Many girls' summer goals include getting a hot beach body, going on fun summer adventures, and getting so tan that they forget what color they started the summer being. If you're a pale-skinned sister, it's definitely a lot easier to get a scary shade of scarlet than it is to get that sun-kissed golden-brown look. If you know that sitting in the sun will leave you with peeling skin and a red face, don't panic.
Because I have olive-y undertones but a more yellowish complexion (thanks jaundice!?) I understand the struggle of achieving that perfect tan. After 20 years in the sun, I finally know what works for my skin and how I need to tan, but it took many years of sunburned cheeks and shoulders, teasing from my beautiful tanned family of tanned gods, and every trick in the book to turn my skin from dark pale to summertime golden.
The easiest and most important step in looking tan is to wear sunscreen. Look, I know you want to bake like a cake under that summer sun, but your skin isn't cut out for that. Grab a broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply that bad boy 15 minutes before you go to layout. Broad-spectrum is key because it protects from both those harmful UVA and UVB rays. Yeah, health!
A lot of people think that wearing sunscreen means you won't tan. Let me be the bearer of AMAZING news and tell you that that's a big old myth. Sunscreen isn't magic and it can't block every single UV ray, so your skin is definitely getting exposure even if you're covered head-to-toe in the stuff. It lets you get that color at a slower, and safer, rate, which is also going to help prevent burns.
Okay, so now that you're not burnt to a crisp and looking like a lobster, you should probably notice a slight tan that would've just been sunburn had you not used your sunscreen. Congrats! However, I know a lot of people don't have the time to sit out all day every day and build on that base color, so let's move on to tips that can help while you gradually build up to your desired shade.
A simple way to look more tan is to wear colors that aren't going to wash you out. Navy, gray, brown, and black, while all nice colors, aren't going to help you here. What you want to go for are the whites, baby blues, coral, or citrus colors. Light, bright colors will help even a slight tan pop and will enhance that glow.
For the dedicated and desperate, there are more time-consuming/expensive/potentially risky methods. Not that you're really going to come into any harm doing these things, you just might end up hating it and then regret your entire existence. Great, let's get into it!
First up on the drastic measures list is self-tanner. Heads up, if you choose to use self-tanner I highly recommend one that is gradual-application, or one that adjusts to your existing skin tone to add natural-looking glow. These are going to be not only the most natural looking and easiest to use, there is also a lot less room for error.
If you really need to be extremely tan extremely quickly, read ALL of the instructions on your home self-tanner and don't get over-zealous in your product application. That's not the move. Your best bet for a quick tan that will actually look nice and not like you fell into a tub of orange paint is to go to a tanning salon.
I don't endorse tanning beds because they're harmful to your skin and there are so many other options, but if you decide to go every once in a while it probably isn't the worst thing in the world. Still, I suggest going spray-tanning at a salon, where a professional who knows what they're doing will be able to help you while also not potentially giving you skin cancer.
That being said, this method can be expensive, especially if you want to maintain the color for an extended period of time because you don't want to get a cheap spray-tan. If you get a cheap tan, it will look like a cheap tan. Which I'm guessing is not your goal.
Finally, if you're still not satisfied, you can always try changing your hair color. That might seem a little extreme but if it works, it works. And it does work. For people with pale to medium skin tones, hair with warm undertones are going to help offset any pale tones in your skin. Go to a salon and talk to your stylist - they'll be able to help you find a color that compliments your complexion and will work with your natural hair.
That's all the tips I have for tricking people into thinking you're tan for the summer. I'm not an expert, I've just been paler than the rest of my family for my whole life and had to work hard for my tan so actually, yes, I am an expert. Happy tanning!