Tempt: Rock a Healthy Glow 365 Days a Year

South Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town, South Africa. Photographed by Stacey Mulka Fall is here and gone are the days of laying out all day in the summer sun.

Is it time to give up that gorgeous, healthy glow that a little color can give you?

Not if I can help it.

I’m all about bottle bronze. The real sun is damaging to your skin and tanning beds are like putting cancer on layaway.

For those of you who have heard about or seen bottle bronzing go horribly awry, I'll let you in on a little secret: it's about finding the right product. Luckily, I’ve done the legwork for you. As far as affordable at-home tanners go, Sun Labs Ultra Dark Instant Tint will change your life.

Unlike many at home tanners, the Ultra Dark Instant Tint does not turn your skin orange. It comes out of the bottle as a dark brown lotion and goes on brown. The tan it creates lasts four or five days depending on how often you shower. The only downside to this product is that it has an artificial cherry smell that I'm not a fan of. Luckily, after a really good shower, the smell dissipates almost completely.

Original content photographed by Leah Marie Walkiewicz

How to Sun Labs Ultra Dark Instant Tint in 7 Simple Steps:

Step 1:

Start by showering and exfoliate your entire body using an exfoliating scrub. I like Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub because it’s abrasive enough to get the job done quickly but it does not irritate my skin and it comes in a variety of appealing scents. When exfoliating, make sure to focus on your knees, ankles, elbows and knuckles. For whatever reason, those areas seem collect the most dead skin and the Ultra Dark Instant Tint will cling to un-exfoliated skin in uneven patches that are too dark in color.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub in Tropical Mango, Original content photographed by Leah Marie Walkiewicz

Step 2:

After you get out of the shower, wait an hour for your skin to dry completely (this is perhaps the most important step.) When showering, you absorb a lot of water that is retained in the surface of your skin. Applying the self-tanner too early will give you a streaky and unattractive tan.

Step 3:

After your skin has dried completely, undress and put a pump or two of the Ultra Dark Instant Tint on a reusable Sunless Mitt. I do not recommend using rubber gloves as a replacement, I find that the product dries on the gloves during application and goes on less evenly than a sunless mitt or bare hands. The Sunless Mitt is necessary because it ensures that your hands do not get stained in the application process. Sun Labs claims that their self-tanner will come off after washing your hands… it doesn’t, so wear the mitt.

Step 4:

Start at the base of your body and work your way up to your face. If you start at the top and bend down, you will  get lines on your stomach and will smear your new tan. Apply the Ultra Dark Instant Tint everywhere you want your tan to be. Lightly sweep over areas like the top of your feet, ears and the back of your hands, these areas should never be as dark as the rest of you so be careful to not to gob it on.

Step 5:

If you make a mistake or see a streak, take a baby wipe and correct it by lightly wiping away the imperfection. Let yourself dry for an hour. If you need to be somewhere, wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty because the tan will rub off a little until you shower. Lucky for you, if the self-tanner rubs off on clothing it will come out in one wash. If you put on clothes immediately after application, it may wipe the tan from your body before it sets. Do not shower for about six hours.

Step 6:

The tan will get darker after application. It takes three hours for the Ultra Dark Instant Tint to set fully. You should wait until it’s fully set before assessing how dark you want your tan to be. It is better to apply too little than to apply to much because after the tan sets, you’ll be stuck with it for 3 or 4 days.

Step 7:

To maintain your tan, apply twice weekly. To darken your tan, apply three or four times a week. Make sure you moisturize daily to prolong your tan.

Just a heads up:

If you have healing cuts or blemishes on your face or body, do not panic if the self tanner stains them a funny color. When you wash your face the next morning or take a shower, the discoloration will vanish. Do not apply to open cuts or blemishes.

Where to get the products mentioned in this article:

Bottle of Ultra Dark Instant Tint, Original content photographed by Leah Marie Walkiewicz



*I would not recommend getting the starter kit that includes the Ultra Dark Instant Tint, an exfoliating scrub, and a moisturizing lotion that is supposed to preserve your tan. The exfoliator is weak and hardly gets the job done and as far as I can tell there is nothing special about the moisturizing lotion. I would also not recommend purchasing directly from the www.sunlabsonline.com. I waited over six weeks after ordering and ended up canceling the order through my credit card company because Sun Labs did not respond to any of my emails. It's a great product, just order it from Amazon.com.