Dustin Hoffman sporting the keys to a good summer: A cold beer, a pair of dark shades and (we hope) some sunscreen in The Graduate.
It's a double-edged sword: you want a tan, but you don't want to actually spend your summer tanning. And while we all know that there's no such thing as a "safe tan," the sun—in all its skin-charring UV radioactivity—feels pretty damn good on otherwise office-shaded skin. So the challenge lies in learning how to tan sensibly. Herewith, a few easy-to-follow guidelines, along with a some quick cheats to obtain some color this summer.
A good scrub down is essential to achieving and maintaining an even tan. Whether you're going for a traditional or sunless tan, exfoliating the dead skin cells leaves healthy skin that will keep its color longer.
Sisal cloth, $5 at Soap.com
Don't try to reach an epic bronze in the next two weekends. You want to be tan, not toasted. Protect yourself with an SPF around 30, and know that you'll steadily and naturally develop color. This will also keep you from peeling and losing the color you just achieved. And try not to be out in peak periods (11 am to 2 pm) for any longer than two hours.
Active SPF 34, $6 by Beyond Coastal
You don't need to lay out, arms strategically stiffened at your sides with your phone's alarm timing your turns. Just make some time to go outside. Get on your bike, meet some friends for a backyard BBQ or jump in the pool.
Preserve your color (and skin) with a soothing aftersun lotion that reduces the damaging impact of free radicals and helps hydrate sun parched skin. For added color, opt for one of the better self-tanners that offer a natural bronze color that won't rub off on your towel.
Cool moisture body lotion, $26 by Jack Black;
Gradual self-tanning sunscreen, $21 by Supergoop