What bride doesn't want perfect, glowing skin on their big day? But we know you aren't actually going to visit a tanning salon or lay out under blazing UV rays in the name of a tan, right? Take some time to perfect your sunless bronzing regimen before the big day, and you'll be absolutely radiant (not to mention healthy!) when you walk down the aisle. Follow these tips to get great sun-kissed skin without stepping foot outdoors.
Prep: Wax or shave 24 hours before applying color, says Sophie Evans, an expert in self-tanning at St. Tropez. And exfoliate eight hours prior to pro tanning or right before self-tanning. Then apply moisturizer to your knees, elbows, hands, and feet only. "The skin in those areas is dryer and ticker, so it gets darker quickly," Evans says. "A moisture barrier helps dilute the tanner."
Apply: Going DIY? Starting from your ankles, smooth tanner (try L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion, $9.99) to the front, back, and sides of your legs, fully coating your skin to avoid streaks. Massage onto hands and feet, blending in between fingers and toes. Wipe off your nails and palms, pat your skin with a dark towel until it feels dry, and don't shower for eight hours. Reapply every five days to maintain color. Your final application should be two nights before your big day. "That gives it time to develop," Evans says. "The day before your wedding retouch areas that need it."
Make it last: Attention, tropical honeymooners: Humidity, chlorine, exercise, and massages speed up the fading process. So if you want to stay bronzed without baking in the sun, pack a moisturizer, exfoliator, and gradual self-tanner in your suitcase. (We like Jergens Natural Glow, $8.49.) Moisturize every day, and exfoliate and reapply the tanner every three days to keep your glow all vacation long.