How to Re-Create a Sun-Kissed Glow

PoshMom Editorial Team
Five Steps to Stepping Your Skin Back Into Summer

Summer is way back in the rear view. Case in point: Gone are long, lazy care-free days. Here to stay are packed schedules, carpools, Zoom calls, in person meet-ups and juggling it all. Even with cooler (and downright cold) breezes and sweater season upon us, there are a few warm-weather essentials that absolutely need to transcend seasons. One of those must-haves? Dewy bronze skin. Let’s take a moment to silently praise those genius scientists who discovered how to literally bottle the sun. We could just hug their cute little white-lab coat selves (it’s the pro-positive reinforcement mom in us).

Go Pro or Spray on At-Home

While it came naturally before (beach and pool packed days with your babes!), it’s actually quite simple to get your faux glow on now and to keep glowing all winter long. Sure, you can go to the pros for an air-brush sesh, but it’s costly and yet another appointment to schedule into your already packed calendar. Doing it yourself and making it part of your once a week beauty routine will make it look like you’ve been back on the sand—just with a lot more effort involved. Follow the steps below to fake a sun-kissed hue.

Step One: Exfoliate for an Even and Week-Long Glow

As tempting as it is to brush it right on, sunless tanning is not Paint on Pottery. Skin prep is the first and most important step to a faux sun-kissed glow. In order for your bronzed look to last and not flake off fast, your skin has to be ready to accept it. To start, it’s key to banish the top skin cells on your face and body so tanning products absorb evenly and less blotches ensue. Perform the process with products from companies including Tatcha and L’Oreal removing dead cells and built-up dirt from the skin’s surface and creating a fresh and even appearance. As good as this renewal process is for your skin, don’t overdo it.

Limit the scrub to one or two times per week max, anything more can cause breakouts. Exfoliate your face day or night during your beauty routine and follow up with moisturizers, like lotions or face oils. For all-over exfoliation, the shower is the easiest spot to do that with products from brands like The Seaweed Bath Co. and Quai. The latter by the way isa body and scalp scrub (nobody likes a scalpy smell)—two for the price of one, we are in!

Step Two: Hydrate Your Skin to the Max

The next prep step to re-create a sun-kissed glow is to hydrate and moisturize. Hydrate first and often from the inside out by drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods. Some good-for-you H2O ingredients are cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries. Make a pitcher of water and throw any or all of those aforementioned fruits right in. Side note: Not only are they hydrating but many are also good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—all essential for good health. Back on the skin front…after use hydrating skincare products for the face. Look for those with hyaluronic acid from brands like Vichy and The Ordinary (the most useful and inexpensive line) as well as products containing ceramides such as by Dr.Jart+ and Cerave. These ingredients are also formulated in moisturizing products–either cream bases (dry skin) or light lotions for oily skin. Skin oils also work well as a barrier to keep moisture locked in. Some to try: Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil Light and Kiehl’s Moisturizing Face Oil. If you’re going for full-body bronze and not just face (if you have the time), use these oils for moisterizing the whole shabang including Nécessaire, Neutrogena, Summer Fridays and La Roche Posay.

Step Three: Use Your Muscles to Apply Sunless Tanners

Now we’re getting to the fun part—not really but we want to hype you up to give you the energy to do this. Although sometimes it seems that applying these tanners requires a degree to get it right, it doesn’t have to be. Use it as a calorie burn excuse and don’t be dainty to banish blotches. Apply tanner like Drunk Elephant and Jergens in strong circular motions, using a special mitt to apply and put some oomph into it. That extra force won’t allow blobs to sit on skin and form uneven patches. The tricky part is you don’t want it where the sun don’t shine (between your fingers, on your palms, on your fresh manicure to name a few spots!) so use a damp washcloth to remove in those areas.

And as much as you want to get your total tan on, don’t over apply the first time. It’s always better to layer color over time to get the perfect shade. If you’re using a mist, like Tan-Luxe or St. Tropez, spray on according to package instructions (typically holding about 6 to 8 inches from your face) and blot in circular motions with a mitt. Some tanning products also come in drops, try Isle of Paradise or L’Oreal Sublime Bronze that are meant to be added to moisturizers—multitasking and hiding usual self-tanner scents at its best!

Step Four: Master Bronzing Makeup to Even out Skin Tone Even More

Sunless tanners are a powerful force that can stand on their own. They can also be polished off with a few steps of bronzing makeup. The more time intensive weekly exfoliate and bronze will assist in keeping your daily routine well within your 10-minute mom makeup mode. To start, after your bronzing skincare routine, apply tinted moisturizer. We like those from Laura Mercier, Nars Glossier, Tarte and Rimmel. Not only does tinted moisturizer get your glow on, but it’s a way more natural look than foundation.

Next, decide if you need a little more (probably not, you don’t want to look crisp and burnt). If need be, go for bronzer. Choose between liquid highlighter or blush bronzer. Liquid may feel slightly heavier, but it also adds a dewy tone. Try Charlotte Tilbury, Iconic London, Saie, and Elaluz. If you prefer, brush on bronzing powder instead, hitting the high notes like above cheekbones and your brow bones for best effect. Look for e.l.f. MAC, IT Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty by Rhianna. For even more of a glow, add a touch of peach-toned blush to the apple of your cheeks.

Step Five: No Over Kill, Lips And That’s It

After all that work to get the glow going for your skin, you are rewarded by needing less time for make-up on your other features. Top off your just-off-the-beach look with lip shine and leave it at that. Swipe your favorite high gloss, in clear, nude, light pink or peach, across your lips and get the day.