The Modern Girl’s Guide To Self Tanning

self tanners

image by Brad Olson for Luca Magazine

You and I both know that tanning beds and lying out in the sun working on a tan are dangerous. Not only are they are the high speed way to fast track the aging process, they also boost your chances of getting skin cancer.

We want to avoid sun damage, especially the terminal kind, but nothing looks more gorgeous during summer than a golden glowing tan

So what’s a girl to do? The obvious answer is to do a fake-bake, but that can be fraught with its own set of perils. Patchy cover, color that’s too orange, that awful smell!

One of my besties, Sarah san Marco, is a professional airbrush tanner, so in the interest of perfecting the ultimate fake-bake I asked her to give me the low down. This post contains affiliate links

How do you prevent getting orange instead of tan?

The most common mistakes are using too much product or trying to achieve a level of tan that is too dark for your skin tone. Another reason is using a product with the wrong undertone for your skin


self tanners

image by Brad Olson for Luca Magazine

What about the smell? Self tanners are notorious for being stinky – can you get rid of the smell?

DHA, a main ingredient in many sunless tanning products, needed to create the bronze hue, combined with the sugars in your skin are responsible for that icky smell. Solutions containing a higher content of chemicals, or non-organic materials tend to have a longer and more potent odor. You can minimize the odor by using organic-based products that are naturally scented with essential oils (instead of artificial fragrances).

It may still be a little smelly when it’s applied, but it rinses off when the developing phase is over., Inc.

 What do you do if your self tan is streaky/patchy/blotchy?

The only way to ensure your tan will develop properly and evenly is to make sure your skin is in optimal condition prior to tanning. Keep your skin extra hydrated in the days leading up to your tan. The day of your tan exfoliate your skin, paying extra attention to elbows and knees, heels and ankles, and do not wear any lotions/creams, makeup, deodorant or any other product that can prevent the solution from properly penetrating through the skin. Use a barrier cream on knees, elbows, ankles and heels to stop too much product from grabbing there.

Receive a FREE Shiseido YESSPF deluxe sample with any $25 purchase. Use code: YESSPF

What is the difference between a spray tanning booth and an airbrush tan?

A professional tanning artist will ensure the products being used are designed specifically for your unique skin tone, and will control how much product is being applied and where. They also know how to camouflage and accentuate certain areas by using custom contouring techniques that cannot be accomplished in a spray tanning booth. A good artist can camouflage tan lines, scars and even cellulite!

Read about facial self tanners here

How long should a self tan/airbrush tan last? How can we prolong it?

As long as you have followed your pre and post tanning instructions properly, an airbrush tan should last 5-10 days. Taking long, hot showers and baths, and swimming and certain body products can cause a tan to fade more quickly. Pat dry after showers rather than rubbing with a towel, and always apply a body lotion after bathing.


Sarah San Marco has a mobile airbrush tanning business, keeping models, celebrities, brides and regular gals golden, in the privacy of their own home.

The images in this post feature airbrush tanning by Sarah San Marco

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Limited US


Summer Beach Beauty 101

curly hair and beach hat

image by Brad Olson for Luca Magazine.
Makeup by Corinna Cooke, hair by Andy Biggs, styled by Risa Kostis

This post contains affiliate links

Summer beach beauty is all about skin and simplicity. The complexion needs to glow and not be weighed down with heavy makeup.

If bare skin feels a little too naked try using  BB Cream or a water gel foundation such as Makeup Forever Water Blend Face and Body, which is designed to look like natural skin. (Available at

Brows should be soft and not over-sculpted, eyes understated with just a little smudgy liner and a really good waterproof mascara. Try Diorshow Blackout Waterproof if you want some big, fabulous lashes!

Add a pop of color with a bright lip. If you are going for a red lip this summer choose and orange based red if you are a warm toned girl or a pinky red if you have a cool skin tone. Deep blue reds and warm brown reds are too heavy for summer.

Embrace your curls with products from Ouidad. Moisture Lock leave in conditioner helps keep your curls hydrated and Botanical Boost spray breathes new life back into yesterday’s curl. Choose a chic hat with a big brim to protect your face from the sun, like this Brixton hat from

10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer

Are you heading over to Italy this summer? I will be there with my 2017 Glam Italia Tours, and am already thinking about what I’m going to wear, what to pack and what to leave behind.

Figuring out what to pack is the key to a fantastic vacation. You want to look chic yet be comfortable, have clothes for very occasion you’re going to need, and not pack too much.

Some of the things you need to have for any trip to Italy include good walking shoes, a scarf to throw over your shoulders when going into churches, and some hem lengths that at least hit mid-thigh to knee area. Every year I take travelers to the Duomo in Siena, and every time we see tourists in short shorts or short skirts who have to put on paper skirts if they want to go inside! The sun gets fierce over there so you should pack a good hat too. I found a killer hat on but I didn’t buy it on time and now I can’t find it anywhere.

too much luggage in florence

One of my friends with too much luggage in Florence!

Here are 10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer (plus a bonus tip!)

10 Packing Tips For Travel To Italy This Summer

Don’t Overpack

I learned this the hard way, but when you are traveling in Italy do not overpack! Unless you have a porter trotting around with you everywhere you go, carrying your bags, getting them on and off the trains for you, driving you and your bags around in your own assigned vehicle, you will be miserable if you have overpacked! Cars in Italy are small and you will not have room for multiple bags unless you have a car to yourself. Even then you won’t be able to leave your car anywhere with all your bags visible because they won’t be there when you get back!

If you are staying in vacation rental apartments, and my trips always do, you will probably find yourself having to carry your heavy suitcase up multiple flights of stairs to get to your apartment. These buildings are centuries old, and many do not have elevators. Trying to maneuver heavy suitcases, or too many bags through the train stations and on and off trains is a nightmare, especially when you are getting on and off full trains and having to quickly get yourself up or down a staircase to your next platform! Been there, done that, never again!

Only Pack things That Can Be Worn Multiple Times.

I used to be the queen of wearing every single thing I brought with me,  but only wearing each thing once. It was incredibly stupid! Pack items that you can wear multiple times (or at least more than once), and that are interchangeable with other items in your suitcase.

Pack more Tops Than Bottoms.

It’s super easy to change things up and look like you have many outfits if you have more tops than bottoms. I’m always re-pinning other people’s travel packing stories on Pinterest, where they have 3 pairs of pants/skirts and 6 tops and make it look like 20 fresh outfits. I haven’t quite mastered it myself yet, but I’m working on it! Check out my Pinterest Travel Packing Board Here

Don’t Pack More Than 3 Pairs Of Shoes.

Seriously. Shoes take up so much space in your suitcase, and you really don’t need too many pairs with you.

I once had a traveler who brought 14 pairs of shoes with her. She ended up boxing most of them up and sending them home at huge expense.

Related Post: How To Use Trains In Italy

Bring good, comfortable walking shoes. I wear fun colored Supergas that look chic, but that I can walk in all day long. Pack sandals that you can walk in forever, and that won’t give you blisters or aching feet, and maybe one other pair for going out at night. Everywhere you go you will see super chic travelers wearing Birkenstock Gizehs. Technically they don’t look bad and you can literally walk in them all day and night. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would even own a pair of Birkenstocks I would have died laughing  and told you you were mad. However, one of my travelers back then pointed out to me that everyone was wearing them and that they are beyond comfortable, and I’m not quite sure how she did it but she talked me into getting a pair. I have never looked back! I have a black pair and a white pair, and this year I may buy some other color too. I order them on (A sude note about Birkenstocks: you need to wear them around to break them in before you travel)

Allianz Travel Insurance


Don’t Pack Heels

Italy is all hills and cobblestones, and high heels just aren’t practical while you are there. In fact they become a liability. Not only are you likely to twist, sprain or break your ankle, but you are unlikely to be able to keep up with the rest of the group as they are heading out and about.

Related Post: 10 Things You Absolutely MUST Do In Rome

Don’t Pack Multiple Electronics

You don’t need a laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, and a smartphone. They take up valuable space and can get quite heavy. These days electronics can multi-function, so only bring what you need, and items that do more than one thing.

Don’t Pack “Just In Case” Items

Basically you won’t need them. If by chance you get invited to a ball while you are there, go buy a ball gown in Italy – it will be more chic and fashionable anyway! Anything that you may suddenly need you can always buy there.

Don’t Pack Extra Pairs Of Jeans

Jeans are amazingly heavy (I found that out the hard way) and you really don’t need multiple pairs with you. (also found out the hard way)

Pack one pair if you think you will need them, and leave the rest behind.

Don’t Pack At The Last Minute

This is where the mistakes happen. Plan out your outfit for each day, well ahead of time. I start with a rolling rack and put on it everything I think I might like to wear, and over the days or weeks prior to my trip I start pulling out the things that maybe won’t work, that I can get by without. Think about the climate you are traveling to and what you will be doing while you are there. Italy is all about walking and is full of hills, so make sure you are packing comfortable clothes and shoes to walk in.

Related Post: How To Order Coffee In Italy

Only Pack Things You Love

There is no point in packing clothes that you feel iffy about. Only bring things that you love, that look great on you, and that you will adore walking around in.

Leave Room In Your Suitcase For Shopping!

There is SO MUCH amazing stuff to buy in Italy, and you are going to want to bring some of it back home with you. From Italian leather handbags and jackets, to ceramics, to food, to wine, to clothes and shoes (this is afterall the world capital of fashion!), no matter who you are you are going to find all manner of amazing things that you want to bring home with you, so leave yourself plenty of space in your suitcase.

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Packing Tips For Summer In Italy