As we are now unofficially at the unofficial start of summer (particularly in the seemingly more dreary northeast), we here at Ami’s wanted to provide you with a short and definitive guide to tanning properly and avoid the “beached crab” look we all know and desperately wish to avoid! Surely there’s enough of you out there that have mastered this literal dark art but aren’t sharing any of your secrets. There’s still so many clients we wind up treating every year with burned skin that could have easily been avoided with the use of just a little suntan lotion. Not properly treating your skin in the sun may lead to scheduled appointments being that much more expensive since they now require additional time and care…and seriously, who wants that?

For this article we’re going to focus lighter skin tones since these skin types are often the ones most afflicted with perpetual redness, however this method is applicable towards skin types and complexions of any kind…it works great on everyone!

You will need SIX products in total for this process, as well as some aloe:

1.) SPF 60 Sunscreen

2.) SPF 30 Sunscreen

3.) SPF 15 sunscreen

4.) OIL FREE SPF 5 sunscreen (sunscreen + bronzer combo works best…drug store brands will do, Hawaiian Tropics, or something higher-brau like Clarins are some of our favorites). MAKE SURE this bottle and all of the others say “oil free” since we want to use this on the face as well, and we don’t want to clog pores and cause breakouts!)

5.) Aloe (any squeezable, pharmacy-store brand gel form will do)

6.) SPF 45+ Lip Balm

Some info and tips before we delve into the multi-step process on achieving the elusive “base tan”…below we’ll debunk some myths first.

1.) A base tan can be achieved without sunscreen


We’re going to label this a big fat “nope”. We all have that one friend (which being honest, was me at one point) that thought they didn’t need sunscreen to achieve a base tan after a solid 8 or 9 hours in the sun, and spent the ensuing days at home after enjoying some of the finer NJ beaches such as LBI, Avon, and Point Pleasant to name a few, laying around in bed at home next to the AC unit writhing in pain applying aloe all over their body…as their skins response to singing off the top most layer, the epidermis, in the form of increased redness played its own form of damage control. This redness can (often) turn darker as your body naturally repairs itself, however at the expense of major peeling and sometimes more pain, leaving your body only looking burned and uneven in color.

2.) Aloe helps heal and hydrate the skin


At the end of a long day out, if you have only ONE product in your arsenal, let it be aloe…almost any kind will do. We at the shop prefer leaving a bottle in our refrigerators at home so it glides on extra cool after a long day of baking. Applying some the day before going out in the sun for a bit of a skin “pre-soak” does wonders for your tan as well!

3.) High SPF sunscreens don’t allow you to tan at all


As we will explain below, this is the “secret sauce” to our perfect tan! High SPF sunscreens actually allow sun to penetrate your skin contrary to popular belief quite well, but also protect it in the process. If you ever cooked something in the oven “the low and slow” method is usually the way to go – and your skin is no different, which we will talk about below. This allows for that process to happen as it should if you plan on being in direct sunlight for 20 minutes or more. For lighter and more fair skin types, an SPF of 50 is usually good to begin with. The SPF factor is directly related to the percentage of UV rays your skin will be exposed to, which for our example is 50 percent, using a lotion with an SPF factor of 50.

If you are unsure of what kind of SPF to start with, it is always best to consult your physician first.

And now what you’ve been waiting for – the Ami’s Salon & Spa “Perfect Tan” Process. Now imagine you’ve just arrived in on your getaway to an island or someone else sunny and tropical and you’re finally ready to get your glow up.

We’re assuming you have a whole lot of nothing planned for this trip…this “recipe” is based on spending almost a full week out in the sun, increase each day’s activity by another day if you are planning for two weeks of fun in the sun.

For all tanning lotion applications, make sure you focus on full coverage, applying healthy amounts everywhere on the body. For your face, make sure the version you are using is oil-free and that it specifically says this on the bottle/canister somewhere…and as a reminder make sure you are taking notice of times you need to reapply, which can be usually after going in the water, or every 1-2 hours as a guide. When in doubt, reapply!

Day 1: (7:30am – 4-5 hours outside), SPF 60 Sunscreen + SPF 45 Lip Balm + Post care with aloe, before you apply your first layer of sunscreen and after your shower in the evening after laying out in the sun all day…a thin layer of aloe should really go everywhere you either plan to tan, or have recently applied sunscreen.

Day 2: (7:30am –  5-8 hours outside), SPF 60 Sunscreen + SPF 45 Lip Balm + Post care with aloe (see Day 1 for aloe instructions).

Day 3: (7:30am –  5-8 hours outside), SPF 60 Sunscreen + SPF 45 Lip Balm + Post care with aloe (see Day 1 for aloe instructions).

Day 4: Take it easy in the sun and let the previous days do their magic on your body. If you’re going to be outside you can begin to dial down the SPF here and drop it to a 30 or 40. Apply aloe thoroughly after your day is complete, referring to Day 1 for  instructions.

Day 5: You can start a bit later on day 5 but bear in mind 7:30am is always the most ideal time to start, as your body is able to kickstart the “low and slow” baking process as the sun is still rising. But if too many mixed coconut-flavored drinks did you in the night before, starting at 10am is probably your second best option for the ensuing days. On days 5 through 7, right at about the the 2 hour mark and every 30-45 mins through the end of your day outside, graciously apply your SPF 5 with bronzer among coverings using the SPF 15 lotion in tandem, applying the SPF 15 first.

Day 6: (7:30a-10:00am start, 5-8 hours outside), SPF 30 Sunscreen + SPF 45 Lip Balm + SPF 5 bronzer + Post care with aloe (see Day 1 for aloe instructions).

Day 7: (7:30a-10:00am start, 4-5 hours outside), SPF 15 Sunscreen + SPF 45 Lip Balm + SPF 5 bronzer + Post care with aloe (see Day 1 for aloe instructions).

Please note that prolonged exposure to sun can increase your risk for certain types of cancers. None of the information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns involving changes in the look or texture of your skin, it is always best to consult your doctor or physician first!

Stay beautiful!

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