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When's the Right Time to Self-Tan Before Your Wedding?

The last thing you want to do is stain your wedding dress.

Contributing Writer
Woman Putting on Lotion Looking in the Mirror
Photography by: JGI/Jamie Grill

If you want to add a bit of safe, sun-free, natural-looking color to your face and body on your wedding day, consider self-tanning. You want it to look natural though—not too orange, and not too "freshly done"—but the perfect amount of lived-in color with a subtle glow. Achieving this can be a bit of an experimental, trial-and-error process, so be sure to test it out a few times before your big day. When it comes time for your actual wedding, St. Tropez tanning expert Sophie Evans recommends applying self-tanner about two days beforehand. "If you're getting married on a Saturday, I suggest applying it on a Thursday evening," she says. "You can sleep with the self-tan on, and then you'll have the next day for the tan to settle. You'll be able to retouch any areas if needed."

 

Always patch test a new self-tanner to ensure you like the color. "When you patch test, it's normally better to do an area about 3cm x 3cm or more, because doing a very tiny patch can make it appear darker than it would normally appear," Evans says. "And don't keep re-applying a self-tanner too often. If you keep adding more and more layers of tan, the self-tan will struggle to develop to a natural color, no matter how good it is. Two layers of self-tan application a week is enough for even the uber tanned."

 

Related: How to Self-Tan for Your Wedding Day—and Still Wear a White Dress!

 

For a natural, lived-in glow, you'll also need to ensure your skin has been prepped properly. "The better condition your skin is in, the better your self-tan will look and last, so start exfoliating the week before, moisturize regularly, and make sure all waxing and hair removal is completed 24 hours before any self-tan is applied," she says.

 

With correct "after care," your tan can last for your honeymoon, too—or up to two weeks, Evans says. Moisturize daily after bathing, and lightly exfoliate every two to three days to ensure your tan is fading evenly. Your face will fade the quickest, Evans says, so a good face self-tanner is a must. "St. Tropez's Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist is hands down the easiest and quickest product to use," she says. "But remember that you will still need to apply an SPF, as you can still burn and tan through a self-tan."