Top tanning tips for brown girls

You can never be too melanated 😍 Here's our handy advice for maximising on that sun, spray or self tanning session.

Hair & Beauty

The brown girl tan

The misconception that brown girls don’t need to tan has loomed for years, but where does this beauty myth come from? “People assume women of colour don’t need to tan as their skin is already deemed to be ‘dark’,” says Nicola Christopher, founder of Niksology Clinic and aka The Melanin Specialist. From warm caramel complexions to deep dark hues, women of colour come in an array of stunning shades. And despite popular belief, most self-tanning techniques can deepen even the darkest of skin tones - resulting in a beautifully-bronzed and gorgeous glow. Whether sprayed on or sun kissed, the brown girl tan is a best-kept secret among celebrities such as Kerry Washington and Kelly Rowland, who use complexion boosters to enhance their natural colour. With sunnier days on the horizon and holidays back on, now is the perfect time to catch a tan whether you’re at home or away.

The beauty benefits

When it comes to self tanning, you may be surprised to hear that the beautifying benefits go beyond colour. For brown girls, an extra dose of melanin can minimise the appearance of hyperpigmentation, erase ashy undertones and create an even skin tone. “While it may seem that deepening the colour of darker skin is unnecessary, we are here to reap the other benefits too,” Nicola explains. “It’s not necessarily about tanning the skin for WoC, but the benefits of evening out imperfections and the glow instead. This can result in more self confidence, among other wellbeing benefits.” If you are new to tanning, there are many options to consider to achieve your desired results. Essentially, you can use tanning solutions to cover-up specific areas of concern that may be on show - such as scarring or marks on your legs and chest. Or, you can use tanning products all over for maximum impact.

Sun tan VS spray tan

It’s no secret that sitting in the sun all day can cause serious harm to the skin. And yes, this applies to brown girls too. “There are many risks associated with sunbathing,” says Nicola. “Prolonged unprotected exposure can lead to skin damage such as hyperpigmentation and premature ageing. Meanwhile, high levels of ultraviolet rays can also increase the risk of skin cancer. I would always advise protecting your skin and eyes with a SPF 30+, sunglasses containing UV protection and a wide brimmed hat.” If you are an avid sun bather, we recommend that you reach for Institute Esthederm After Sun Tan Enhancing Body Lotion (£36). Massage a generous amount of this luminous lotion onto your skin after every sun session for a radiant glow. And for those of us who would rather fake it than bake it, spray tans or self tanning products are the way to go: “The main benefit of spray tanning is that it prevents unwanted skin conditions caused by the sun’s rays,” says Nicola.

Booking a brown girl spray tan

Now that lockdown restrictions have started to ease, salons and spas have finally reopened their doors. If you’re planning on visiting a salon or spa for a spray tan rather than embarking on a DIY job, it’s still advisable to do your research and scout out beauticians that specialise in working with darker skin tones. If you don’t know where to start, here’s our melaninapproved list of specialists across the UK:

Niksology Skin & Laser Clinic

Studio by James Read Harvey Nichlos

Vita Liberata, available at Benefit Boutiques

Lemoge Clinic

Ready, set, bronze: top up on tanning essentials

Velvotan The Self-tanning Mitt, £3.99
Skinny tan Pre Tan Primer, £9.99/125ml
Elemis Tan Accelerator, £24.30/125ml
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Lotion Medium/Dark,£14.50/200ml

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