your skin type (sensitive, oily, combination)
– If your hair is up, remember around your ears and your hairline
– Apply and blend down your neck and décolletage
– Touch up during the day
– Focus on areas that naturally get sun, such as cheek bones, the bridge of your nose and your chin
– Work slowly – you can always add more colour

General Bronzing Don’ts:

– Avoid anything too dark or too orange
– Shimmer could collect in the creases of your face, and it may also make you reflect like a disco ball in your photos
– Using the same products throughout the year is a no-no, as your skin is different depending on the season
– Too much bronzer can make you look dirty
– Collar bones and shoulders shouldn’t be forgotten, so apply shimmer to accentuate them
– Applying bronzer to your entire face is unnatural, you should be highlighting and contouring certain areas

Self- Tanning/ Sunless Tanners

All sunless tanning products contain a substance called DHA, and while it sounds scary, it’s actually safe to use. It works by turning the topmost layer of your skin darker, and as your skin cells get rubbed off, the tan will begin to fade. It’s considered semi-permanent and usually lasts between 3-7 days. Bronzers come in many forms: sprays, lotions, gels, mousse or towelettes, and there are specific products for the body and more sensitive ones for the face.


Self- Tan Spray

This is one of the most popular types of self-tan, and as the name suggests – it’s a tan that gets sprayed on. You can have it done in a booth at a salon, by using an airgun, or spraying from a bottle. It’s a quick and effective process when you have it applied professionally, but it can be tricky if you’re at home alone, and you’re trying to reach between your shoulder blades. Your spray-on tan looks best on the second day after application, so book your session for 2 days before your wedding, but only if you’ve been before and know exactly how your tan will look.

Self- Tan Lotion

The appeal of a lotion is that you moisturise while gaining a tan. Many companies have also created products that have a small amount of DHA, and this allows you to gradually build your tan over time. The more you use, the darker your skin colour will be, but don’t be hasty as your colour takes time to fully develop.

Self- Tan Gel or Mousse

These both dry fast and so they need to be rubbed into the body quickly, to stop you from streaking and blotching. Neither seems to lasts as long as a lotion.

Self- Tan Towelettes

These individually wrapped towlettes are rubbed onto your face and body in a circular motion, but shouldn’t be pressed too hard or you’ll get an uneven result. Use only one per application and repeat every 3-4 days to maintain your tan.

General Self- Tan Dos:

– Exfoliate before you apply self-tan – especially knees, heels and elbows – to minimise blotching.
– Wax or shave a day before your session, so your pores have time to close.
– Get help for those hard-to-reach places.
– Apply moisturising lotion to your elbows, knees, hands, around the edges of your feet and between your toes  to create a barrier as they tend to go darker than the rest of your body.
– Remember around your hairline, and on and behind your ears.
– Have a trial run long before your wedding day.
– Lighter is better than darker.
– Wait a few hours to see if your colour is developing.
– If you have a sensitive skin it’s essential to test the products first, to see if you have a reaction.

General Self- Tan Don’ts:

– Remove all moisturisers, deodorants, perfumes and makeup on the day, as these prevent you from getting an even tan
– Follow your instructions and wait before putting your clothes back on
– Applying products up and down will cause streaking – rather apply in a circular motion
– Immediately wash hands after applying products to avoid staining, or wear gloves
– Don’t shower for at least 8 hours
– When you wash for the first time, don’t use soap, and then pat yourself dry – don’t rub
– Avoid soaking in water – especially if it’s chlorinated
– If you tan on your wedding day you could stain your beautiful white dress
– It’s about enhancing your skin tone, not changing it
– Leave the skin-tight clothes in your cupboard for a few days

You don’t want to blend in with your ivory dress, but you certainly don’t want to look like an Oompa Loompa, and that’s why it’s important to test all bronzers and sunless-tanners before you walk down the aisle. There are products to suit every skin tone, and you need to find that perfect shade, so that you suggest a tan, rather than fake one. Having a beautiful tan doesn’t mean you need to risk skin damage, you can achieve they perfect sun-kissed, holiday look to ensure that you walk down the aisle looking tan-tastic.