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Tanning Truths, Sunny Safety Tips, And A Sweat-Proof Bronzing Makeup Hack

Turn up the volume on ukulele tunes and slide into those flip-flops, summer has arrived! Many of us don’t really want to be as pale as a beached Beluga whale when we hit the shoreline. So building that deep, gorgeous tan starts now, but which way to tan is best, and which methods should we avoid? 



Dreaming ?? ??: @james

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The hard truth is that no dermatologist will ever recommend tanning, which is basically baking yourself in direct sunlight or UV rays to achieve a tanned complexion. Some couldn’t care less about what they apply for protection, or what hour they choose to bask in sunbeams. But in this age of high vanity, more and more people are realizing that they need to wise up to achieve a healthy bronze sheen in a safer manner.



While cozily seated on her living room floor, Vicki Belo gave us her honest thoughts about tanning up front. “If you really want to tan, you still use sunblock but not a very high level, like a 15. If it’s SPF 50, you will not tan. Never get a tan under the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., that’s too harsh.” 



Dra. Vicki does not recommend prolonged sun exposure. “Here in the Philippines most of the people that get basal cell [the skin cancer which Hugh Jackman had removed six times] are farmers and construction workers, because they’re always out in the sun and they don’t have any protection.”


As a compromise for those who feel they still want to tan, Dra. Vicki says that instead of burning to get dark in just a couple of days, gradual slow tanning is safer when done over a longer span like a week or more during the good hours with low SPF protection. 




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This is better than toasting impatiently at light speed, which increases the risk for permanent sun damage and skin cancer. Easier said than done, but a slowly built bake with sunscreen is certainly safer than an intense and sudden burn.


There is, however, one tanning option that people ought to avoid at all costs, says Dra. Vicki. “The thing that’s the pinaka-worst though, that people think isn’t, are tanning beds. With tanning beds you’re really cooked, it’s so close. It’s really, really, really bad. It’s not any less harmful than the sun’s rays except now it’s very close to your skin. So that’s bad in terms of getting skin cancer and in terms of premature aging.” So if you’re not up for multiple removals of certain types of skin cancer, like Wolverine himself, take it from Belo herself, avoid the tanning bed.




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Awhile back, Vicki Belo offered spray tanning services which she clarifies do not involve the use of pigment or paint. “Spray tanning is not a paint, as some people think. Basically, it oxidizes the melanin on the surface of your skin so you already get a tan even before you get to the beach, and it’s made from sugar so it’s safe. I was the first to introduce spray tanning [before] because there was none here, and it wasn’t really part of a medical clinic. Other people are doing it now, so I dropped it na.” 


There are other ways one can achieve faking a tan. A plethora of bronzing products are available on the market— from skincare bronzers that sink in and adjust your skintone, to cosmetic liquids, cream, and powder bronzers you can apply when needed. One professional way we tested to achieve a shoot-worthy, sweat resistant cosmetic tan is by combining products. 


First, choose a lightweight oil-free moisturizer. In this case (as a base to mix with the tint), we used This Works In Transit Camera Close-up. This is a cream moisturizer with tons of gentle, nourishing botanicals, which is available sometimes via Sephora PH. A few years back, it was Victoria Beckham’s red carpet priming favorite underneath makeup after celebrity makeup artist Val Garland (as mentioned in an interview with Sali Hughes) made her try it. The lightweight water resistant make-up we chose for providing the deeper tone is MAC Face and Body foundation, which contains a setting agent that activates after it is worked into the skin. 



If you plan to generously fake tan your entire body, you may opt to use a more affordable base moisturizer, but it would better if it is also oil-free. The “recipe” seen here is recommended for the chest area up to the arms, neck, upper back, and face. Use equal parts of the moisturizer and foundation (say, a dollop each ), mix and work into the skin (neck, shoulders, or arms, etc.) like a lotion. Buff in circular motions, if needed, with a large kabuki brush. To ensure a smooth natural finish, make sure to do an exfoliating scrub over arms or legs prior to applying your fake tan.



The color shift on the skin is quite natural if you choose the deeper foundation shade from the correct MAC Face and Body undertone. This is water resistant, but don’t expect it to be waterproof especially in ocean water.  It’s fun to apply, sweat-proof and will effectively last for a relaxed day out on some island or a summer afternoon party.



Photography by Julia Arenas and additional images from