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Tanning lotions are tempting alternative to pale



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



By CHANTAL LAMERS

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- I've baked on the beach, turned golden-brown in tanning beds and even stood awkwardly inside a dark booth, while a cascade of bronze liquid coats my body. And I've had enough.

There's something about a golden tan, though, that makes us look healthier and (thankfully) slimmer. Given that UVB and UVA rays aren't healthy (causing premature wrinkles and, of course, skin cancer) the best alternative may be a handful of self-tanner.

Applying sunless tanner can be tricky. It takes practice to get it right.

Cosmetic companies have created some new and ingenious ways to get the application right -- as well as offering a better range of natural colors.

To help you navigate the journey toward the perfect sunless tan, we experimented with some of the most promising products. Here's what we found.

Where do I start? Shave, exfoliate and apply tanner to clean, dry skin. Most tanners need about five minutes to dry.

What should I expect? Tanners take about 15 minutes to apply, and you should wait about three hours before showering or swimming. Most brands last three to five days.

Will it stain? Washing hands immediately after applying tanner will reduce likelihood of stained hands and/or fingertips. St. Tropez makes a self-tan remover ($6 at Sephora) that, if used correctly, can prevent tanning disasters.

Tanner won't rub off on clothes but don't tempt fate by wearing your trendy new summer whites immediately after an application. If you do get tanner on you clothes, it should wash out easily.




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