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Bryan Barron, beauty expert and co-author of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, spends his days penning thousands of research-based cosmetics reviews as the head of the Beautypedia.com research team. And, lucky for us, he's letting R29 pick his brain about all things pretty. For more expert skin advice, follow Paula's Choice on Twitter.
It’s so frustrating: You apply a self-tanner for a gorgeous, faux glow only to find that your exfoliant — the one you rely on to keep your skin smooth, even, and bump-free — is waging war against your sunless tan. Can these two products coexist in one beauty routine? Yep!
It’s all about timing and frequency of application. Whether you exfoliate with a scrub, AHA, or BHA product, the trick is to do so right before you apply the self-tanner. That also helps ensure an even application. And, if you’re worried this will interfere with the action of the self-tanner, don't: If anything, the exfoliant will pave the way for the self-tanner’s active ingredient to work even better.
Apply self-tanner at night (allowing enough time to dry before getting into bed), and for the next two days avoid using any exfoliant. If you must, apply the exfoliant where needed, and once it sets, apply a thin touchup layer of self-tanner. Allow that to dry before applying any other skin-care products. By day three, your sunless tan will likely show signs of fading, so that’s the time to reapply your exfoliant, followed by another application of self-tanner. Sensing a pattern here?
Click through for my favorite exfoliants and self-tanners for a natural glow sans irritation.