The best thing you can do to prep for glowing skin all summer long is just what you’ve already been doing throughout winter: exfoliating and moisturizing. “The key to looking bronzed and flawless is that plump, soft, supple-looking skin,” says Natalie Gee, co-founder of Gee Beauty in Toronto and Bal Harbor, Florida. For a healthy pre-tan base, Gee recommends exfoliants such as Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, and prefers hydrating serums—think SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 gel—to heavy creams (all available in the salon).

Gee takes us through the necessary skin care prep and self-tanning tips to
ensure a healthy summer glow that will only get better throughout the season.

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Just as when shopping for a new moisturizer or
fresh summer scent, it’s always a good idea to take a sample of tanning products from different brands and patch-test them on your inner arm. “Apply a small amount, wait a night and the next day you’ll be able to see what the colour is,” and if it matches your skin tone, says Gee. But the outcome of the tan—and preventing skin from turning orange—comes down to application. “We apply all of our tanning products with a tanning mitt, which basically looks like a sponge that you could wash dishes with, but is much softer and formulated to apply a tanning product.” This ensures a smooth, streak-free tan.

Build up your tan gradually—especially when coming out of winter months. “Mix some face cream or body moisturizer very lightly into the tanning product to dilute it a little bit.” Apply in dime-sized dosages with a tanning mitt in upward, circular motions. “If you feel like you’ve put too much on your face, just buff it out or wipe off some of that excess tan on a tissue.” Use a buffing mitt to gently wipe away any streaks and prevent dark patches, especially around the mouth. “Any good tanning product will take about eight hours to really develop, and I recommend washing your face about six to eight hours later,” Gee says, adding that the best time to apply tanning product is in the evening. “You wake up, shower it off, and you’re left with your exact tan colour,” she says. And a great base for your makeup application.

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How to get glowing skin: Sun-kissed all over

Once you’ve settled with your base tan, opt for a light dusting of bronzer along the cheekbones and down the middle to optimize a bronzed glow. Experiment with your level of bronze by trying one shade warmer in your
tinted moisturizer for summer—they’re easy to blend and less noticeable than a powder, which will noticeably sit on top of skin if too dark. Or mix a dark tinted moisturizer with your current shade for an even, bronzed look.

For a full body tan, repeat the exfoliating and application tips all over—using the appropriate mitts to apply and buff away tanning lotion. “That will really give your body—especially your shoulders, arms, any body part that’s exposed—a beautiful glow,” says Gee.

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Calling all glowing brides: “What you have to be aware of when you are getting married is that you never want to wear anything that’s going to reflect shine on the wedding day,” says Gee. Instead opt for a matte, photo-ready finish. “
Blush is perfect for brides because there’s so much happiness that radiates from them and she’s already flushed, so adding just a little more blush will help her look extra pretty for that day.” Gee recommends a full-body application of tanning product for brides for the beautiful contrast of a sun-kissed glow against a white dress.

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How to get glowing skin: The bronzed goddess

Coming back from vacation? “The key to keeping your existing tan is to give your body a light exfoliation every few days and applying a tanning optimizer product,” says Gee, who uses St. Tropez Self Tan Intensifier at the salon. Apply to face and body every few days to enhance and elongate the lifespan of your tan. “It really
gives your skin a beautiful glow and keeps it very hydrated.” This part is crucial: “The only way to not eventually turn orange or green, and keep your tan very natural, is to keep exfoliating and moisturizing.”
Exfoliating during the tanning process doesn’t scrub away the tan—it actually makes the skin look better. “Whether your tan is real or not, dead skin cells build and dirt builds, and your skin will look the very best when it’s the most clean.”

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