Q. I'll be going on a cruise in late September and would like to look a little tan before I don my swimsuit and sundresses. I'd like to try a self-tanner, but I'm nervous that I might end up with streaky orange skin. Any tips for getting even, natural-looking color?
A. Self-tanners are a great way to get a sun-kissed look without courting the possibility of skin cancer and wrinkled, mottled skin.
This summer's crop of self-tanners comes in lotion, gel, mousse and spray formulas, and the color is much improved over the tangerine shades of the past. The secret to getting an even, natural-looking color is mostly in the application. Here are some tips:
Apply the tanner the day before you need the tan. This will give it plenty of time to dry--and you the opportunity to fix any mistakes.
Start with clean, lightly exfoliated skin, especially on drier areas such as hands, knees and feet. A very light application of moisturizer in these areas will prevent them from turning too dark.
Apply the tanner with light, circular strokes.
Check how much time is needed for the tanner to dry before you can wear clothes or take a shower.
If you do your face, use a lighter, face-specific formula. Avoid the eyebrows and hairline, which will turn darker, and remember to do your neck as well.
Immediately after applying tanner, swab your ankles, knees, toes and the undersides of your arms with a slightly damp cloth or tissue so they come out a little lighter.
Wash your hands well as soon as you're done.
Here are some self-tanning products tested and recommended by the staff at Lucky magazine: Kiss My Face Instant Sunless Tanner, Clarins Radiance-Plus Self Tanning Cream-Gel, Clarins Self Tanning Instant Spray, Estee Lauder Sunless Supertan Spray for Body, Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Foam, and (get ready for a mouthful) Clinique Self-Sun Face Quick Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner.
Another option is to try the new airbrush tan, in which the tanning solution is sprayed onto your skin in a fine mist, giving an exceptionally even tan.
Q. For my daughter's wedding, I will be wearing an ice-blue long skirt, a jacket with rhinestone buttons and a silver shell with rhinestone trim. I have silver shoes and a rhinestone bag. Would pantyhose in the shade "gray mist" be appropriate? And would small rhinestone earrings work?
A. Yes. And yes.
XJean Patteson is the fashion writer for the Orlando Sentinel. Fashion questions of general interest should be sent to Patteson at the Orlando Sentinel, 633 North Orange Ave., Orlando, Fla. 32801. Or send e-mail to jpatteson(AT) Individual replies are not possible.
Knight Ridder Newspapers

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