I make a point of having my annual physical around my birthday, so I don’t forget. This year, my doctor doubled my recommended vitamin D dosage – because the latest research reveals that many of us have acquired the habit of staying indoors (binge watching our favorite TV shows or playing on our computers), which means we’re not getting enough vitamin D.

In Minnesota, the sun is in short supply for at least 5 months of the year – which makes it doubly hard to soak up the “sunshine vitamin,” as vitamin D has been called. So, I turned to Twila Donley, Owner and Founder of Fantasia Salon & Hair Restoration Center, for some self-tanning pointers.

“Just about everyone knows the dangers of tanning beds,” says Twila, reminding us that they contain UVA radiation, which doesn’t burn the skin as fast as UVB radiation – but penetrates deeper into the skin to cause irreversible skin aging. “Using a tanning bed in your 20’s or 30’s can lead to sagging, wrinkles, brown spots, and loss of elasticity in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond,” she warns.

Fantasia Salon recommends – and only sells – St. Tropez Self-Tanners, the result of many hours of research by the Fantasia Beauty staff. “We recommend St. Tropez because their line delivers a salon-quality tan, in the privacy and convenience of your home,” Twila informed me. St. Tropez also offers a variety of ways to self-tan, for the specific tanning result you want.

Find the right tan for you

Although every skin tone is different, the St. Tropez line-up of products are tailored to provide a natural looking glow to suit every skin tone – whether you’re looking for an instant fix for one night only, a sun-kissed everyday glow, or a golden streak-free tan that lasts for days

How to replicate that gorgeous St. Tropez Tan – at home

Self-tanning is a convenient option to get ready for those summer months, but it’s easy to worry about unevenness and bad results. Twila offers these Tanning Tips to get the best St. Tropez Tan result:

  1. If you’re a first timer: try a patch test 24 hours before applying any tanning product for the first time. Apply a small amount of the self-tan product with a cotton bud to the inner crease of the elbow or behind the ear and leave dry for 24 hours. If you see redness, swelling, any inflammation, or itching, avoid using the product, as this is a positive reaction for sensitivity. If no reaction occurs, then it’s fine to proceed with the full body application
  2. Prepare your skin: To get the best results from any St. Tropez Self Tanner, always shave and exfoliate first. Concentrate on your elbows, knees, and heels, where rough skin develops. Then apply a moisturizer, like St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Moisturizer, and wait about an hour before you apply your self tanner.
  3. Use your St. Tropez Tanning Mitt: We’ve all suffered the embarrassment of orange streak lines, or, worse, orange hands, which is why St. Tropez offers a Tanning Mitt to insure that your tanning product goes on smoothly – and evenly – every time. It’s a soft, spongy applicator that’s been specially created by St. Tropez to apply a tanning lotion, gel, or mousse, for an even, golden tan. The mitt gently buffs the tan onto your skin in even, streak-free motions, and includes a water-resistant barrier. Better yet, you can hand wash your mitt in a gentle hand soap with warm water. Then shape the mitt, and leave to dry.
  4. Try St. Tropez Self Tan Remover: It cleans excess product and removes self-tan mistakes effortlessly.
  5. Follow directions unique to each St. Tropez product: Some St. Tropez self tanners require you to shower off to “set” your tan after one hour, or 8 hours, while others rinse off after 24 hours. Read and follow the directions and then allow enough time to prep and build your lasting, natural looking tan.
  6. Maintain your tan: You’d hate to lose that tan early, when maintaining it can be super easy. St. Tropez offers Boosters, Polishes, Oils, and Mousse to keep up that tan, and be beach ready anytime of year.

When should I start self tanning?

It depends on what kind of result you want and when you want it: do you want a year-round, classic looking tan…or are you looking for something to kick off beach season? Again, Fantasia Owner and Founder Twila Donley has the answer:

For Fall or Winter: Twila recommends the St. Tropez Instant Tan for special occasions during the colder, indoor months. It’s easy to use, and always delivers a streak-free healthy glow – instead of an orange, fake-looking tan. Twila also points out that all of the St. Tropez self-tanners are water and transfer-resistant.

For Beach Season: For your summer-ready tan, consider using the St. Tropez Gradual Tan, and start around May 1st. While you’ll see results in just 1 week, to build up to that healthy, lounging-on-the-beach tan, give your Gradual Tan time to develop and look oh-so-natural by Memorial Day.

For Year-Round: Consider either the Gradual Tan or Self Tan products, and be sure to always prep first, and maintain regularly.

Colleen Szot is a Minneapolis-based writer for over 40 years and a passionate client of Fantasia Salon. Colleen’s credits include TV, radio, and magazines. Her website is www.wonderfulwriter.com