Sorry: Summer is over. For many of you, that's tragic because you hate cold weather, but others of you mourn the loss of the Summer months because you know it means your tan is going to fade. We know basking under the sun (or worse: under sunlamps!) is bad for you, but a healthy glow is often the result of a happy and active lifestyle. Seeing it fade is hard, or so I hear - as pale as I am, I wouldn't know!
This is not the time to be spending hard-earned money on tanning memberships, even if it weren't so bad for you. The same can be said of going to an airbrush-tanning place, right? Who's got that kind of extra cash in this economy!? And many of us hate the sharp odor and orange-y results of self-tanners, right?
What's a bronzed goddess (or god) to do!? Let me introduce you to my little friend:
When I first was offered a trial run of an at-home tanning airbrush, I laughed out loud. I have had no luck with self-tanning products because I'm so fair and so pink that I immediately turn a horrifying shade of rust and promptly start exfoliating it off. In fact I'll quote exactly what I wrote in response to the pitch: "I'd be interested in trying it/reviewing it, but only if you can tell me it works decently on super-fair skin! Otherwise, I don't want to waste your time."
I'm not afraid of giving a bad review, but let's face it: who wants to? No one. I purposely do not accept reviews/trials of products I think won't work for me, because I don't think that's fair. I have good skin - why should I test an acne product? I can't give it an honest assessment! That's the way I feel about tanning products: I can't be fair because I don't tan, and "faux tans" just don't look right with people of my coloring.
Or so I thought...
Luminess Tan is a self-tanning airbrush system. How cool is that!? Even though it's professional-grade, don't worry: it's easy to use. It doesn't take long to hook-up and figure out, and takes only a short time longer to spray your way to bronze.
The high notes:
- Leading with an important fact: Luminess NEVER tests on animals!
- Takes about a half-an-hour to do (including 5 minutes to dry so you don't stain stuff).
- You can control the flow, so it can be exactly what you want it to be!
- Particles from an airbrush are always of similar size and are delivered evenly, so you get no streaking and no drips.
- The tan lasts! Up to 14 days, depending on how you maintain and exfoliate.
- Use a half of a bottle on your "base" tan, then follow-up with another half of a bottle 2-5 days later. After that, smaller amounts can be used to prolong the glow.
- The formula involves an instant-bronzer so you know what you're spraying where.
- You can sculpt muscles, so bye-bye pesky gym membership! (OK - just kidding sort of. You can sculpt a bit with the airbrush, but you may want to still keep the gym thing up for health reasons)
- Great for evening out a mismatched complexion! If you have to eradicate tan lines to bare it all in a strapless dress or if your man accidentally ended up with a farmer's tan - don't worry! Or, if like a lot of women, your legs tan slower than the rest of you, the frustration is over. It can be fixed believably.
- The active ingredient in the tanning solution is DHA, which is FDA-approved for external use. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) believes DHA-based tanners are the most effective. What is DHA? It's derived from glycerin (a type of sugar). The product mixes with amino acids in the cells on the top layer of skin and changes their color, making them look tan. It's NOT absorbed into the skin and it's has no known toxicity. It's pricier than other ingredients, so it's not found in all self-tanning products - so just because you've tried other tanners doesn't meant you've used DHA-based tanners!
- Shower and exfoliate at least an hour before airbrushing, and don't moisturize within 4 hours of spraying.
- Don't tan if you have broken skin anywhere.
- Don't sit on a white couch for at least 30 minutes (wear loose-fitting dark clothes for that period of time).
- Wait 8-14 hours after applying before you wash/shower/sweat/exfoliate.
- Keep your skin hydrated to prolong the tan. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Special info: Please don't make the mistake of thinking that airbrushing and spray-on products are the same! With any kind of airbrushing, you get complete control over how much of the product comes out. Also, the particles are all the same size (SMALL!). Spray-on products (tans, foundations, etc) aren't regulated the same way, leading to splotchy application, drips and other nonsense. Also, with an aerosolized product, you have no precision (try aiming just for your ears with one of those cans!). This is why makeup artists love airbrushing, and also why they spray aerosols onto a palette or their hands then apply with a brush! BIG difference between the two.
As I mentioned at the top of this story, I was really skeptical that this would a) get me believably tan (not too dark for my fair skin) and b) not get me orange. I was also fairly certain I wouldn't be able to apply it evenly!
The first time I tried it, I went way too heavy for my porcelain skin and ended up too dark. Still, it wasn't orange, but it just looked ridiculous! Part of the problem was my impatience (sprayed too heavily) and part was my injured finger (see below) not working properly on the trigger, leading to wobbling and too much concentrated spray in certain areas.
The second time I tried it, my finger was pretty much healed-up. I also didn't pull as heavily on the trigger. The results? PERFECTION! I got a very believable tan: nice and fair, even, and not at all orange. I was completely sold. This is the first tan I've ever had, and I loved it. It's also the first time my legs weren't completely blindingly white!
Note: I couldn't get accurate pictures of before-and-after because my after is still considered "fair", and it just wouldn't show up on camera. Sorry! Maybe if I had a professional lighting set-up it would have showed up, but my porch didn't seem to do the trick. I'll try to tan someone else and take pictures as a follow-up.
I am certainly holding onto my Luminess airbrush, and not even dreading those first weeks of Spring where I normally hide in capris so as not to blind others with my white-white legs! I also plan on maintaining my light bronze appearance throughout the Winter - I'll be nice and healthy-looking while everyone around me is pasty. What a change! ;)
I want to end this article with SINCERE apologies to the rep who sent me this product to test! Almost immediately after I agreed to review this product (the day after I got the package), I sliced open my index finger rendering it nearly useless. Five stitches really puts a crimp in your functionality, and I am only just now getting the feeling and agility back in that digit. If you want proof, there's a picture after the jump! (and if you've seen my videos on YouTube, you probably noticed the ginormous bandage in some of them!)
I'm soooo sorry to have taken this long to get this review to my beloved readers, but the trigger mechanism on this airbrush was not easy to manipulate for me with this injury (meaning: I couldn't do it at all), and I didn't want to fake a review - it's just not honest. I am glad to finally reassure Luminess that I did not run away with their product! :)