1. Fake Tanning
2. Total Body Fitness Crunch
3. Plan a well-deserved vacation
4. Swimsuit Shopping
I put the tasks in this order (namely with swimsuit shopping in dead last) because who wants to face the mirrors pale skinned and soft with no foreseeable motivation?
So here we go. Today I will address my plan for Step 1 - Fake the tan until it's real. I did the whole tanning bed approach in college and after coming back fried and lobster-esque every time (not to mention having to endure lectures from my mother and grandmothers) I gave up on the bulbs. It never works for me, and I hate the cringe of my skin after a pricy (and fast) fry. I've also tried the fake tanning sprays, 1-hr dying creams, and the bronzers. But my new go-to this summer is a similar product only different.
I've come to love the Dove product Energy Glow; a gradual tanning lotion with subtle self tanner components. I use the medium to dark level and LOVE the way it smells. To me, it's the perfect combination of light coconut, vanilla, and mojitos...(ok the last scent is me day dreaming). Three small pumps is the perfect amount for a leg and one pump will coat an arm perfectly and evenly. Although JJ hates the smell and tries to throw me in the shower every time I use it, it gives me the best (and fastest) tan for only $4 a bottle. *Note: The same bottle has lasted me since the first week of February!
Another favorite product that most of my friends and family use is the Jergens lotion which does the same trick. While I think Jergens is OK and effective, I found a similar lotion that smells 10 times better. The Hawaiian Tropic Island Glow Daily Moisturizer comes in three skin tone shades just as Jergens does, but it uses more of the floral and fruit extracts which gives it a better scent and less of the fresh-out-of-the T-Bed smell.
A third tanner to try is the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion. This one contains an SPF of 15 within the lotion and provides more Vitamin E to help create smoother skin in addition to providing sun protection. I've found this product to be a low-maintenance friend and only requires an application once or twice a week to build a nice base tan.
Now, for those "I need a tan NOW" moments (last minute party invite, random 80 degree day, etc) my go to product is the Neutrogena Instant Bronze Streak-Free Foam (Level 2). This definitely has more of a dying effect as you'll be running around with a hint of copper within 10 minutes of applying and a full tan will show within 2 hours. I prefer the foam because (a) You can see it easier than a spray (b) It won't spray all over your bathroom floor (c) It dries faster and spreads more evenly. While it won't last for very long (ie: after a few showers, it's gone) try this bad-boy for those desperation moments and last minute penny-pinching stresses.
And of course, when all else fails...hit the spray-tan option at your local tanning bed. If you can hold your breath for a full minute and don't mind spitting up brown particles after it's over, it's another great option for a full week's glow. Try to cash-in on the pre-summer specials they might be highlighting as well. A single session often costs around $30, but for the savvy shopper you can usually grab a two for the price of one deal or somtimes 3 sessions for $40.
*Note: For all you blushing brides out there, avoid this option less than 3-4 days before your wedding. No one likes an orange bride...especially the camera.