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A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the train heading to Toronto for the first holiday weekend of the summer. I always take reading material for the short trip to Mom's house—usually a fashion magazine. As I was flipping through the pages of the June 2011 Allure, I stopped short at an advertisement for makeup house Tarina Tarantino. The product being promoted is called “Sparklicity Bronze Shimmer Dust” and the model in the photograph looks like she's been dipped in bronze dust! It was a bit disconcerting.

Those of you who've been with me the past seven years know that I'm pale, pale, pale; and also that I'm not totally opposed to adding some bronzer to my routine in the summer. But I don't think it's necessary to turn yourself into a statue in order to get your (fake) colour for the warmer months.

Pick the Right Tone for Your Skin

Choose the best self tanners suitable for your skin tone. Jergens Natural Glow is the product that kick-started the trend toward more subtle fake baking. It comes in two shades (light and medium) and can be used daily to build up colour just as the sun would if you were out in it every day. There are different formulas for face and body.

For Darker Tones

For those with darker skin tones, or those looking to achieve a darker “tan,” try L'Oreal Sublime Bronze. A few years ago, I used this to get colour before a Hawaiian-theme party and looked like I had spent weeks sunning myself!

Best Self Tanner Products for Summer 2011

  • Physician's Formula – Summer Eclipse Bronzing Powder
  • Too Faced Aqua Bunny Cream to Powder Splash-Proof Bronzer
  • Clarins Mosaïque Summer Bronzing Compact
  • MAC Skinsheen Bronzer Stick
  • The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Gel

Spray Tans

If you don't want to go the “do it yourself” route, many salons today offer “spray tans.” One method has you walk into a booth and being coated from head to toe in tanning product. These can take time to show up, like the Jergens, or they can be tinted to give you immediate colour along with more developing over time.

The major name brand in this field is Mystic Tan. Prices for this vary depending where you are in North America; it runs about $30 Cdn in my city. Or you can have a “tan technician” literally spray paint you in the bronze or golden tint of your choice. The June issue of Allure" lists salons offering this service in major American cities on page 114. Prices vary wildly from less than $40 to upwards of $120.

Liquid Bronzers

Liquid bronzers generally coat you evenly, but won't look as natural as taking a powder bronzing product and using a large, fluffy brush to to apply colour in the same areas the sun would. Touch it to your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your cheeks and a light dab on the chin. Sweep bronzer across your collarbone and down your clavicle, too.

Toning Foundations

If you want the all-over colour offered by liquids or creams, consider adding something like a bronze, brown or golden illuminator to your foundation. NARS makes a lovely (if pricey) one in a shade called Laguna.

Finally, just in time for summer, Benefit has come out with a third shade in their line of lip and cheek stains. Chacha-Tint joins the original crimson Bene-tint and pink Posie-Tint. It's a mango-orange shade perfect for pairing with your faux-tan!

Final thoughts

Stay cool!

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