When I started writing this article I intended on writing about a few common beauty blunders that myself or my friends had made in the past and what we did to fix them. As I kept writing more and more problems started popping into my head, so not to bombard you, this is going to be a series on how to fix those common issues that we're all guilty of making, or probably will make at some point. Let’s start first with skin related issues.
Everyone enjoys a radiant "I just got back from a tropical vacation" glow but now that we're becoming more aware of what sun damage can do, we're opting to forgo basking in the sun and getting a faux tan instead. Whether it's done at the salon (which can be pricey), or done at home (which can be downright scary), there are ways to get that perfect fake n' bake tan.
Chances are if you just started applying faux tanner you're going to at some point mess up and earn your zebra stripes. First, here are some tips so that doesn't happen.
- Exfoliate. Especially around your elbows, knees, and ankles.
- Create a barrier. Apply lotion around your wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. This is going to create a barrier so that the tan doesn't darken as much making it look fake and orange.
- Latex gloves. Apply self tanner with latex gloves so that your palms don't get stained a Snooki orange color. In the past I've used special tanning mitts, but I find that there's no difference in the tan quality between using mitts and latex gloves. I apply self tanner on the top of my hands last.
- Self tanner time. A good quality self tanner is key to getting a realistic faux tan. When I was younger I tried different drugstore brands and came out looking like an Ommpa Loompa. Eventually I gave up and went back to tanning beds or basking in the sun, which I highly regret now. After using St. Tropez products, I find that they're realistic and easy to use if you know what you're doing. I apply a dime sized amount and start with my arms working down to my legs. I make sure it's completely blended before I move on to the next spot. One great tip I have when it comes to applying self tanner to your ankles and feet is mix a little lotion in with the self tanner so it doesn't go on dark in those hard to apply areas.
- After applying. You need to make sure it’s dry before you do anything. Avoid wearing light colored clothing (or clothing that you care about) until the next day after you've showered. Don't apply self tanner and then go workout or layout in the sun. This will create lots of streaks. A tip I've learned to speed up the drying process is to put my blow dryer on the cool / low setting and technically blow myself dry.
How to Fix a Mistake
There are a lot of self tanner removers on the market, but my favorite way (even works on clothing but that's another blog post), is lemon juice and baking soda. The lemon juice lightens the skin removing the tanner, and the baking soda acts as an exfoliant to help scrub it away. Before taking a shower mix the lemon juice and baking soda to form a paste. Using cotton pads or an exfoliating mitt, rub on the area you're trying to lighten. Keep doing it and you will see the tan coming off on the cotton pad. After you've done it enough where you've seen a difference, hop in the shower. While in the shower use the loofah on the areas you're trying to fix. After you get out of the shower and dry off, the dark streaks should be significantly lighter or gone. If it still looks uneven, apply a little more self tanner or St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body Lotion to balance it out. Note: Don't apply the lemon juice baking soda mixture to your face.
How to Keep Your Tan
I use St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Gradual Tan Classic Everyday Body Lotion in two different ways. The first is if my self tanner comes out uneven. After I do the steps listed above, I'll then apply it to balance it out. The second is to keep my tan lasting longer. It's a pain in the ass having to apply self tanner every few days, and this keeps my tan from fading, while gradually adding more color.
You've been hearing rave reviews about a new facial product, and your friends and the beauty industry swear 'it's amazing!' You go out and purchase it, you're excited to get home and try it (this could be a new foundation, moisturizer, blush, etc.) A few hours later, or maybe the next morning your face has broken out in a rash. WTF? No one said anything about this!
You need to remember just because a product works for someone else, doesn't mean it's going to agree with your skin, this goes especially for people with sensitive skin. Always do a patch test. But obviously you skipped over the step. What now?
First, don't panic. Wash your face with a gentle face wash and cool water, making sure to remove the offending product. Next, apply a hydrocortisone cream to a cotton pad and gently rub on your face, making sure it's being absorbed into your skin. Wash your face again to wash away the hydrocortisone. This should help with itchy, irritated, red skin. Keep a watch over the next 24 hours and repeat the process if you don't see results. If after 24 hours your skin isn't better consult your dermatologist.
The first step in preventing a sunburn is to not get one by using a sunscreen that's Broad Spectrum and protects against UVA and UVB rays. You also can't forget to reapply it throughout the day. But you made the mistake of forgoing sunscreen, or maybe you decided that baby oil was a good idea (hey, it used to have a permanent spot in my beach bag too). Now you look like a lobster and you feel like you're dying. What should you do?
- Get out of the sun.
- Take a cool shower, or an oatmeal bath.
- Apply Aloe with lidocaine that can help relieve pain, followed by moisturizer.
- Take an Advil to help with pain and inflammation.
- Drink tons of fluids (water, Gatorade) to keep hydrated.
- Apply cold compresses
- Apply OTC 1% hydrocortisone cream to help with itching and burning.
- Use Vitamin E oil. Break apart the gel caps and apply to peeling skin.
If your skin is severely burned or blistering, its best to go to the ER and talk to with the pros.
Breakout Before a Big Night
I have a few vices when it comes to dealing with a breakout at a horrible time (who am I kidding, there is never a good time for a breakout). Listed below are some of the steps to my skin care routine (I'll save the rest for a detailed post on skin care), while steps 3 and 4 specifically target what I do when I have a breakout.
Make sure you remove all remnants of makeup using a makeup remover or facial wipes. I love Soap & Glory Off Your Face Wipes. Start by using warm water to wash your face and use a cleanser with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps prevent and clear up acne by gently unclogging pores and removing impurities. My favorite is Skin Laundry Acne Face Wash. After you've massaged the cleanser, wash away with warm water and don't forget to close your pores by using cool water. Pat dry with a clean washcloth.
Exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and to reveal a clearer brighter complexion. My favorite exfoliator is Peter Thomas Roth Strawberry Scrub Fruit Enzyme Polisher, which leaves my face feeling smoother and tighter.
3. Treat, Step 1
Next, depending on the situation, I'll apply Murad Acne Clarify Mask in two ways. One, I use it as a facial mask, and leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse off (I do this 2-3 times a week). Two, I'll use as a spot treatment by applying a small amount on a Q-tip, dabbing it onto the spot and lightly blending, I'll then apply my makeup over it or I'll apply it before bed and rinse off in the AM. After a few hours the redness has subsided and the inflammation has gone done. After using the Project E Beauty LED light, I'll apply the spot treatment.
4. Treat, Step 2
Project E Beauty LED 3 Colors Photo-Rejuvenation Kit Facial Beauty Care Massager has saved my life. Okay, I'm being dramatic, but it has made a huge difference in my skin. To summarize, this device kills the bacteria deep under the surface and shrinks any inflammation while working extremely fast. If you use it at night before you go to bed your breakout will be gone in the morning, or improved significantly. If you use it in the AM, by evening you won't even remember you were just stressing about it. Read more about the other amazing benefits here.
Now its time to protect your skin from the harsh elements and keep it looking smooth and healthy. I've been a fan of Dermalogica, Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 ever since my early 20s, which I apply to my freshly cleansed skin every morning. At night time I use Crème de la Mer Miracle Broth™ Moisturizing Cream by La Mer, which is the best of the best.
What skin issues have you come across and what did you do to fix them?