First off, let me start by saying I am totally okay with going to a tanning salon. In fact, I visit the UV bulbs on occasion. However, this may not be the choice of many brides. These brides may also want to avoid laying out in the sun, especially if their wedding isn't during or after the Summer. So, some other options? Self-tanner, spray tanning, and airbrush tanning come to mind!
If you want to look radiant walking down the aisle, here are some tips for applying self-tanner provided by Brides.com.
Prep: Wax or shave 24 hours before applying color and exfoliate right before self-tanning. Then apply moisturizer to your knees, elbows, hands, and feet only. The skin in those areas is dryer and thicker, so it gets darker quickly. A moisture barrier helps dilute the tanner.
Apply: Starting from your ankles, smooth tanner (try L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion, $9.99) to the front, back, and sides of your legs, fully coating your skin to avoid streaks. Massage onto hands and feet, blending in between fingers and toes. Wipe off your nails and palms, pat your skin with a dark towel until it feels dry, and don't shower for eight hours. Reapply every five days to maintain color. Your final application should be two nights before your big day giving it time to develop. Then the day before your wedding retouch areas that need it.
Make it last: Attention, tropical honeymooners: humidity, chlorine, exercise, and massages speed up the fading process. So if you want to stay bronzed without baking in the sun, pack a moisturizer, exfoliator, and gradual self-tanner in your suitcase. Jergens Natural Glow, $8.49 is recommended. Moisturize every day, exfoliate, and reapply the tanner every three days to keep your glow all vacation long.
The Knot provides the good and bad sides of spray and airbrush tanning and some tips for the perfect sunless glow.
The Good: Quick and easy! You simply strip down, apply some lotion, similar to self-tanner, step into a booth, and voila! One or two minutes later, you're done. If you choose a spray with bronzer, you should be glowing already. If you picked the regular spray, in 4 to 12 hours you'll look like you're just back from a beach getaway.
The Bad: You can unfortunately get an over-the-top spray tan, like Ross's traumatic tan in that Friends episode. If you've never gone before, get to the salon at least 10 minutes before your appointment time so you can ask the technicians any questions you might have about what to do. Also, though you will be tan after one session, you'll need to go back to deepen and maintain your color.
When to Do It: Start about a month before your wedding. You'll need multiple visits to get the color you want, but you'll want to wait a while between each one to see how well you like it and decide whether to go darker.
Tanning Tips: Before you step into the booth, apply lotion to body parts that shouldn't get too dark just as you would at home with self-tanner (salons usually provide moisturizer). It's especially important to rub it into your cuticles and on your fingertips to keep your nail beds from changing color. If you opt for a formula that includes a temporary bronzer, get the gym out of the way (sweat may make the color rub off onto clothing). To get the most out of your tan and let it fully develop, don't shower or swim for at least 12 to 24 hours after your tanning session (if you can wait even longer, that's better still, but we don't completely recommend that)!
The Good: A salon or spa technician sprays you with a fine mist of UV-free tanning solution. The color is custom-calibrated, so the technician can fine-tune your hue and even contour your muscles to give you a more defined look. This is also the best method for concealing stretch marks, scars, and cellulite. Getting an airbrush tan usually takes about 30 minutes and lasts 5 to 10 days.
The Bad: It's not for the super-self-conscious (though it's no more invasive than your average bikini wax). The technician has to get up close and personal, and you'll have to strike several poses to make sure you're covered. It's also the most expensive method. If you truly want a seamless glow you should still go to a pro airbrush tanner.
When to Do It: Book your appointment for a few days before your wedding, or, if you think you'll be too busy, one week before (then follow up with self-tanner to maintain your color). Since you're paying big bucks for flawless application, you want to get it done when you can flaunt it.
Tanning Tips: If you're headed for a spa, consider scheduling a body scrub before you tan. This mega-exfoliation makes your skin feel amazing, and it will help your tan last and last. Afterward, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Skin that's fully hydrated will keep your tan intact.
So stock up on the moisturize and make sure you do you research before devouring the details of one of these faux glows!