Try body makeup. No, not foundation- the other one; we’re talking about a spray tan! Summer is fast approaching and what better way to meet the sun than with a glow of your own. To get you started, how about the genius of a spray tan? To be sure, the trend has definitely grown popular with nearly everyone in Hollywood from celebrities to socialites and even on-air television personalities find it their go-to choice for adding warmth to their skin tones. However, this luxury isn’t saved only for the rich and famous, yes even we too can share in the benefit that a faux tan can bring. But how exactly does a spray tan work? And what exactly are the benefits?

To find out I called on expert Jessica Johnston of Le Luxe Skin Finish in Los Angeles who runs a completely mobile service. The very first thing Johnston does upon meeting with her client is evaluate based on their unique body and fits a personalized tan especially for them. Each tan is customized per the client’s needs and desired looks and undertone. With her background in art and painting, Johnston follows the silhouette, sculpting a contour of where the sun would naturally hit the body. And not only does this look flattering and slimming, it’s also a healthy and safe alternative to sunbathing. “You can get year-round summer bronzed glow without harmful UVB or UVA rays.” She says.

Tanning can be delivered in a varied numbered of ways but in every instance, the two variables that set them apart are technique and solution. In the case of spray tanning, the solutions can vary as well. Johnston takes her product to a whole new level; her 95% organic formula incorporates “good for your skin” ingredients like aloe, a proprietary anti-aging serum, licorice and raspberry for hyperpigmentation and a skin firming ingredient that attacks your cellulite. She also informed me, depending on how you care for your skin the color can last for anywhere between 7-10 days and because they are organic you will not see the orangey fake look that is sometimes associated with chemical formulas. Her product utilizes sugar beets for a natural warm undertone.

But if you’re shy about stripping down to your bare bottom for a complete stranger (other than your M.D.) you can always go the tried and true route of self-tanner. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. If you follow these simple steps and prep beforehand you’ll have superior results.

1. Start with clean skin but you don’t need to moisturize. The self- tanner will pick up better without added emollients on the skin.
2. Use a dry brush and whisk away any surface debris that might inhibit the tanner from taking an even application. Give special attention to your knees and elbows.
3. Use gloves. The last thing you want to do is have tanned inner palms.
4. Apply the tanner in even downward strokes. Follow the contour of your body and pretend you are painting a wall. This will ensure a smooth fluid application.
5. Wait the desired drying time. Don’t get too frantic and start lounging on your favorite white sheets. Afterwards wear loose fitting clothing for the first couple of hours. And no matter the formula you choose whether a gradual or immediate tan,self tanners are an excellent low-cost option to getting baked in the sun. But don’t forget to slather on your sunblock-even after you get a base tan by artificial means you’re still at risk from UVA or UVB rays. Now go and enjoy your golden glow.

One to try: Heather Airbrush Tan

Written by: Linda Jamison