By Karen RobockUpdated Jun 25, 2013
Nothing says swimsuits-and-ice-cream weather like sun-kissed skin. "It's a fresh, natural look for the season, says Rebecca Restrepo, global makeup artist for Elizabeth Arden. But, it's one that should be achieved at your bathroom mirror, not from your lawn chair. As we all know, sun exposure can cause premature aging and skin cancer, so a faux-glow is a must. Whether you have two minutes or 20, we have the right fuss-free bronzing routine for you.
Click through this gallery to find your best routine!
A version of this article appeared in our August issue with the headline "The Midas touch," p. 32.
Bronzing powders are the quickest route to a golden glow for your face, shoulders and chest. If you have fair skin, honey-coloured shades will work best; terracotta and medium browns suit medium skin tones. Use a large powder brush to lightly dust the product on. Start with your cheekbones, then move across your forehead, nose and chin. Without reloading your brush, move on to your neck, décolettage and tops of your shoulders if they're being bared. "Don't forget the back of your neck and tops of your ears if you're wearing your hair up," says Restrepo.
Pure Mineral Bronzing Powder, $38, elizabetharden.ca
Gradual self-tanners will give you a natural-looking head-to-toe glow. All self-tanners use dihydroxyacetone, a chemical that reacts with the melanin in your skin to create a tan, but gradual versions contain lower concentrations, giving you more control so you can slowly develop your colour over three to five days. This makes them practically foolproof — less chance of missed spots or streaks. But they do require applications several days in a row to achieve your desired shade, then every couple of days to maintain your glow. Since most formulations also contain a moisturizer, you can skip that step on the days you're bronzing. For best results, allow it to dry thoroughly before getting dressed (to avoid stains), and wash your hands after each application, so you don't end up with telltale orange palms.
Mark Got to Glow Gradual Glow Body Moisturizer, $16, avon.ca
Single application self-tanners require prep work and a steady hand, but they'll give you bronzed skin that lasts for days. Prep your skin well before you start, says Restrepo. "If you have any dry spots the product will collect in these areas and you'll end up looking dirty." First cleanse, then slough off rough patches with body brush, washcloth or exfoliating product. Pay attention to dry zones like elbows, knees and around your nose. Follow with a moisturizer and allow it to soak in before applying your self-tanner. The key to successful application is taking your time and working the product in really well as you go, Restrepo says. If you're bronzing your whole body, do the tops of your hands last, then use a baby wipe to remove the product from your palms and between your fingers.
Clarins Gelee Auto-Bronzante Express Self Tanning Instant Gel, $35, Sephora.com
Once you've got your glowing complexion mastered, all you need is an extra coat of mascara and a slick of nude or peach gloss to finish off your no-fuss beach-babe look.Photo: Scope Beauty/Juicy Images
Get a natural-looking summer glow in just a few minutes with at-home tips from a makeup pro.