Sunless Tans: What You Need to Know
By Michelle Walters with Island Glow, LLC
You’ve planned every detail of your wedding. You’ve found your something old, borrowed, new, and blue. You’ve even mastered your hair and makeup style and nailed down what your bridesmaids’ look will be. It’s okay to be a DIVA – it’s your day! The last thing you want for you (and your bridesmaids) is a spray tan mishap, like bronzers staining your beautiful white dress or that dreaded orange tan that will forever haunt you in your pictures.
Wedding makeup artists see hundreds of sunless tans gone bad on a weekly basis — whether it’s from a bad spray tan or selecting the wrong self-tanner. Have no fear, we have your sunless tanning FAQs answered. We know wearing white can be taunting! Here are the best tips so you’ll look your best and have that sun-kissed glow when you walk down the aisle.
1. When is the perfect time to get your spray tan?
The earlier the better so you can do a trial run. But if you end up waiting until the last minute, we suggest getting a fresh spray tan no later than 48 hours prior to your wedding. This gives you time to have at least two showers to wash off the bronzers prior to wearing your wedding dress. By day one your tan will have already started to settle into your skin and you will be encouraged to follow the aftercare instructions to keep that flawless glow. You’ll also have time to be sure it looks great everywhere and be sure that your hands and feet didn’t absorb too much of the tan. And if it isn’t perfect …you’ll still have time to get it fixed or touched up.
2. Is there any chance it will transfer to my dress?
Not usually, as long as you have had a chance to shower twice between the time you received your spray tan (or applied self-tanner) and when you put on your wedding dress.
3. White is an extreme color to wear with a tan. How should you pick what shade to go with?
You’ll want to have a consultation with your spray tan artist and talk about factors that will help decide the perfect shade. If you’re using a self-tanner, these rules still apply. You’ll want to look at your current base color, hair color, time of year you are getting married, the color of your dress, etc. We don’t suggest tanning more than two shades darker than your current natural skin tone because it will look
less natural. You’ll also want to research what undertones would look best for you. Spray tans and self-tanners can vary in undertones: green, red, caramel, violet, etc. Each of these will give you a different finish. We suggest you start one month prior to your wedding and book a trial spray tan so you can feel more confident in selecting the color that looks best on you.
4. What should you look for in a tanning salon or self-tanner?
Choose a place that doesn’t use the same color shade for everyone. That is a really bad sign, a REALLY BAD sign. Also find out what spray tan formula, including undertones, they use. Most salons carry their recommended self-tanners, so you can ask these same questions if you’re going the DIY route.
5. I want to look darker than my usual tan, but I’m nervous the initial spray tan may be too dark, and I’ll come off looking too orange.
We recommend a “double dip” technique with your spray tan or self-tanner. What this means is you will book an initial spray tan 4-5 days prior to your wedding day and ask for the lightest formula so it will have 48 hours to settle in and provide a beautiful base tan. Be sure to follow the aftercare to protect and moisturize your skin. Next, you’ll book your wedding day tan, or your second dip, 48 hours prior to your wedding day and use either the same shade or 1-2 shades more for a darker tan.
Michelle Walters, a local/international published Makeup Artist owns Island Glow, a professional sunless tanning company. She offers airbrush spray tans as well as airbrush makeup services. She has combined her glamour team of the best talent in the Richmond area to include hair stylists and a lash extension pro.