The Better, Safer, Greener way to get that Golden Summer Glow

In my last post, I encouraged you to protect yourself and your family from the sun as much as possible, limiting exposure, and wearing a safe, mineral-based sunscreen every day. So what’s a fair-skinned girl to do – forgo any hint of a summer glow? I know that I don’t want to be a shade of shocking white when I hit the beach this summer – so, what’s the alternative?

"feel that sunshine, telling you to hold tight, things will be all right, tryin to find a better life."
Photo via whitney deMoraes


Hit the tanning bed of course – okay, just kidding. I wish I could say I never did this, but I did have a brief period when I sported big hair and jeans that cinched around my waist (wait, those are back, but why?!); and had a friend who worked at a tanning salon. Free tans sounded like quite a bargain back then. Now that I’m concerned about things like skin cancer, wrinkles and sun spots, I realize, well…not so much.

A better, safer alternative is to apply a self tanner. They’ve come a long way from the QT days (anyone else remember this?). New self-tanners are safe, effective, and won’t make you turn orange. For a sun-kissed look without downside of painful sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer and wrinkles, try one of these safer self tanners:

Lavera – Organic soy extracts provide the active ingredient and are combined with extracts of sugar to deliver a smooth application and a natural, even result. Winner of the "Best Sunless Tan" Award by GorgeouslyGreen.com's 2008 Beauty Awards.

Sircuit Soliel – an oil-free bronzing lotion, this unique formula is quickly absorbed into the skin, and spreads easily. At $48 dollars for 4oz. it's one of the higher priced natural self tanners but offers the added benefit of firming and toning the skin, not something offered by most self tanners.

Kiss My Face Instant Sunless Tanner – No animal ingredients, artificial colors, or animal testing. At $12.95, a much more reasonably priced way to get a golden tan.

• DIY – For a do-it-yourself recipe using ingredients found in your kitchen, check out this Care2.com post. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sure is safe and inexpensive. If it’s effective too, what a bargain!

• More Sunless Tanning Alternatives – If you have read my blog before, you know I’m a huge fan of the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database. You can find many more sunless tanning products complete with EWG’s safety ratings here. When looking for a self tanner, try to find “plant-derived DHA” in the ingredients list, with a concentration of 2-5 percent. And as with all personal care products, look for those that are free from chemical fragrances, chemical preservatives and parabens.

Other self tanner tips (and I’ve applied enough poorly over the years to speak from experience):

• Apply to clean, dry, freshly shaved skin.

• Avoid streaks by exfoliating well before you apply.

• Moisturize any dry areas and put some moisturizer on hands, feet, knees and elbows before applying self tanner – sunless tanners absorb more readily on dryer areas.

• Wash your hands thoroughly after application. If you have experienced the “tan hand” look before, you know what I mean.

• If you can, wait about 15 minutes to get dressed after applying self-tanner. (I know, what mom has 15 minutes to just hang around waiting for self tanner to absorb?).

It takes a little practice, but it’s worth it. You can get the sun-kissed glow of summer without any harsh chemicals; and without risk of burning, wrinkles and skin cancer. Not that’s a summer glow that’s green.

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