I get many emails asking me if my self tanners are good for very fair skin. If you are reading this then chances are that you as well have turned that dreaded orange from a self tanner or spray tan salon. Many of these women describe themselves as being redheads with freckles, or very pale that have never been able to achieve a tan in the sun. They ask me if I think that self tanning is just not for them.
Well the answer is NO 🙂 The problem is that unfortunately they just have not found the right product or have been to an experienced salon. Many times a little extra coaching on to what product is best for them is what they need and tips on how to use it properly. Orange comes from the following:
- A salon using a product too strong for your skin tone
- The tech having a heavy hand and applying too much product on your skin.
- You had picked a self tanning product too strong for your skin tone ( Just because you want extra dark does not mean your skin can take it).
- The product has a low quality form of dha.
- You had a heavy hand and applied too much product to your skin causing it to over process.
I was born a redhead with freckles and my tanning experience was burning and peeling (ouch) I had the thought that even if my freckles connected that looked somewhat like a tan and was better than being pasty. Growing up in Long Island I would crave the summers and recall even sitting on the tar roof slathered in baby oil (No wonder why I experience skin cancer now)
So I turned to sunless tanning and before I became a spray tan professional I have experienced all the same things as you have. So I want to share my professional tips on how to get that beautiful sunless tan that you are craving for.
First off, self tanners are not magic they are a cosmetic. Just because you want super dark does not mean that your skin will cooperate. There are different levels for a reason and that is because there are different skin tones. The depth of color that you will pull will be dependent on your starting natural skin tone and if you are able to achieve a tan in the sun.
So even if a product shows a picture of a super dark Mediterranean looking goddess and labeled a “Extra Dark” shade, if you are a ginger and buy that type of product I can guarantee you that you will be orange. It is just wishful thinking and many times it is not the self tanners fault, but the consumer who fortunately did not pick the right shade for their skin or just applied too much. So always read product labels as to recommendations and usage instructions.
Why is this you ask? The simple answer is because DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is the main ingredient in all sunless products. The darker the shade the higher level the DHA. And certain skin tones can only take so much dha before they start to turn orange. I know it is not fair but you cant change genetics. So even though you want to be dark, just because the label says so does not mean it is going to happen. So us pale pasty people need to start low and see what our threshold is.
With my self tanning products I recommend using them the same way that I would spray tan a client coming in my salon. I always recommend that very fair skin tones start off conservative. You can always add color but you cant take it away. So if you can not tan in the sun you have to be careful and start off and use a light shade or a light application.
If I have friends coming in together for a spray tan session and the pasty one says she wants to be the same color as her olive toned friend, I explain that it will not happen. I can spray each of them with the same color solution and each of them will pull a totally different color. So the same concept also applies with self tanners. Unlike painting a white piece of paper where the outcome of 10 pieces of paper will be identical , there is body chemistry involved with self tanners. The sunless tan is going to develop by interacting with your skin undertones.
Not everyone can get a dark tan and some people can only realistically handle a glow and anything higher will cause them to look unnatural, So I always say start light and gradually push the envelope.
What I would suggest my customers start out with is the following:
If you choose the regular self tanning mousse ( Medium to dark shade) start off by applying only one coat. That will adjust it to a light shade. If after developing it looks natural on you then the next time you can apply 2 coats and test it.
If you use the rapid mousse, the leave on times are from 1 hour for a light tan to 4 hours for a dark. So again, just because you want dark does not mean your skin can handle dark. So for the first application I would only keep it on for 1 hour and then rinse off (just water no soap ) and that would be the equivalent of what I would tan you with if you came into my salon.
If once it developed the color looked fine the next time you could leave it on a little longer say an hour and a half. Then if good then the next time do 2 hours etc…The longer you leave the product on the darker it gets. So with fair skin you have to be careful and start conservative. I call it baby steps. (And remember that with the ️rapid mousse you won’t see immediate color after rinsing. It still takes 8-10 hours to develop) So wait until the next day before you do another application.
Another option is the gradual tanner . It is not an instant option but this is a great a fail safe way to build your glow if you just want something very natural. Use the lotion 2x a day and the perfect glow will build over 4-5 days. Just stop applying when your desired level of color is achieved.
So I know first hand there is hope for us pale people. It is all about choosing the right products and starting off conservative. Any questions please feel free to contact me at Info@mwmelissaweinberg.com
Melissa Weinberg is the creator of Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty® and Perfect Glow Sunless™. She is the South Florida sunless tanning expert and her products are used by salons and spas worldwide.