Faking Sun-Kissed Skin for an *Actually* Healthy Glow

We all love the look of suntanned skin. Whether a light kiss of sun or super bronzed, there is just something about it. Ironically, people say “you look like you have a healthy glow.” The truth is, of course, the opposite. Sure we all need Vitamin D, but we don’t need to change the color of our skin to get it.

So now in the age of increased awareness of the dangers of sun exposure, how do we get that “healthy glow?” The answer is self-tanner and bronzers. I’m not talking about the orange-y look of the 80s. Self-tanners have come a long way. The color is much more natural and the methods of application are numerous. With towelettes, sprays, mousses, and lotions, there is something for everyone.

I haven’t been much of a self-tanner in recent years; I’ve been embracing my alabaster-toned skin. But this summer, I think I’m going to try my hand at achieving that “healthy glow.”

Not one to dive in with the instant gratification, I’m going to use the gradual lotion from St. Tropez to start building a light tan now. This will allow me to ease into it and it will look a bit more natural — as if I were getting a bit of sun each day. Once I’ve achieved a good color I will try one of the darker mousses or express tans.

One of the reasons I haven’t been a self-tanner is my age spots. I don’t have a ton, but those that I do have get much darker with the self-tanner. Self-tanner activates your natural pigmentation and darkens it for a time.  As a result, the age spots darken as well. To beat this, I will take to rubbing some Rosebud Salve into those spots before applying the self-tanner, which should prevent the absorption of the tanner into those spots. I’ll have to be careful to keep the tanner just on the spot or risk spots of white. Not a good look.

I also purchased the St. Tropez self-tanning machine last summer and used it a couple times. Once I figured it out, it was easy to use. The color was too dark for me right off the bat because I hadn’t created a base earlier. As a result, the color wasn’t as even as I would have liked. I think using the gradual lotion for a month will give me a good base this spring to build upon later.

Anyway, those of you coming into the store can watch the process unfold. Eventually, I’ll add bronzer into the mix so I don’t have to tan my face as much as my body. Kevyn Aucoin and Smashbox both have great options. Smashbox has a matte bronzer for lighter tanning, and Kevyn Aucoin has one with a hint of shimmer for a little glow on a darker tan. I’ve never really been able to use either so I look forward to playing with those.

Those of you who’d like to take the journey with me are welcome. I have stocked up on gradual tanning lotions. There is even an in shower version. This one really will be a “healthy glow.”


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.


1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!