A self-tanning primer that maximizes your faux tan

Most of us know that self-tanners work by creating a chemical reaction that darkens the uppermost layers of skin, but you probably didn’t know that your skin’s pH plays a crucial role. (Improper pH is directly responsible for a dreaded orange hue.) Amino acids are an essential part of the equation as well, since these protein building blocks work hand in hand with the active ingredient in self-tanner (DHA) to give skin a golden hue. So it makes sense that boosting the level of amino acids would maximize self-tanning results, and that’s exactly what Norvell’s Pre Sunless XLATAN pH Balancing Spray does.

Like a primer for your self-tanner, you simply use this spray wherever you plan to tan and rub it in, but you don’t have to let it dry completely before you apply your tanner of choice. Beyond targeting those essential amino acids, the mist also hydrates skin for 24 hours to extend the lifespan to your faux tan, and leaves a layer of odor encapsulation molecules on the skin’s surface to prevent that tell-tale “eau de fake bake” smell. After exfoliating and using this spray, I haven’t had a botched result since…

The first time I tried the pH Balancing Spray, I followed it with Norvell’s new Venetian Sunless Mist (which also comes in a perfect-for-travel 2 ounce spray as well). Designed to deliver a darker tan with instant violet and brown bronzers, you can see exactly where you’ve sprayed to make sure you get a nice even application. The fine mist dispenses just the right amount of tanner (read: no dripping) and it was completely dry after a light buff-and-blend courtesy of a tanning mitt. This tanner also happens to smell fantastic. In fact, my husband told me I smelled like a tanning salon, and even though I haven’t stepped foot in one of these skin-cancer boutiques in 20 years, I knew exactly what he was talking about.

The result was amazing… Come morning, I had a lovely bronze color that usually takes two applications of other self-tanners, and I had barely any boo-boos. My feet are always problematic, but after a few minutes with my Bronze Buffer, my golden gams were pool-party ready! (Full disclosure: I created these reusable sponges, and I recommend having them on hand for any foray into faux tanning, natch.)

If you live up north and are dealing with snow AGAIN, I sincerely apologize for rubbing my South Florida lifestyle in your face. Spring has to come eventually, right?